THE INSIDER: Memorabilia Is A Rookie’s Game

Here at Icons.com, we make a point to not only sign with the biggest superstars on the planet but to select the cream of the crop from the next generation as well, writes Sales Manager, Ben Soley.

After all, a lot can change in a year. Over the last 12 months, France displaced Germany as world champions, Luka Modric became the first man in 11 years to dethrone Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the World Player of the Year, and Liverpool qualified for a UEFA Champions League final… okay, so maybe not everything changes.

If you’re Callum Hudson-Odoi, the last year has seen you promoted to Chelsea’s first team; make your debut; start matches in the UEFA Europa League, FA Cup and Premier League, getting an assist on each debut; be constantly linked with a move to European behemoth Bayern Munich; and get your first senior England cap. Not forgetting, of-course, becoming an Icon.

It’s almost a year to the day that Callum became an Icon, conducting his first signing with us in London on May 14th, 2018. Since then his rise has been as rapid as he is. Indeed, his four goals in nine UEFA Europa League appearances puts him among the top scorers for the competition and is a clear indication of his undoubted quality. Over the same period, Hudson-Odoi has outsold traditional bestsellers on our website. Items signed by the Chelsea and England starlet have sold quicker and in more quantities than memorabilia signed by Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and many more established stars.

We’re regularly asked how we pick and choose who we sign for Icons.com. Hudson-Odoi’s talent is not questioned but of all the talented youngsters out there, we opted for Callum because he hit a sweet spot for us.

Firstly, he plays for a top-six team with a solid international fan base. Chelsea fans have been crying out for young talent to break through at their club so Callum‘s rise presented us with the chance to provide that considerable supporter base with a name they are interested in. Our exclusive contract with Eden Hazard also means we have a strong database of Chelsea fans to target. He also fits in well with our licenses – as an Adidas player we can include Callum‘s signed boots in our Official UEFA Europa League (an Adidas-sponsored tournament) range. As a member of the England setup, we can add his products to our Official England Licensed Memorabilia range. Finally, Callum has a social media presence and can promote his signing with Icons to help us sell his products.

In baseball, rookie trading cards are often valued higher based on the limit to supply – the player’s first year being the only year for which the athlete is considered a rookie. Babe Ruth’s 1916 rookie card sold for $717,000 at auction in 2016, in the same year ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson’s rookie card sold for $667,149. Mickey Mantle, another great of the game, has a rookie card from 1951 which is now worth a staggering $750,000.

But why? Many athletes’ rookie year isn’t spectacularly successful. An athlete’s appearance may also radically change and their rookie year look is rarely how they are best remembered. Perhaps this the point. For many collectors it boils down to the bragging rights, the idea that you can claim that you were there first, you saw that athlete’s potential earlier than anyone else and you saw something special in them from the off.

Then, of course, there is the financial benefit. It’s a textbook example of buying low and selling high. Last month, I wrote about women’s football and the importance of getting on board early as it explodes in popularity. This is much the same. In order to yield the biggest returns, you must get the item at its lowest cost value, and that is best done at the start before an athlete has achieved greatness in the eyes of everyone else.

Which brings us back to Icons and Callum Hudson-Odoi. To the untrained eye, it may look like we got lucky with Hudson-Odoi. But Icons have a proven track-record of finding stars among the youth. Sergio Aguero first signed for us while he was plying his trade at Atletico Madrid; Gareth Bale was still at Spurs when he signed for us first; Neymar Jr was at Santos. And then there’s the small matter of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, signed by Icons at 18 and 19-years-old respectively. Icons are in fact Messi’s longest serving commercial partner – longer even than Adidas.

You see, it’s one thing to get ahead in business, but to stay ahead you must look to the future. Admittedly, it’s not without its risks. But those risks are minimised by our staff’s extensive knowledge of sport and our acute sense of what will sell and what won’t.

I’ll leave you with this. Ajax‘s former head of talent development Ruben Jongkind recently told the following story: “When FC Barcelona were so good and so dominant seven or eight years ago, I was walking with [Johan] Cruyff on the training ground at La Masia. He told me: ‘Everybody is looking at the first team and I am looking at the academy. Things are not right and they have to change.'”

We have the same mentality here at Icons.com. We never rest on our laurels and we are always looking to the future for the next set of superstars and Ballon d’Or winners.

We don’t just sign the Icons, we scout them too.



From Our CEO: All Of Us Are Fans At Heart

I was born and raised in Liverpool and have been a massive fan of Liverpool FC since before I can remember. I grew up in the city when Liverpool and Everton were the two best teams in the country – if not Europe – and I remember not bothering to go to the open-top bus parades if we had ‘only’ won the league. Things aren’t quite the same nowadays.

Last Tuesday I was back in the city for the first leg of our UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie against FC Porto. Quite unlike my unfortunately rare childhood visits to the ground, I was there last week as a guest of UEFA.

Icons have been an official UEFA’s licensed partner for memorabilia for seven years now and it’s the most successful licence we have. With our unrivalled roster of European superstars, we created an official UEFA Champions League range which is sold all around the world. Most recently we had a large order from MasterCard, who are using our signed memorabilia to promote their sponsorship of the tournament in Singapore and Thailand.

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Our licensing manager, Ben, is also a big Liverpool fan. So, he and I take full advantage whenever we are invited to watch the Reds by our friends at UEFA. I was at last season’s quarter-final as Liverpool beat Manchester City and I was there for our epic UEFA Europa League semi-final triumph over Villarreal in 2016. I’ve seen some pretty huge Jurgen Klopp-inspired victories over these past few years!

Point is, here at Icons we are all huge football fans at heart. I grew up very rarely being able to get into Anfield and now I have been lucky enough to go three years in a row. We wanted the UEFA Champions League licence because we love the competition and we thought we could bring something unique to the party. The same goes with our official FIFA licence, which we’ve had for nine years now.

We love our teams, our stars and the iconic nights under the lights. It’s what football is all about and it’s exactly why we do what we do: always aiming to bring other fans closer to their heroes.


See the full range of Official UEFA Champions League signed memorabilia by clicking here.

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THE INSIDER: The Rise and Rise of Women’s Football

What a fortnight it has been for women’s football, writes Icons.com Sales Manager, Ben Soley. Amid the feverish anticipation for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, club-level attendance records were broken and investment in the sport continued to reach new heights both on and off the pitch.

It is becoming increasingly evident that women’s football has a huge potential for rapid and wide-ranging growth, as well as the ability to become a very lucrative industry in its own right. And, as with any industry exhibiting these trends, now appears to be as good a time as any to climb aboard the bandwagon and invest in an area of sport experiencing an explosion in popularity.

Two Sundays ago saw perhaps the most prominent and staggering example of how far the women’s game has progressed. At Atletico Madrid’s new home – the setting of this year’s men’s UEFA Champions League final – a world record was set for the highest attendance (60,739) at a women’s club game.

To put that into context, there were over 7,000 more fans were in attendance for the women’s game in Madrid than were at the home of Real Betis, as Lionel Messi stunned the world with a magical hat-trick.

FC Barcelona Femení’s victory means Atletico’s lead at the top of the table is cut to three points with just six games to go. The evident enthusiasm for these fixtures only enhances the reputations of its stars, like Lieke Martens, a recent Icons signee.

While it might go without saying that more television viewers will have tuned in to watch Messi and company than Martens and her team, the numbers at the Wanda Metropolitano paint a very real picture of women’s football as it begins to benefit from larger platforms and more stable and respectable infrastructure.

On top of this, coverage of women’s football is vastly improving. The Telegraph this week launched a dedicated Women’s Sport supplement and a daily section in its printed publication. The initiative has been widely celebrated and has led to comments that echo Clare Balding’s affirmation that “the tide is turning”.

This all comes on the back of a commercially successful European Championship in 2017, which was watched by a record-setting cumulative TV audience of 178 million. Now it’s reported that another record has been broken as nine countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Japan and South Africa, have submitted formal bids to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The next step forward is clear. In order for these enterprises to become sustainable the women’s game still needs yet more funding from large corporations, the types behind the big-name brand sponsorships that power men’s sports.

Enter Barclays. A long-serving partner to the Premier League, Barclays last week penned a £10m sponsorship deal with the Women’s Super League (WSL), the top tier of women’s club football in England. The groundbreaking deal sets a precedent for other big-money deals in this country and around Europe. Beverage industry giants are also leading the way with prominent partnerships between Budweiser and the England Lionesses and Gatorade and Manchester City.

Here at Icons, we work closely with such blue chip partners, such as Mastercard, Pepsi and Heineken, helping them promote their sponsorships of tournaments such as the UEFA Champions League. Big name brands have the spending power to help support women’s football, to help it grow, but they are also understandably interested in a return on their investment.

It is clear now that there is rising interest in the women’s game, led by these visible and record-setting increases in gate numbers and TV viewing figures. What should follow, naturally, is increased investment from sponsors wanting to get in early and capitalise on the sport’s growth.

Earlier this year, we met with The Football Association to discuss the Official England Licensed Memorabilia range and licence. We agreed there were huge positives to take away from the Lionesses’ success at the recent European Championships and that the team has great potential. It’s a young, hungry and undeniably exciting team. Potential like this always has the ability to excite potential partners and sponsors on the lookout for areas of rapid growth where they can find a speedy return on investment.  

A World Cup year is a crucial time for any sport, but especially affects one that so often experiences scepticism from outsiders. With women’s football on a remarkable and culturally-important rise in the build-up to this summer’s tournament in France, clubs, brands and media outlets are actively increasing their involvement in various ways.

We can see the potential the sport has – that’s why we signed with one of its brightest stars earlier this year. Perhaps now it is time for more brands and corporations to sit up and pay attention.


See the full range of Lieke Martens signed memorabilia by clicking here.

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From Our CEO: Adding To An Iconic List of Ballon d’Or Winners

What do George Weah, Jean-Pierre Papin, Andriy Shevchenko, Matthias Sammer and Hristo Stoichkov have in common? Of course, it’s pretty well-known that they are all past Ballon d’Or winners. But the few names on this short list share something else, too. These are the only five names from the past three decades who’ve won the Ballon d’Or but aren’t Icons… yet.

Every other former winner of football’s most coveted individual prize has undertaken a signing session for Icons, from Marco Van Basten to Ronaldo Nazario, Zinedine Zidane to Lionel Messi. And so, when mercurial midfielder Luka Modric won this year’s accolade, it was only a matter of time before he joined our roster. Well, it was 58 days, to be exact.

In fact, our recent signing with Luka also kept alive another impressive streak of ours: we can now say that we have worked with the winners of the award from each of the past fourteen seasons.

Luka was delighted to join the list and even allowed our signing team to hold the actual Ballon d’Or award that he has at home on his mantelpiece in Madrid. ‘Signed By The World’s Best’ indeed!

So, how do we get to these players? Well, to be frank, it’s a combination of judgement and luck. We first worked with Messi, for example, when he was just 17-years-old. The year was 2006 and we had been tipped off about this new sensation in Barcelona by our man on the ground in Spain. I could write for days with similar stories. We met Cristiano Ronaldo as he arrived in Manchester. Kaka had been an Icon for a number of years before he won a Ballon d’Or. We even saw a 19-year-old Neymar Jr playing in Sao Paolo – that was 2013 and we were sat next to Kaka’s father. It was Ronaldo Nazario who had let us know that this guy might be a future Ballon d’Or winner. Neymar Jr hasn’t won it yet, of course, but we’re playing the long-game.

We like to think we can spot talent and it was great to see our first Icon of the Future, Callum Hudson-Odoi, who signed for Icons back in May 2018, selling more items during our January Sale than many of the biggest names in the sport. It shows we might be on to something with the Chelsea starlet. Maybe he too will have something shiny on his mantelpiece in a decade’s time…

I always say that as a kid I collected football stickers but nowadays I collect footballers. So come on, George, Jean-Pierre, Andriy, Matthias and Hristo – it’s time to get in touch and join the world’s most truly iconic club.


See the full range of all-new Luka Modric signed memorabilia by clicking here.

See our unrivalled collection of memorabilia signed by nominees and winners of the Ballon d’Or by clicking here.

Follow Icons on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for all our latest blog posts, special offers and competitions.



CLOSED | WIN a Cristiano Ronaldo or Neymar Jr signed plaque and photo frame!


It’s giveaway time! To celebrate the joint birthday of two of our favourite Icons, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar Jr, we’re offering you the chance to win a signed plaque and photo frame from one of these two legends of the modern game. ‘Sounds good but how do I enter?’ I hear you ask?

Well, as ever, it could not be simpler. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is:

  1. Subscribe to the Icons.com email newsletter via this handy little link
  2. Update your preferences and tell us who your favourite player or players are

When the competition closes on Friday February 8th at 12pm GMT we’ll be taking every name on our subscriber list, grabbing all the good folk who’ve updated their preferences, and drawing two lucky winners from the whole lot. So, make sure you’re in before midday Friday!

Good luck everyone!


(Now, for the boring bit…) TERMS AND CONDITIONS

    1. The Promoter of this prize draw is Icons Shop Limited (registered in England under company number 06791294 and with its registered office at 65 New Cavendish Street, London, W1G 7LS) (the “Promoter”).
    2. The Promoter is offering those who enter this promotion a chance to win either a Cristiano Ronaldo Signed Plaque and Juventus Photo Frame OR a Neymar Jr Signed Plaque and Paris Saint-Germain Photo Frame. Valid entrants will only be eligible to win one of the two prizes on offer.
    3. Entrants must be aged 14 years or over. This promotion is not open to any employees of the Promoter or any of their affiliate companies, their families, agents or anyone else connected with this prize draw.
    4. Multiple entries per person are not permitted. Entries will only be accepted provided they fit the entry criteria outlined in these terms and conditions (paragraph 5). However, entries submitted on behalf of another person will not be accepted and joint submissions are not allowed. Incomplete, illegible, misdirected or late entries will not be accepted.
    5. To enter this prize draw entrants must be subscribed to the official Icons.com Newsletter (icons.com/newsletter) and must have either “Cristiano Ronaldo”, “Cristiano”, “CR7”, “Ronaldo”, “Neymar” or “Neymar Jr” in the Favourite Players field of their subscriber preferences.
    6. No purchase is necessary to enter this promotion, however internet access is required.
    7. The promotion is open to entries until 12pm GMT on 8th February 2019 (the “promotional period”).
    8. Only one winner per prize will be drawn. The prizes are non-refundable, non-transferable and non-exchangeable and there is no cash alternative offered.
    9. The Promoter reserves the right to offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value. In the event of unforeseen circumstances or circumstances outside its reasonable control, the Promoter reserves the right to modify or discontinue this promotion without prior notice, be it temporarily or permanently.
    10. The winner will be selected from all valid entries received during the promotional period. The draw will take place no later than seven days following the end of the promotional period.
    11. The winner will be notified within five days of the draw via the email address with which they entered the competition. They will be asked to provide a postal address to which the prize will be sent. If the winner fails to respond and/or to give a valid address within five days of this notification, or declines their prize, a redraw will take place from the remaining valid entries to select a new winner (however, this five-day period may be extended at the Promoter’s sole discretion). If the winner declines their prize, or fails to respond within the required period, they forfeit any right to the prize.
    12. The prize will be sent via post to the address supplied within two weeks following provision of the winner’s address in accordance with paragraph 13.
    13. The name and county of residence of the winners will be made available on request to anyone sending a stamped self-addressed envelope to the Promoter as the address set out above within 10 weeks of the closing date of the promotion.
    14. The Promoter does not accept responsibility for network, computer or software failures of any kind and has no responsibility for lost, delayed or misdirected entries.
    15. The Promoter reserves the right to exclude any entries the Promoter in its sole discretion considers to be inappropriate, unrelated or offensive and to disqualify any entries if the Promoter, at its sole discretion, believes that there has been an attempt to manipulate or tamper with the operation of the promotion (including, without limitation, by setting up multiple email, Facebook or other social media accounts in order to submit multiple entries).
    16. By entering this competition you agree that the promoter may store and use the data you enter into this competition and contact you. You agree that the promoter may store and use any image and/or comment you post as your entry for this competition, and may use your name and competition entry in its social media channels and website (including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and icons.com), worldwide and without limit of time. You understand that you won’t have any right to preview or pre-approve the content (and, that you won’t be entitled to any kind of payment) in the event that it is used by Icons as noted above.
    17. Except for the purpose of carrying out the promotion, the Promoter will not use entrants’ personal data without the express consent of the entrant. See http://www.icons.com/about/help/privacy-policy.html for our full privacy policy.
    18. You agree to be bound by the decisions of the Promoter, which are final in all matters relating to the promotion. No correspondence will be entered into in respect of the Promoter’s decisions.
    19. These terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed exclusively in accordance with the laws of England and the parties agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of England, including the seeking of all injunctive or ancillary relief actions.

    Shop from our full range of 100% authentic Dele signed items by visiting Icons.com today…

    Follow Icons on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for all our latest blog posts, special offers and competitions.


Memorabilia signed by Neymar



CLOSED | WIN a framed Belgium shirt signed by Eden Hazard!

It’s giveaway time once again! That’s right, we’ve teamed up once again with the one-and-only Eden Hazard for another amazing competition that’s not to be missed! Our last competition with the Chelsea star had tens of thousands of entrants so this time we’re offering you the chance to win an official FIFA World Cup framed Belgium shirt signed by the man himself…

Icons has an exclusive signing contract with the Belgian attacking ace, meaning Icons.com is the only place to get authentic Hazard signed memorabilia. But now we’re giving a shirt away for nothing!

It could not be simpler to enter this great giveaway and you can throw your hat in the ring as many times as you like. Just follow the steps below and you’ll be in with a shout of taking home this stunning prize.

TO ENTER VIA INSTAGRAM:

1) Follow BOTH Eden Hazard’s official account AND Icons’ official account

2) Comment on THIS post from Eden

This competition will close at midnight on Tuesday November 20th 2018 and a winner will be announced in the following days – so make sure to get your entry in before it’s too late!

The framed shirt, measuring 34inches (H) x 30inches (W) x 1.5inches (D), comes complete with an official FIFA World Cup Certificate of Authenticity. The COA shows Eden with the shirt in question as well as providing the date and location at which the shirt was signed – so you can be sure this is the real deal! For more information, check out the shirt on Icons.com.

A fans’ favourite, 27-year-old Chelsea and Belgium star Eden Hazard was a big star at the 2018 FIFA World Cup as his nation finished third and his range of authentic signed items features in Icons’ flagship memorabilia ranges: our official UEFA Champions League range and official FIFA World Cup collection.

For more information on our exclusive deal with Hazard, click here.


Shop from our full range of 100% authentic Eden Hazard signed items by visiting Icons.com today…

Follow Icons on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for all our latest blog posts, special offers and competitions.



CLOSED | WIN two VIP tickets to Eric Cantona live at the Apollo!

Ever wanted to meet Eric Cantona, football’s King of Cool? Silly question, right? Of course you have. Well, now’s your chance to do just that with our amazing new giveaway.

Head over to our official Instagram page, drop our account a follow and tag a friend on our latest post for your chance to win a pair of VIP tickets to the opening night of Eric Cantona’s upcoming A1 Sporting Speakers tour. Meet the man himself before show then sit back and enjoy his unique genius as he opens up about his extraordinary life in football and beyond.

Cantona is known not just for his legendary achievements on the pitch – and adept acting on screen – but also his timely utterances. He always has something to say and, on stage, he rarely disappoints.

At this superb event at the Hammersmith Apollo in London on Wednesday October 24th, Eric will discuss his favourite players, why he retired at the peak of his career, and what it was about Manchester that he loved so much. He’ll also talk about what it was like making the Ken Loach movie Looking For Eric. The show includes a supporting act and charity auction, offering you a chance to buy great signed items in support of Eric’s chosen charity. For more information on the event, click here.

Entrants must be 18 or over. Travel and accommodation for the event will not be provided. For further terms and conditions, please see below.

Can’t make it to London for Wednesday’s show? Not to worry! Eric’s tour is coming to Manchester, Belfast and Dublin. Check out our website for more information on VIP and VVIP ticket packages for each show.


TERMS AND CONDITIONS

  1. The Promoter of this prize draw is Icons Shop Limited (registered in England under company number 06791294 and with its registered office at 65 New Cavendish Street, London, W1G 7LS) (the “Promoter”).
  2. The Promoter is offering those who enter this promotion a chance to win two VIP tickets to Eric Cantona: The Return of the King at the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo in London at 6.30pm on Wednesday October 24th, 2018.
  3. Entrants must be aged 18 years or over. This promotion is not open to any employees of the Promoter or any of their affiliate companies, their families, agents or anyone else connected with this prize draw.
  4. Multiple entries per person are permitted. Entries will be accepted on Instagram only, provided they fit the entry criteria outlined in these terms and conditions (paragraph 5). However, entries submitted on behalf of another person will not be accepted and joint submissions are not allowed. Incomplete, illegible, misdirected or late entries will not be accepted.
  5. To enter this prize draw on Instagram, entrants must “Follow” the official Instagram page Icons Shop Limited (instagram.com/icons_memorabilia) as well as commenting on the competition post, which can be found here.
  6. No purchase is necessary to enter this promotion, however internet access is required.
  7. The promotion is open to entries until 3pm GMT on Tuesday October 23nd, 2018 (the “promotional period”).
  8. Only one winner will be drawn. The prize is non-refundable, non-transferable and non-exchangeable and there is no cash alternative offered.
  9. The Promoter reserves the right to offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value. In the event of unforeseen circumstances or circumstances outside its reasonable control, the Promoter reserves the right to modify or discontinue this promotion without prior notice, be it temporarily or permanently.
  10. The winner will be selected from all valid entries received during the promotional period. The draw will take place no later than 24 hours following the end of the promotional period.
  11. The winner will be notified within 24 hours of the draw via the social network platform on which they entered the competition. They will be asked to provide a contact number with which the Promoter will arrange delivery of the tickets. If the winner fails to respond and/or to give a valid address within six hours of this notification, or declines their prize, a redraw will take place from the remaining valid entries to select a new winner (however, this period may be extended at the Promoter’s sole discretion). If the winner declines their prize, or fails to respond within the required period, they forfeit any right to the prize.
  12. The Promoter does not accept responsibility for network, computer or software failures of any kind and has no responsibility for lost, delayed or misdirected entries.
  13. The Promoter reserves the right to exclude any entries the Promoter in its sole discretion considers to be inappropriate, unrelated or offensive and to disqualify any entries if the Promoter, at its sole discretion, believes that there has been an attempt to manipulate or tamper with the operation of the promotion (including, without limitation, by setting up multiple email, Facebook or other social media accounts in order to submit multiple entries).
  14. By entering this competition you agree that the promoter may store and use the data you enter into this competition and contact you. You agree that the promoter may store and use any image and/or comment you post as your entry for this competition, and may use your name and competition entry in its social media channels and website (including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Icons.com), worldwide and without limit of time. You understand that you won’t have any right to preview or pre-approve the content (and, that you won’t be entitled to any kind of payment) in the event that it is used by Icons as noted above.
  15. Except for the purpose of carrying out the promotion, the Promoter will not use entrants’ personal data without the express consent of the entrant. See icons.com/about/help/privacy-policy.html for our full privacy policy.
  16. You agree to be bound by the decisions of the Promoter, which are final in all matters relating to the promotion. No correspondence will be entered into in respect of the Promoter’s decisions.
  17. These terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed exclusively in accordance with the laws of England and the parties agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Courts of England, including the seeking of all injunctive or ancillary relief actions.

Memorabilia signed by Eric Cantona



From Our CEO: Experience The World’s Best with Icons XP

One of the pivotal moments of my life happened in Barcelona. It was 2001 and I was drinking cheap cava in a hillside terrace bar overlooking the city. Dusk fell and the cityscape turned sparkly. I had a job I hated for a dotcom startup in London and I was on a football tour in the Catalan capital.

“Why don’t I just quit my job and come and live here? It’s got sun, sand and sexy football – what more could you want?” I asked.

Five months later I’d left everything behind to move to Barcelona to play, watch and teach people how to talk about football. Some of my friends were incredulous. They said: “You’re just going out there for the experience. Why would you do that?”

Fast forward to 2018. I’m reading an article written by the founder of Airbnb, Brian Chesky. He’s talks about how his company have been able to create a trust platform, unlocking the spaces left vacant in people’s spare rooms and empty houses. Their next step, he explains is to create 100 million entrepreneurs, unlocking the potential not of spaces but of people. “We’re creating Airbnb experiences where people all over the world offer their talents, skills and knowledge to others to buy as they travel. Hidden city tours, salsa classes, art history lessons, Airbnb can use its trust platform to put consumers together with suppliers,” Chesky says.

Now, what that got to do with memorabilia?

Well, firstly, if we can bring memorabilia together with memories, we are tapping into what Generation XP want more than anything: stories to tell. At Icons, we have access to the world’s biggest superstar footballers and we can get to the world’s greatest sporting events. Hey, it’s why I do what I do.

So, this month we’re launching Icons XP with the tagline ‘Experience The World’s Best’. As with lots of these ideas, we start in Barcelona. Icons now have a private corporate box at Camp Nou. If you love Leo Messi, you can now buy Experience Memorabilia package from Icons.com and be our guests at his next game to see him play in the flesh. We were in the box for the Joan Gamper Trophy earlier in the year and the little magician we love so much scored right in front of us. Imagine watching El Clasico or a UEFA Champions League semi-final and seeing Leo, Luis Suarez or Philippe Coutinho doing something truly iconic? Maybe we can even get them to pop into the box after the match to say hello… we’re working on it.

Now wouldn’t that would be an iconic experience?

While it starts with Barcelona it most certainly does not end there. Icons are co-promoting a speaker tour that brings Manchester United legend Eric Cantona to London, Manchester and Ireland throughout October. Icons founder Edward Freedman worked with Eric at United and, in fact, Cantona was the first player he got to sign shirts, making him the very first on a long and ever expanding list of Icons. For Eric’s tour, Icons XP is offering VIP and VVIP tickets that allows fans to come backstage to meet Eric himself. When we did this two years ago a grown man fainted upon meeting Le God. That’s what it means to our customers.

Memories plus memorabilia. That has a nice ring to it, I think.

If we can bring fans closer to their heroes through events, tickets, boxes or meets and greets, we will. Our roster comprises the biggest names in sport and we have a reputation for running the best competitions and giveaways for money-can’t-buy prizes. If The FC Barcelona Experience and Eric Cantona Live work, we’ll expand, offering more and more experiences to our customers. Maybe we can even put together those experiences in cities around the world with Airbnb’s local experts. A Diego Maradona tour around Boca in Buenos Aires, for example. Maybe a Steven Gerrard framed memento from a trip to Anfield or a native New Yorker talking you through the iconic nights of Madison Square Gardens.

Icons XP is a new way to get closer to your heroes. And we couldn’t be more excited to bring it to you. See you in Barcelona soon.


  • FC Barcelona Experience Memorabilia packages are available for matches throughout FC Barcelona’s 2018/19 campaign, including the world-famous El Clasico derby plus crucial La Liga clashes, thrilling Copa Del Rey ties and, of course, those epic UEFA Champions League nights. Contact [email protected] for prices, match availability and further information.
  • Eric Cantona kicks off his UK speaker tour on October 24th with a show at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. VIP and VVIP tickets are available for all dates. Click here for more information.