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UK football fans fall in love with Leo Messi

by Dan 5. July 2012 04:45

Icons Press Release: July 2, 2012

UK Football Fans Fall In Love With Leo Messi

Signed Leo Messi products from Icons.com outselling the rest by 4 to 1

FORMER Manchester United Merchandising Director, Edward Freedman, says sales figures for Icons.com’s Leo Messi signed memorabilia prove the Argentinian maestro is now the UK’s best-loved player.

Freedman chairs Icons.com - the most trusted football memorabilia supplier in the game, providing sought-after signed shirts, photos and other products to fans and gift buyers throughout the world.

The former Managing Director of Tottenham Hotspur, hailed by The Economist as “football’s merchandising guru”, says Messi memorabilia now outsells Ronaldo, the next best selling player, by a factor of 4 to 1 and leaves Rooney and Gerrard trailing in his wake.

The Icons Chairman said:

“UK football fans love Spanish football and Messi in particular. He’s the neutral’s favourite with most football lovers now agreeing he is the best in the world, if not the best ever. The UK public has fallen in love with him.”

“Everyone wants to be close to greatness and by owning a signed Messi shirt then you’ve got the world’s very best. When Icons.com says ‘signed by the world’s best’, we mean it.”

Icons also sell its memorabilia in Harrods where the Argentinian legend outsells otherplayers by 5 to 1. Icons.com now sell his shirts to 78 countries around the world.

The company stocks ten Messi products including a signed and framed Barcelona 2011/12 home shirt; a dual signed Barcelona 2011/12 home shirt with Andrés Iniesta; a signed Adidas boot and a selection of signed iconic photographs of the great man in action.

Messi’s range of signed memorabilia outsold Icons range of other products - signed by the likes of Kaka, Robin Van Persie, Luis Saurez, Andres Iniesta and even Diego Maradona - by the bucket load between April 2011 and April 2012.

Freedman added:

“Does this mean UK football fans are getting less tribal and more sophisticated? That remains to be seen. But it does show how strong the Barcelona and Messi brands have become. They are setting new standards for the game and, in turn, reinventing the football memorabilia market.”

You can view and buy Icons’ range of signed products at www.icons.com.

For more information on this product, or Icons.com, or for interviews with Edward Freedman, please contact Ben Lee on blee@hardhat.co.uk or 07961 820 579.


1. Sales figures through Icons.com from April 2011 and April 2012:

Player - Team / Nation = Units sold

  • Leo Messi - Barcelona, Argentina = 2021
  • Cristiano Ronald - Real Madrid, Portugal = 496
  • Robin Van Persie - Arsenal, Holland = 481
  • Kaka - AC Milan, Brazil = 477
  • Luis Suarez - Liverpool, Uruguay = 409
  • Andrés Iniesta - Barcelona, Spain = 386
  • Steven Gerrard - Liverpool, England = 365
  • Wayne Rooney - Man Utd, England = 274
  • Diego Maradona - Argentina = 261
  • Fernando Torres - Chelsea, Spain = 254
  • 2. Icons has been in business since 1999. Icons is one of the oldest memorabilia operators in the country, if not the world.
    3. Edward Freedman has over 40 years experience in the retail industry and in the late 80s was Managing Director of Tottenham Hotspur. He then moved to Manchester United and became Managing Director ofManchester United Merchandising from 1992 onwards. Over the next six years he transformed the commercial side of the club's operation and built Manchester United into the biggest brand in world football. He was also a key player in the formation of the Premier League and was hailed by The Economist as "football's merchandising guru".
    4. Icons.com are an international brand and supply to well over 70 countries each year and haverepresentatives in North America and regularly supply customers in Japan, Australia and the Middle East.
    5. Icons.com employs the highest standards in the signed football merchandise industry to assure customers of the authenticity of its products. At each event, photographs document each signature and Icons creates a Certificate of Authenticity (COA) for each item including the date and venue and a picture of the product and the signing image. Each product carries a uniquely coded Icons hologram whose identical twin is added to the COA which is signed by the Icons Managing Director.
    6. Icons were awarded the world's first ever signed football memorabilia license by FIFA in 2010. This summer Icons has been awarded the first ever official license for the UEFA Champions League.
    7. Icons have partnered with Sky Sports’ Revista De La Liga programme for years now. They are also now the official partner of the Abu Dhabi Media Company who own the rights to the Premier League throughout the Middle East.
    8. Icons also run regular promotions with the likes of Sky Sports, The Blizzard, 442 and GuillemBalague.com.
    9. A Spanish version of the Icons website is available for Spanish fans.

    Icons.com launches on Google +

    by Dan 2. March 2012 12:13
    Check out the new Icons home page on Google +. This will allow lots of customersa and friends of Icons from around the world to interact with us more directly. Join today and add us to your circle.

    Icons on Google Plus

    Follow Icons on Twitter too @icons_football

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    Forward(-thinking) Friday: Arsenal's new number eight, Mikel Arteta

    by Al 2. September 2011 05:17

    Although not a 'forward' per se, Arsenal's new number eight Mikel Arteta is this week's pick for Forward Friday.

    The departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively left a creative void in Arsenal's midfield. A £10m transfer deadline day signing from Everton, Icon signee Arteta is the man charged with sparking the Gunner's back to life, and filling the sizeable boots left by his Catalan compatriot.

    The 29-year-old, from the Basque city of San Sebastián in Spain, made over 200 appearances for Everton over the course of seven seasons. Few Premier League players have matched the consistency of the stylish Spanish playmaker, and he arrives at Arsenal with the pedigree and experience to help the Gunners put a turbulent summer and nightmare start to the season behind them.

    Like Real Madrid's Xabi Alonso, Arteta came through the respected Antiguoko youth academy in the Basque Country. While his close friend Alonso would eventually sign his first professional contract with Real Sociedad, a 15-year-old Arteta was snapped up by Barcelona.

    He was a regular for Barcelona B, but was unable to make the step up to the first team due to fierce competition for places, and in 2000 he was sent for the first of two seasons on loan at French side Paris Saint-Germain. Arteta's performances in a deep-lying central midfield role behind a young Ronaldinho in the 2001/02 season provoked interest from a host of clubs around Europe, and in 2002 he signed for Walter Smith's Rangers for a fee of £5.8m.

    In his first season in Glasgow, Arteta helped Rangers to a domestic treble of the Scottish Premier League, Scottish Cup and League Cup, and was named their young player of the year. A regular for the Spanish under-21 side, he seemed destined to break his way into the senior Spain side. His second season with Rangers was blighted by injury, however, and in 2004 he made a return to La Liga with Real Sociedad, where he hoped to be reunited with old friend Xabi Alonso. Alonso left the club for Liverpool, however, and after a disappointing season with Sociedad, Arteta jumped at the chance to follow him to Merseyside with David Moyes' Everton.

    Arteta moved in next to Alonso in January 2005, initially joining Everton on loan. In July, however, he completed a permanent £2m transfer and signed a five-year deal. It didn't take him long to acclimatize to life at Everton, and in his first half season he featured regularly as Everton ensured Champions League qualification with an excellent fourth-placed finish.

    Between 2005 and 2007 Arteta was among the Premier League's standout performers, winning Everton's Player of the Season award in consecutive seasons. Moyes' decision to push Arteta further forward to the right-side of midfield had proved an inspired one. With an excellent eye for a pass and formidable set-piece delivery, he was the Toffees' creative hub, contributing goals and assists in equal measure. His intelligent and technical approach is perfectly suited to the Gunners' style of play, and Arsenal fans are rightly optimistic about the impact he can have in North London.

    Spain's midfield options are so outstanding and varied that despite his obvious guile and talent, Arteta has yet to win a call-up to the national side. With the opportunity to showcase his ability at Champions League level with Arsenal, however, that could be about to change.

    We at Icons conducted our latest signing with Mikel on 11th September 2008:

    If all goes to plan for the Spanish maestro, we will be quick to arrange another signing session with him, this time in red and white.

    Icons Legend of the Week #8: Bob Wilson

    by Al 30. August 2011 09:24

    A footballing legend on and off the pitch, Icons Legend of the Week #8 is Arsenal goalkeeping great Bob Wilson.

    Between 1963 and 1974, Wilson amassed over 300 appearances between the sticks for Arsenal and won two caps for Scotland. Despite taking an early retirement at the age of 32, a long career in coaching, broadcasting and charity work has seen him become one of Britain's most popular and respected football personalities.

    Born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire in 1941, Wilson was a late starter in professional football. Until Arsenal came knocking in 1963, he was in teacher training at Loughborough College while turning out as an amateur for Wolverhampton Wanderers Reserves. When he was signed by Billy Wright's Arsenal for £6,500, Wilson became the first amateur to move clubs for a transfer fee.

    He arrived at Highbury as understudy to Jim Furnell, and despite making his debut in October 1963, he had to wait over four years to become the Gunners' first-choice. Manager Billy Wright was replaced by Bertie Mee, and Wilson duly won his first trophy with Arsenal during the 1969/70 campaign, when Arsenal overcame Belgians Anderlecht to claim the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. It was the Gunners' first piece of silverware since their 1952/53 Division One title.

    Wilson was an unmovable figure in Arsenal's famous League and FA Cup double-winning 1970/71 season, during which he played every single first-team league and cup match and was named their player of the year.

    1971 was also the year of Wilson's international call-up to the Scotland side. Eligibility rules had changed in 1970, allowing players to turn out for their parents' countries of origin. Wilson appeared for Scotland under Tommy Doherty against Portugal and Holland, but when Willie Ormerod took over as manager, he reverted to a Scottish-born number one, Bobby Clarke of Aberdeen, and Wilson was frozen out.

    Wilson continued as Arsenal's number one until his retirement in May 1974. His involvement at the North London club was far from over, however, and after hanging up his boots he took on a coaching role. Wilson was the Gunners' goalkeeping coach for 28 years, working closely with fellow Arsenal greats Pat Jennings and David Seaman.

    Wilson juggled coaching at Arsenal with a football broadcasting career, and after appearing as a pundit during the 1970 World Cup, he worked as a presenter with the BBC from 1974 to 1994 before moving to ITV. He has also devoted much of his time to charity work, and in 1999 he set up the Willow Foundation, to help people aged between 16 and 40 diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. In April 2011, Wilson, approaching 70-years-old, embarked on an incredible 500 mile 'Soccer Cycle' around every Premier League club in England. With the help of the likes of Lee Dixon, David Seaman and Les Ferdinand, the sponsored cycle raised more than £300,000 for the Willow Foundation.

    A brave and supremely talented goalkeeper in his pomp, the Arsenal legend received an OBE in 2007, and remains a great authority and hugely respected commenter on the game today.

    Likeable, passionate and devoted; modern football could use a few more characters like Bob Wilson.


    Have a look at our Bob Wilson collection here.

    Forward Friday: La Pulga, Leo Messi

    by Al 26. August 2011 07:34

    Having just completed our sixth signing session with Leo Messi, the Argentinean was an obvious choice for this week's Forward Friday. Messi signs exclusively with Icons, and you can check out his amazing new range here.

    "I've run out of adjectives to describe him," confessed Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola back in March 2010. Indeed, the brilliance of Leo Messi is not easy to put into words. With every season that passes, the best player of his generation strengthens claims that he is the best of all-time, and the eulogies that cascade his way are wholly justified.

    Messi is beyond hyperbole. Combining sensational speed and close control with phenomenal balance and power, he is an utterly devastating force. His technical prowess is almost superhuman. The ball can appear glued to his feet as he glides effortlessly past defenders, and when he's not smashing the ball into the net, he's expertly carving out chances for his teammates to do it for him.

    FIFA Ballon d'Or winner in 2010, Messi, 24, has already helped Barcelona to five La Liga titles and three Champions League wins, including a double last season. Since he was handed the departing Ronaldinho's iconic number 10 shirt at the start of the 2008/09 season, Messi has scored an incredible 141 goals in 161 games. During that time Barcelona have claimed a hat-trick of La Liga titles.

    Messi was born in the Argentinian city of Rosario on 24th June 1987 to a factory steel worker and a part-time cleaner. His life-changing move to Barcelona came in 2000 at the age of 13. Astonished by the level of ability he demonstrated on trial in Catalonia, Barcelona's sporting director Carles Rexach hurriedly scribbled out a contract on a napkin and - several signatures later - Messi was enrolled at Barcelona's renowned La Masia youth academy.

    His first-team breakthrough came under Frank Rijkaard. Having already featured in friendlies as a 16-year-old, Messi made his league debut on 16 October 2004 against RCD Espanyol. At 17 years and 114 days he became the youngest player ever to appear in a La Liga match.

    It didn't take him long to break into the Argentina set up either. At the 2005 under-20 World Cup the explosive Messi fired six goals and was named the winner of the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe as Argentina emerged triumphant. That August, Argentina manager José Pékerman handed the young prodigy his senior debut in a friendly against Hungary, but within a minute of coming on as a substitute in the 63rd minute, Messi swung an arm at a defender tugging his shirt and was sent off. It was an acrimonious start to an international career that has yet to scale the great heights he is accustomed to at club level, but at 24, Messi has time on his side.

    Picking out highlights from a career bursting with glorious moments is not easy, but amid comparisons to the great Diego Maradona, April 2007 seems a good time to start. Up against Getafe in the semi-final of the Copa del Rey, Messi picked up the ball just inside his own half, and with his mop of long hair streaming behind him, he produced a carbon copy of Maradona's legendary solo goal against England at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. A few weeks later he even reproduced Maradona's infamous 'hand of God' moment when his blatant handball past Espanyol goalkeeper Carlos Kameni was allowed to stand.

    "He is my Maradona", says Diego of his heir apparent. But the 'new Maradona' looks destined to overtake his idol.

    Icons at the World Cup: Fox Soccer Channel promotion

    by Dan 13. July 2010 09:28
    More people from America bought tickets to this World Cup than any other country and it seems the game has taken off in the US over the past month. We've been providing a fantastic range of prizes to Fox Soccer Channel, who have been broadcasting a post-game show across the US throughout the tournament.

    Icons at World Cup 2010

    by Steve 3. June 2010 09:17

    And so we're almost there...  The Greatest Show On Earth is just days away.  For the next month all that exists is the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.  Lifetime memories will be made, dreams will come true and icons will rise to become legends.  But who will be remembered as the stars of 2010?

    The chances are it will be a player who has signed with Icons.com in the last year. Click on the incredible list of players set to star in this summer's tournament below, and also legends of past World Cups.

    World Cup 2010 Stars

    World Cup Legends

    Whoever makes the move from the first list to the second this summer, and whatever happens over the next month, you can guarantee that you'll never forget it.

    Join the icons.com team

    by Dan 4. January 2010 12:06
    We've had a good Christmas here at icons.com and hope that all our customers have had a good festive holiday period wherever they are. We've got exciting plans for 2010 with the World Cup coming up and exciting league races predicted in England and Spain.

    As such we're looking for a permanent, full time customer service executive. The full job description is posted here. Please email tom@icons.com before Friday January 15th if you think you have what it takes to join our team. We're looking to have the right candidate in place by February 1 so send us your CV straight away.

    Good luck

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    About Icons Memorabilia

    Welcome to the icons blog, we'll be regularly posting here about what's going on with our star signings and what new products have arrived

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