Corinthian released ProStars series 30 on the 10th of October 2005 and continued the themed series, choosing to entitle this series ‘Dazzling Derbies.’
A slight change to the structure of the series, as it contained 12 figures, as opposed to the now standard 16. The series comprised of, as the title suggested, players from some of the worlds most famous derbies. Sadly, due to licensing issues, Corinthian could not include the worlds most famous derby of ’El Classico’ contested by Barcelona and Real Madrid, as part of this series, as they did not hold a license for Real Madrid.
Liverpool and Everton have long been bitter rivals, with Liverpool usually having the bragging rights over their Blue counterparts. The Merseyside derby was represented her by 2 new sculpts. James Beattie was sculpted for the very first time and is, for me at least, the stand out figure in this series and one of Corinthian’s finest works. Beattie had never been released before, nor would he be so again, and with less than 1,750 of him made, it would turn into a real collector’s piece. Liverpool were represented by Spaniard Fernando Morientes, who had previously featured in ProStars series 19 in the Spain home kit, however this new sculpt was by far superior and a hugely detailed facial sculpt made it a must have for the avid collector.
The Manchester derby, contested by Manchester United and Manchester City had been largely dominated by United during the 90’s and the pattern continued throughout the early part of the 21st century. 2 long standing Premiership greats were chosen to represent their respective clubs, with Paul Scholes re-sculpted and released in the united home kit; while City had Robbie Fowler painted in their famous Blue shirt.
London plays hosts too many derbies, some more hotly contested than others, so Corinthian chose to represent this by releasing a figure for both Arsenal and Chelsea. Robin Van Persie was released for the first time and painted in the dark Maroon kit Arsenal would wear to commemorate their final year at Highbury. Joe Cole was the man chosen to represent Chelsea, a popular choice and even more so as this was an entirely new sculpt of the midfielder. A great choice of figures, however I would personally have preferred to see a North London derby release of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur; however Corinthian knew a Chelsea figure would be more commercially successful, which is why no Spurs player was released in this series.
Italy is a very passionate country, especially when it comes to football and the country hosts some of the world’s most electric derbies. The atmosphere at the grounds is something I have never personally experienced, however I have spoken to those who have witnessed a derby first hand and they all say it is a something to behold. The fans take it to the extreme and the flares released, albeit it very dangerous, really add to the tribal feel of the derby and some of the banners produced specially for these derbies and superb.
The derby between Roma and Lazio is always hotly contested with no side wanting to feel the humiliation of defeat, with the Roma players certainly not wanting to feel the wrath of their hardcore ’Ultra’ Fans! The selection for Roma was an obvious one, inspirational leader Francesco Totti was re-sculpted and released in the home kit sporting his captains arm band. Lazio were represented by new sculpt Massimo Oddo, who had already appeared in a few derbies.
The Milan derby is a fixture which all football fanatics look for when season’s fixtures are announced. There is so much passion in this derby, with love and hate felt in equal measure, a true spectacle to behold. It is often said a game is won in the midfield, so it seems rather apt that Corinthian chose to release a midfield from each half of Milan. The Red half was represented by Andrea Pirlo, a veteran of these derbies and a real AC Milan favourite. The Blue half of Milan was represented by Esteban Cambiasso, who was no stranger to a big game derby atmosphere, after appearing in a few ’El Classico’s’ during his time with Real Madrid. This was the first time Cambiasso had been released and was one of the best sellers in the series.
This series also made Corinthian history, as for the first time a player from Italian side Livorno would be released. Cristiano Lucarelli was chosen, who else could it have been and the striker truly encapsulated the passionate side of the derby, a home grown talent who not only wore his heart on his sleeve but literally the club crest, which was tattooed on his left arm!
Livorno’s Tuscany rivals Fiorentina had Japanese idol Hidetoshi Nakata released in their famous Purple kit. This was a new sculpt of Nakata and of course the figure proved immensely popular in his homeland. Corinthian knew demand for Nakata would far out weigh that of any other in this series, so produced him in the highest volume. Corinthian produced nearly 9,000 Nakata blisters, which accounted for around 20% of the entire blister pack production of this series!
Corinthian once again produced 2 special edition figures for this series, with Manchester United’s Paul Scholes and Chelsea’s Joe Cole chosen, both were painted in their respective clubs away kits. However, no redemption tokens were produced; instead you were able to purchase the figures direct from Corinthian in sachet format with card, for £5 per figure. 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.
In total, Corinthian produced just 43,706 blisters for this series, which was considerably lower than for most other series; however this was due to the series only consisting of 12 players. The figure produced in the lowest volume was actually Fowler, who had just 1,704 blisters produced, with Beattie 1 ahead with 1,705 produced.
A wonderful series, full of new and first time sculpts, however it would have been much better had Corinthian held the Real Madrid license, and an ‘El Classico’ release would have really made this series extra special.
Robin Van Persie
To read more information on this range, including images of the packaging formats used, click the link button below.