Corinthian celebrated it's 5th anniversary by releasing Prostars Series 9 on the 12th of October 2000, this series turned out to be Corinthian's biggest selling series to date. The success of this series can mostly be attributed to the fact that 90% of the figures in the series were chosen by Corinthian collector club members via the online vote, which ran from March until July.
This web vote gave collectors the chance to request the figures they most wanted to see released and the figure which came number 1 in the poll was West Ham United's charismatic Italian, Paolo Di Canio.There were 16 figures released in the range, 11 of those were 1st time releases, 1 was a new sculpt and the other 4 were repaints of previousy released figures. In addition to these 16 figures Corinthian also released 6 redemption figures and also 4 special chaser figures, i will detail all these figures further on in this section.
To date this was Corinthian's best selling series, due largley to the fact it boasted an impressive 11 first time sculpts. Footballing legend and true gentleman Bobby Robson was sculpted and released for the first and only time, with the figure itself being a remarkable likeness of the man himself and is one of the most collectable from this series. Paolo Di Canio was number 1 in the online poll, so the figure was highly anticipated and Corinthian did not dissapoint with the sculpt and the got the facial features spot on.
Arsenal's Swedish international Freddie Ljungberg and Chelsea's Jimmy Floyd Hasslebaink were both superb sculpts and released in for the first time. The Ljungberg is a cracking sculpt full of character and was so good it was used for many further releases of the player. The Hasslebaink was one of the best sellers in the series, no surprise given the quality of the sculpt.
Leeds United had many young talented players on thier books in 2000, one of these players was Michael Bridges, a very good sculpt and one which proved very popular with all collectors and was never released again. Tottenham Hotspur were reperesented in the series by their new Ukranian striker Sergei Rebrov, another fine sculpt but not as eye catching as some of the others in the series. Scotish giants Rangers had a figure released, which was Michael Mols, the figure struggled to sell in England but was an instant hit in Scotland of course.
This series gave us 4 first time sculpts of some truly world class players, one of those was Spanish international Gonzalez Raul. Raul was one of europe's leading strikers at this time and was a must to be immortalised as a 'big head, it will not surprise anyone to hear this was one of the best sellers in the series, a fine sculpt of a legendary player. Pep Guardiola was another figure which proved to be an instant hit, no surprise given the quality of the sculpt, however it is hard to believe the figure was never released again, that fact has made this figure all the more collectable.
Javier Zanetti is regarded as one of the finest right full backs the world has ever seen, mostly for hisability to perform at the highest level so consistently, and Corinthian produced a figure befiting such a great player, released here in the Inter Milan home kit. Completing the first time sculpts is Fiorentina's Pedrag Mijatovic, a stunning facial sculpt which was pakced full of detail and character, most notably the way Corinthian replicated Mijatovic's goatee beard, very well done, as it was for the Guardiola sculpt.
The only resculpt in the series was that of majestic French men Zinedine Zidane. the figure was certainly an improvement on all previous releases. Manchester United were of course reperesented, how could they not be, with the figure chosen being their eccentric goal keeper Fabian Barthez. The Barthez figure was the same figure which was released in Prostars series 1. Liverpool striker Emile Heskey was re-released following his inclusion in the series 7 England squad range, this time though he was painted in the Liverpool home kit. Despite this figure being a repaint it was one of the best sellers in the series.
Middlesbrough had acquired the services of midfielder Christian Karembeu, the figure is one of the ost recogniseable, due to his massive dreadlocked hairstyle, which can lead to the figure falling over on occassion! The Karembeu had been released before in the France national kit as part of the Super Champions Equipe De France range of Headliners, although figures as detailed and interesting as Karembeu always sell well.
Completing the line up for series 9 is Aston Villa's tempremental Frenchman David Ginola. The figure originaly penned to be released in the Villa kit was Benito Carbone, unfortunatly Carbone transfered to Bradford City during the close season, so Corinthian had a touch choice to make, either to include the Carbone regardless in the Villa kit and hope the figure sold on the fact it was a new sculpt, which i whink it would have done, or find a quick alternative Villa figure, well Corinthian's prayers were answered once Ginola transfered from Spurs during the summer. This Ginola figure was the same as was featured earleir in series 5.
Each figure came accompanied by a collector card and collector's information file. A simply superb set of figures and with so many new and first time releases, no wonder it was such a huge commercial success.
To find out more information on this series, please click the link button opposite.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
Paolo Di Canio
West Ham United