Following the overwhelming success of Corinthian’s first retrospective series looking at the season, Stars Of The Season 2002/03, Corinthian chose to release Stars Of The Season 2003/04 as part of the regular Prostars series, making it Prostars series 25.
This series was released at the 2004 Corinthian Convention, held at Villa Park on the 29th & 30th of May. The series was available to members of the Corinthian collectors club at Gold and Platinum level only. Corinthian had a separate area for Gold and Platinum club members where members could purchase this series before it went on general sale.
For the first time ever Corinthian made this series available to buy as a case assortment, inside each case assortment was all 16 blisters and the 2 redemption figures were included free! Corinthian made this series available exclusively on blister format; no sachets were produced (excluding the 2 redemption figures.) I feel making the series available to buy as a complete set which included the redemption figures aided the long term collector, as no longer did you have to open the blisters to obtain the redemption figure tokens.
This series was a collectors dream as it included the first time releases of some World class players, with players from the Premiership, La Liga and Serie A represented. La Liga was represented by Barcelona’s long serving defender, Carles Puyol. The release of Puyol was long overdue and was an instant hit with collectors, no surprise given the quality of the sculpt.
Fans of Italy’s Serie A had a superb quartet of stars to collect. There was a new breed of Brazilian samba stars taking over the San Siro and thrilling fans with the skill and flair. AC Milan’s Kaka was perhaps the most eagerly anticipated figure in the series and Corinthian had been inundated with requests for a Kaka figure. Corinthian produced a stunningly accurate sculpt of the playmaker and anticipated the huge demand by producing him in the highest volume, with over 10,000 blisters produced, he was by far the best seller in this series. Kaka’s AC Milan team mate Andriy Shevchenko was also released with the sculpt being the same as used for Prostars series 18.
Inter Milan fans had a sculpt of Adriano to shout about and what a fine sculpt it was too. Personally speaking this is one of my favourite figures ever, I am a huge admirer of the players ability, certainly during his time at Inter when at times he was simply unplayable, with this sculpt perfectly capturing the powerful striker.
Completing the quartet of Serie A figures is Pavel Nedved in the Juventus away kit. Nedved was a repaint of the series 24 figure, however that did not deter collectors from buying this new release, in fact he was among the top sellers with demand in the Far East being at the usual high level.
Manchester United fans had 2 brand new sculpts to celebrate, with American goalkeeper Tim Howard and French striker Louis Saha both sculpted and released for the very first time. The Saha proved to be the better seller, no shock really given the quality of the sculpt and his popularity at that time with United fans, in fact Saha was the 2nd best seller in the series behind Kaka.
This series also made Corinthian history by being the first regular Prostars series to feature a player from Manchester City, the figure chosen to represent city was Nicolas Anelka. This was a new sculpt of Anelka and I feel it was an improvement on the Prostars series 2 figure. Corinthian made a slight error by using the series 2 Anelka figure in Arsenal kit on the advertisement poster for series 25.
Damien Duff was sculpted for the first time and released in the kit of Chelsea, a very fine sculpt and a great addition to any collection. Duff’s team mate Frank Lampard was re sculpted and this new sculpt was a vast improvement on the previous figure which featured in Prostars series 13.
Colombian Juan Pablo Angel was released in the home kit of Aston Villa as he finished the clubs top league scorer with 16 goals, a superb sculpt and little over 3,000 blisters were produced, making it a real collectors piece. Tottenham Hotspur’s temperamental striker Fredi Kanoute was released for the first and was well received by collectors. Corinthian manufactured just under 4,000 blisters of Kanoute; as a result his blister can be hard to find today in the secondary market.
Spurs’ North London rivals Arsenal were not forgotten about, they had inspirational leader Thierry Henry released in their away kit. 2003/04 was a great season for Henry, he helped Arsenal win the league by going the entire season without losing a league game, scoring a total of 39 goals in all competitions in the process, so what better way to commemorate such a terrific season than to have a Corinthian released of him. The Henry sculpt was the same as used in Prostars series 24, despite this being a repaint it sold tremendously well.
The figure chosen for Liverpool was home grown boy Steven Gerrard, a new sculpt and one which would be sued for many subsequent releases of Gerrard. It may come as a surprise to hear that this is the only time Gerrard was released in a Liverpool kit as part of a regular Prostars series!
Toon fans raced to buy the new sculpt of legend Alan Shearer, who for this release was painted in the Newcastle United away kit. A must for any die hard collector or Toon fan, as this proved to be the last time a figure of Shearer would be released. Completing the line up for series 25 is Celtic’s Dianbobo Balde. This figure was produced in the lowest volumes, with only 2,338 blisters being manufactured, despite that fact he is still the more commonly found figure today.
Corinthian once again produced 2 redemption figures to accompany the series, with Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard chosen, both painted in their respective team’s away kit. Collectors could claim a free redemption figure by collecting just 6 tokens, or they could be purchased from Corinthian directly at a price of £5 each. In addition, collectors who purchased a case assortment received the 2 redemption figures free; this was perfect for the long time collector who wanted every figure released.
A fine collection of figures and a fine balance between new sculpts and re paints, the perfect way to remember the 2003/04 season.
Juan Pablo Angel
To read more information on this range, including images of the packaging formats used, please click the link button opposite.