Subbuteo Tribute Website.
Is anybody still out here?
My website hiatus of 2017 turned into a full blown sabbatical.
In essence, after months of technical issues, what was (probably) the last dial-up service in the UK finally gave up the ghost. It stopped working in January 2019, and a month or so later it advised that the parts needed were no longer available, and the service would have to cease (ah, progress... still considering BT closed their dial-up in 2013, Freeola did okay). So suddenly, I had no internet connection, and no access to my e-mail or the website. I couldn't even post to advise on the situation. My phone, and the Freeola broadband service don't mix. A non-starter. There was a possibility of a shared connection with my sister, but that went nowhere. Then the graphic card in my PC died, and I left the whole thing switched off completely over the summer months....
...and found I didn't miss it. At all.
I had run this website for twenty years. I felt ready to retire. To leave the field to the new wave - social media and U-tube un-boxing videos... I was done.
Other people's enthusiasm is infectious. My original goals still stand. Subbuteo is too good a game to fade into history. There is still a core of players. There is still an active collecting circle. We all need to pull together. We need to do more. I need to do more. So here we go again.
A big thank you to Alan Lee of The Wobbly Hobby Shop for supplying the site with a mobile internet solution. This has allowed me to see what I need to do to get up and running once more. I've paid to free up website access (if you are reading this, it must have worked....)
I can now receive e-mails again, and can now accept Subbuteo pictures of any size (within reason), and I can now answer emails again (regulars will know this was previously a bit hit and miss anyway, but hopefully things will be better now).
So here is where I return to my first line. Is anybody still here? Is there still a need for this site? Are there still things to discover or puzzle over?
Are these the two most boring fence adverts?
Vehicle Contracts weren't high on my priority list when I was twelve....
What would visitors like to see? More of the new table soccer stuff? Modern painting/decal services? Reviews? Galleries of the greatest fence advertising boards? Bigger pictures?
What this website won't be able to do is news. I'm always a year or two behind the times.... Lucky then, that we have Subbuteo Online. A site full of interesting stories "hot off the presses". If we had presses anymore..... Subbuteo Online is also one of many sites with a nice list of Stadium pictures, so I don't feel I need to cover this at present. Do you want to change my mind?
How about People playing the game in a sweet shop? (this
is my table soccer club - The Worthing
Five-Star in action).
March 2020: Of course we're not in action currently (sob). Best wishes to all those frustrated Subbuteo players currently in lockdown in various parts of the world.
Send me details. Send me links. I'll bung the details on this page. What more could you want?
Oh, you want more. Okay, here are a few starters. There are always extra things to learn about Subbuteo....
This was an update lying forgotten on my PC from May 2018. Blimey. 2018. That Netcam update is already 18 months out of date (frankly, all the Netcam updates have relied on me buying the stuff and posting it!).
24 February 2020
Mark Parker of the wonderful Santiago table soccer fame, sent me this picture of the Northampton kit from 1967-71. Often regarded as a variant ref 61, it comes from the "shop requests" era, and that is where it is on the website (un-illustrated until now).
March 2020 Updates.
Spanish production 1960s,
Spanish teams 1960s - I previously had a single picture of a box set for this
period of Subbuteo from Peter Adolph's factory in Barcelona (known as Aquila). Lots
of new information and picture from Spanish collector Jorge Vila have enabled this
expansion. The teams are lovely, but a bit of a mystery because there does not seem
to be a catalogue. Whether all of the teams Jorge has collected were genuinely painted
at Aquila, we'd still like to establish. Does anyone else have more of these
Spanish Borras Editions 1982, Pelebol 1979 - Only old information but pulled into one place for ease of use. As the information on the international range of Subbuteo has grown, many of these ranges are outgrowing the pages I have them on.
The Links for Subbuteo page has had a spring clean, but there is loads missing (and Google is not much help - especially for international sites). I want links for modern sellers, painters, table soccer equipment, clubs, galleries and whatever else Subbuteo related. I also want to update the useful stuff section like club colours for painters.... so please send the links to me.
Netcam Subbuteo 2012-2020 - Subbuteo Online suggests that this range is coming to an end. I've added a couple more bits and pieces, but need to add a lot more box sets etc (with final reissue teams). Does anyone have good scans? Does anyone care?
I picked this team up a while back, and looking at the heavyweight lists for a German feature revealed that this side had never found his way onto the site. How did that happen? Trouble is, I've lost the bitmaps for the later h/w pages (probably in my big computer crash years ago), and continually resaving the jpgs breaks them up. So I may have to re-scan some teams before I actually add him to his proper place.
Took these pictures at the Worthing club last year. I'd not seen the cardboard
ref 51 before (the celluloid is fairly common). We noticed that there was a rogue
player with white socks, from a different set. Why two versions?
I've added them to the Card and Celluloid teams
26 March 2020:- Long term friend of the site Luca Genzano has sent in a picture of a card reference 39 to add to the website. Luca has had the "privilege" of visiting the Worthing club at the sweet shop (see further up the page). Luca, next time you come, I'll make you play a game of flats (or perhaps some Speedway!). Keep safe!
March 2020: Starting to read through the old pages to update and clarify text, and make a note of any illustrations I'd like to replace. Starts with:-
In the meantime try visiting - Subbuteo.eu or The Subbuteo Museum for top quality pictures of Subbuteo teams and sets - much better pictures than I have room to show really.
28 March 2020. More websites arriving on the links page....
- A blog and a sales site for some lovely box labels (and hand-painted teams).
Subbuteo Passion - Alan Crampton's new directory website. A site worth supporting.
Thanks to Marco in Rome, the link for Andrew Stadden's website has been updated.
See, I'm getting those links done. Keep sending them in....
I've started to update the team details on the heavyweight pages. Not sure if
it is helping with clarity....
Also, I've been scanning black players for a new page.... and it has allowed me to add nice pictures for Bolivia and Nigeria to the lightweight lists.
Another recently discovered box set. The French Language version of S230 - The European Edition produced in 1983-84. Many thanks to Giovanni Buscemi for sending this one in. Added to the International box sets page.
Gabriele Cerescioli sent me so many great pictures of the Italian 90 team wraps that I'm tempted to give it a Focus On page. For the time being I've contented myself with adding pictures of the teams and box ends to these unusual sets. Gabriele mentions that they were not in the Italia 90 catalogue of the time, and he wonders how widespread they were, or even if they were promotional. Does anyone know more?
April 2020 Updates.
A new focus on page - The story of black players in Subbuteo - How the changing face of modern Britain (finally) reflected in our favourite game. Something a bit different, and hopefully entertaining. I haven't managed to do as many of the pictures for the piece as I wanted to - due to lockdown. A nice little lightweight team/player subset to collect.
My reliable box set expert Karl Warelow has pointed out that the original 1970s Stadium Edition was released in a red box and a green box. If you are a box collector, you are going to need a bigger house....
Another marvel from Luca Genzano. This is the Bentrid plastic fishing float that was produced by Subbuteo Ltd - as opposed to Subbuteo Sports Games Limited. (This was Peter Adolph's plastic moulding operation). More details on Miscellaneous items 1950s -1960s
Looked at the site online using an old PS3 to make sure the new pictures look okay away from my faulty graphic card.... found that the site looks designed for TV resolution! Very pleased. However, lots of the bullet point lists were stretched out in a way my computer doesn't do. Think this is due to lots of superfluous code that FrontPage 2003 (and its predecessor) like to spew out. So I've spent a boring few hours knocking out pointless instructions in the code manually.... See if this helps. Only another hundred odd pages to look at. Sigh.
20 April 20 - More big thanks to Alan Lee of the The Wobbly Hobby Shop for tech improvements. I've been looking into why my team lists look perfect in Frontpage, on XP, and on the PS3, but all the numbering goes wayward on newer systems. Using a lovely laptop from Alan with Windows 8 means I'm close to sorting this out. The old generated code has so many font instructions you wouldn't believe. I'm manually tidying it up. If you have a newer PC and the lists are all over the place, this should correct the problem this week.... with luck!
May 2020 updates.
There nearly weren't any May updates due to a combination of personal circumstances and technical issues. But things are a little better this week, so I'm made an effort to add a few things. Aren't you all lucky? Anyway, this is the first update officially produced on all "new" technology. Ha. Windows 8 anyway, not XP. It nearly didn't happen. My tried and tested imaging software and devices, all tied nicely to Windows XP, wouldn't run on a newer version. Honestly, it is no wonder so many perfectly serviceable scanners and printers end up in landfill when it is not in the best interests of the producers to update their software. So much for saving the planet.... Okay. rant over!
The centre piece of the May update is a new page - Focus On C131and C132 the corner kickers and throw-in figures who have been released in an interesting range of colours down the years. I had a folder sitting on my hard drive with pictures of several weird and wonderful versions, and felt this should be shared. Pleasingly, as I was scanning in my own collection, Chris Allen was doing the same thing to display on the Subbuteo forum. So with his permission, I've combined our pictures to make the page even better.
I also have folders of rosettes and statuette pictures from many years ago, and aim to do these pages in June (and again, Chris has beaten me to it on the forum). I am aware of some really big statuette collections, but I don't have that many pictures yet. We'll have to see whether the site becomes a catalogue, or just a sample of these items. Beyond a few mystery heavyweights, these three galleries will probably see all of the stuff I have saved off on my various hard drives finally catalogued somewhere on the site.... if you can find it!
Beyond that, I've been scanning in a few old bits of ephemera stored with my Subbuteo papers. The birthday card on the left has been added to the Odds and Ends Page. The others I'm not sure what to do with yet. The disabled Subbuteo player is such a striking figure. I think he's from an Italian newspaper supplement acquired when I worked in Newspaper distribution. The John Terry Role Model picture is from The Mail on Sunday "Live" supplement from March 2009. The football fever chap is from a Tesco promotion called "Love Football? Hate Football?" from 2006 that used officially licensed Subbuteo images.
This month's updates start with a new page - The Football Rosettes Gallery. Getting these pictures to the right size and lining them up has been a right old chore. I wonder how I ever managed to do all those team lists... jeez. Anyway, as usual this is loads of pictures "borrowed" from the internet down the years, plus a few I own scanned or photographed, and the collection of Chris Allen shown off on the Subbuteo Forum. If you own a rosette or two not on the lists then why not send some pictures in? Go on. Do it.
The rosettes currently live on miscellaneous items page 1 I've been updating details on this for the Space games, and the Beatles, and wondering if both these rarities need pages to themselves. I've shifted a few things around to try and get production in the right order. It makes sense to show the rosettes before the Beatles Pins that use the same backing. I've re-read the list Andrew Stadden kindly sent me of his father's 1960s invoices, and I've added the dates and details into the Beatles section, and expanded a little on the Charles Stadden page. As we are getting deeper into the details of Subbuteo items all the time, it seems right to have this proper dating information available to all.
Space craft leader Murph demoted. On the same miscellaneous page, a big picture of rare 1950s game "By Spacecraft to the Moon" has come to light. This had a lovely readable version of the game's story sheet, and I've noticed a very important comma in it, that changes the hero's role. Instead of being Murph Under - Commander-in-Chief of the World's Space Ship Interplanetary Expedition Force, he is instead "Space-Craft Leader Murph (comma), Under Commander-in-Chief of the World's Space Ship Interplanetary Expedition Force." Well, it made me laugh anyway....
Reading through old pages does bring a few website problems to light. The History 1980 onwards ended abruptly as the Photo-real range was arriving. Whatever happened to that huh? Of course, the more recent history has more detail on Subbuteo Production 2002 onwards.... but the history page still needed a summary and some context for the modern era, which it now has. Writing a Hasbro Part 4 section made me realise that Hasbro have now been running Subbuteo for nearly 25 years. When the site started in 1999, it was barely three years, and they were planning to cancel the entire range. Funny how things turn out. Hasbro's 24 years at the helm compares with only 21 years for Peter Adolph himself (1947-68), and about 28 years for Waddingtons (1968-96).
More June Updates.
Subbuteo Production 2002 onwards.... - this page sees the third Italian partwork belatedly appear, and also the (very) limited edition Women's FA Cup final edition from 2018 (during my hiatus). Still, as this was never commercially produced, the importance is doubtful.
Talking of partworks. As I was lacking time over the last few years, I had left the "vintage" partworks for Italian websites to catalogue, just linking in to them. However, whilst the newer Platinum Edition is still on the Centauria website, the Vintage Edition has gone, and eventually the Platinum will go too. Some of the pictures for the earlier Vintage version are still on the internet, but I'm struggling to find all the teams. Did the change from Fabbri to Centauria take down the official version? Or have they just sold out the stock? I thought I'd better try and cover these teams while the details still exist.
So I've produced the usual lists - la leggenda vintage edition, and la leggenda platinum edition Some of the teams are pretty striking. Some of the teams are pretty dreadful.
The site I was linking to for the vintage partwork has moved address. Now called Subbuteo Stuff (my kind of title), it is still well worth a visit, and has the Platinum teams too, compared with old Subbuteo and new products like Top Spin.
A heads up at this point too to the wonderful Italian Subbuteo blog website that also has the teams for both partworks. It also has lots of pictures from heavyweight collections for reference numbers I've never actually seen before. If you are a heavyweight fan, you can spend a morning on this website playing the game (familiar to all h/w collectors) called "Is that real?" This applies to both teams and reference numbers on boxes, and is one of the reasons I'm not a serious h/w collector. Because the answer too often is "maybe?" The blog has a tremendous amount of work on it, with details and pictures of the real teams involved in Subbuteo's h/w lists. If you'd wondered about Frigg, or KPV, this should help a bit. (if you speak Italian, or have translation software anyway).
From the Subbuteo Blog link list I've found the following rather wonderful specialist Subbuteo websites.
Subbuteo Heavyweight Catalogue. Had
this on my links years ago, but the address has changed. The site is more
complete than ever, with shots of the backs of the figures, and big blow-ups.
Subbuteo Club - Has pdfs of Italian catalogues and rulebooks. Plus pictures of the heavyweight partworks.
Giuseppe "Beppeming" Mingardo's Website - one of those Italian lightweight collections you can scarcely believe. Stunning pictures too.
All are now on the links page. I'm planning to borrow a few pictures from the Italians to fully illustrate the heavyweight team lists seeing as how I'd waited about a decade to even get a picture of reference 219 - before having to scan the thing in myself. Sheesh. I don't see myself picking up any of the foreign club rarities at boot sales frankly. I'm generally sticking with the Italian catalogue pictures though, because although they are blurry, they are at least genuine teams.... and suggest what hair/boot colours are perhaps the norm.
July Updates. The Heavyweight Updates.
This month is going to be spent updating the heavyweight pages, and making sure they link together much better.
I started with a big overhaul of the World Cup 1966 appx. A page so old it has one of my early numbers (sub27!). I have had various queries about 1966 & 1970 world cup sides recently, and realised that this page was completely hopeless at answering any of the modern queries about teams, dates, boxes and ranges. So it has had a spring clean, and all my knowledge of these two World Cups is now in this one place.
Then I started looking at the named box teams. I wanted to add all my knowledge and pictures, mysteries or not, so nothing was left forgotten on my old PCs. All information might be helpful to collectors. This was going well, until I realised how long the page was getting.... so now there is a new un-catalogued teams page, and I've had to adjust all the other pages to include this one.....
Heavys 300+ others which used to have these named teams, now just has the non-numbered teams from international catalogues, pulled from other areas. The Italian Special teams have new photos for this page - I extracted jpgs from the 1981 Italian catalogue posted as a pdf online (at Subbuteo Club). That catalogue was earlier in date than the ones I used to produce the heavyweight lists - and it had extra teams photographed as h/ws - so I've updated the general lists. The lists have also had some of the dating and naming updated.
Getting these new pictures, and looking at the different Italian catalogues has then led onto an update of the Italian Production page. One thing always leads to another.....
This has taken longer than I expected, but we've still got a couple of weeks of July left. If you have heavyweights you think should get a mention.... please send them in.
After the Lord Mayor's Show comes the dustcart. This was a favourite saying of my Dad. After July's exciting heavyweight updates, this month looks at shower gel...
Actually, it is an update to all the miscellaneous pages - trying to rearrange them so they make sense, and then adding all the gifts, clothing, and general tat of the 21st Century that will hopefully raise a smile or two. If the site is going to be a full encyclopaedia of Subbuteo goodness, then lamps, bottle openers and all the gifts Subbuteo lovers really don't need should have their own space. So the Submisc pages now look like this :-
The new page in all this is really the 21st century branded products page. Enjoy.
Further August Update....
The Named box updates have produced some interesting feedback, and a bit more heavyweight information.
The best things are a named Dundee United (owned by Chris Allen), and a proper named box for the St. Austell owned by Alberto Orazi. Wow.
Alberto has also provided information about the early named teams sold by Edilio Parodi to test the Italian market. This range was catalogued (non illustrated) in 1970, and included the blue shorts version of Bologna, which was previously shown on this site in the non-catalogued stuff. Chris Allen also provided a mystery printed named box for Watford, from this same early 1970s period. Sadly, no team was contained with it.
The September Update.
With the Subbuteo licence changing hands this year (see below), it seemed a good time to revisit the Netcam/Paul Lamond range, and see if I could get it updated. A little look around the online sellers soon turned up a whole heap of different box sets and equipment. Phew. I've tried to make some sense of it all, but admit that I might still be a bit lacking. The number of different official Real Madrid teams and box sets is confusing, and I'm not really sure how the official Chelsea teams match up.
I reckon I have doubled the number of box sets illustrated on the page, and I haven't included the "classic" versions that feature partwork sides. They will come later (on a new page)
Further September Updates.
A few interesting things have been sent in by site visitors over the last couple of months, and I've finally found a bit of time to fit them in.
Fake or Fortune (again)!
Here we go again with some unusual heavyweights which are hopefully genuine Subbuteo production. Both these sides were sent in for identification, and both actually have a duplicate version shown on the big Italian Celtic Dream heavyweight website. It is always useful to see a second version of any of the stranger sides that turn up online.
The team on the left is actually in a numbered reference 9 box. Unlike a normal ref. 9, this team has unpainted all-white socks. In addition, the hair and boots are painted black, whereas on the usual ref. 9 they are brown (however, I do own a standard ref. 9 with black hair and boots.). This is similar in some ways to the white socked version of reference 4 (Stoke City). I picked up one of these in a numbered box, and found out, after talking to other collectors, that this was a known variant. In the case of the reference 9, Sheffield United wore white socks from 1968 through to 1975, and this is likely to represent them. Whether it was requested by Sport shops in the Sheffield area, or whether it was just half-hearted team painting, I don't know!
The second team here looked more like a repaint to my eye. It could easily have been painted onto a standard ref 18. However, the owner has had this since he was a kid, and states that he didn't amend any of his teams. The box is not numbered, and the owner used it as Bayern Munich. I thought it looked familiar, and again found that the team appears on the Celtic Dream website as one of the many variants of reference 139 Lyon. French distributor Delacoste certainly made attempts to keep their club sides up-to-date kit-wise, and this could be part of that. A few years back, I was more cynical about "rare" teams, and I would have dismissed this as a probable repaint, and not put it on the website (storing it awaiting more information). With the return of updates (and having worked through the named box page), I'm letting the community see the variant sides that arrive. I'm aware that both these sides are actually quite easy to paint, so be aware of that if you see an influx of them on ebay!
Many thanks to Brian Pilling and David Spindlow for sending in these heavyweights.
The 1980 European Championship sets.
A couple of super photos of these rare lightweight team wraps have come in, showing the teams that were supplied. All are machine printed lightweights. Nice to see the machine-print of reference 317 England, which is usually a hand-painted team in this figure. The Belgium is a disappointing reference 21, rather than the lovely print of ref 151.
Big thank you to collector Domenico Guarascio, who sent in the details of this one. Both sets can be seen on Miscellaneous Items 1970s-2001
C174 The World Cup Winners Pack - more variations.....
For a short lived set, this lovely item does seem to have its fair share of variations. Website visitor Dave Sawyer was cataloguing his childhood collection and kindly sent in these pictures. His set has nice "professional" looking name stickers on the boxes, as opposed to the "dot matrix" names that are on the website (and are usual on C100 boxes). All his teams are hand-painted, so he has the lovely sky-blue variant Argentina... but he also has a hand-painted Brazil with the proper white trim on the shorts. Various Subbuteo heavyweight world cup catalogues mention this as the official Brazil kit, but I don't think I've seen a set where I am confident that SSG actually bothered to paint it.....
1998 World Cup Set - French Language Edition.
This was spotted on ebay by Nicolas Papadopoulos. Two versions of this set were known to exist, and my understanding was that the version with England as the bonus team was sold in the UK, and the version with France as the bonus team was sold across the rest of the continent. However, here is a third set (shown on the right), which is a French language version. Note that all the details on the lid are reversed, and the box photo features France in action. Unsurprisingly, the third team is still France in this set (complete with the rare white Hasbro bases). The set has been added to the International box sets page.
Lots was planned, but real life is getting in the way.... so a few extra pictures have probably snuck in where bigger updates are still in the offing....
The big update this month is new page box sets in the 21st Century which was supposed to be a big conclusion to a full boxset update that will now arrive later.... What I wanted to do was find a home for all the "collectors editions" featuring Fabbri Editori partwork teams (some are shown above), and show how they fitted into the box set bonanza of the last five years. What a lot of different sets there have been! I wonder if anyone is trying to collect them all. The page concludes with the new (same as the old) University Games sets that have been released for this Christmas (see also below). Buy them for the kids in your life..... well if you can afford them. Sheesh. FIFA 2021 is probably cheaper.....
The trouble with Colour tones (on old heavyweights and beyond).
Italian collector Alberto Orazi and others have raised this issue. Should shade/colour variations be shown on the website or are the lists confusing enough already?
Alberto has provided various images from his collection showing different colours and shades among the ohw teams. The most striking are shown above. I have faced similar when trying to match up the yellow teams of the period, and was aware of what I might call "minor" differences in tangerine and maroon, which are certainly enough to stop you substituting broken players. The dark green ref 15 I was unaware of, and admit I'd have probably had this down as a home improvement.... although you can see that the black is painted on top on Alberto's team. Subbuteo had a green they used for goalkeepers, and all the green teams I'd seen match up to this. Coincidently, I recently had an enquiry about identifying one of these dark green sides, because it doesn't look like the teams on the old heavyweights page. So a picture of it somewhere might be helpful....
In the 1960s catalogues different terms for yellow are used with gay abandon. Yellow (refs 26, 29, 35, 46 and 50), amber (refs 23 and 47), canary yellow (ref 28), gold (ref 30), old gold (ref 32) which is not, however, painted the same as the classic "old gold" on refs 6 and 49. Indeed, ref 6 is famously "old gold (or yellow) (or amber)" in the catalogues, but to my knowledge is always old gold. Many of these terms predate painted heavyweights in any event, and do not seem to tie up in real life. The darker ref 30 above is more of a "gold", I suppose, and seems the most common version. Reference 27 was originally described as Maroon, with "or Claret" added later (but still prior to the painted teams).
Whilst it is possible that Peter Adolph selected a different paint for each catalogue alternative (and it was his painters who were confused) I'd suggest he just bought whatever paints were to hand. The colour of the player (white, light flesh, dark flesh) can also affect how the paint looks, of course. Repainted sides cause more confusion - from modern ebay profiteers of course, but also from the owners of the time, who aimed to improve kits, or sometimes just touched them up after playwear. Varnishing players can change the colours over time as well....
In the 1970s the colours probably vary less. This at least helps spot the modern repaint. (i.e. the modern reds, browns and flesh colours can stick out). I think Subbuteo were generally using colours from Humbrol's "Authentic Colour" range (sadly long gone), which were designed to match specific things such as army uniforms, camouflage, or train livery. As these modelling hobbies needed accuracy, these paints kept colours true over a long period.
The site doesn't cover most of the smaller variations in much detail. Things like base colours (which can affect prices), plastic colours, and hair/boot colours are only briefly referred to, simply because I don't have the room, and think they deflect from the usable nature of the lists..... So I'm not really sure what to do with these variations. Ideas?
The "Goal" Shop Display of the 1990s.
This lovely (and huge) shop stand is something I've long wanted a picture of, having seen them in toy shops in the 1990s. Step forward Peter Winstanley, who has owned the thing since the early 2000s.
Picture all those Subbuteo goodies piled on the shelves. Imagine the 1990s teams hung from those hanging tags.... Then picture me in a small Horsham toy shop circa 1998 doing strange contortions to try and read the team names all the way to the back to see if anything weird was tucked away unsold.... (there wasn't - just more Blackburn Rovers.....). Not being able to read the team names easily was a serious flaw to this stand..... Still, a great way to display a collection I'd think. A good excuse to revisit the Shop Displays page.
The first update for this month is an enlargement of the Pro/Total Action Soccer section. This was an unplanned diversion that took place over a couple of days (it's basically more pictures than text!). I was looking at a couple of things on ebay, and before I knew where I was, I had loads more bits and pieces to add. The current Total Action Football set is a neat little five-a-side at half the price of the new Subbuteo. How does this game stay available at High Street retailers like Argos, whereas Subbuteo is much harder to locate.
Also on ebay was an unnamed Pro Action Football team from the 1990s in a distinctive blue and white kit (see above). Any idea who this was supposed to be? Is this one of the rumoured Spanish range? (Deportivo?), and does anyone have any other boxed sides from this (or any other) selection? The Premiership range of teams has now reached six. Are there more?
New Page. Squad sets P100 and the 63000 World Cup squads.
Something else I wasn't really planning, but got distracted by. Looking at the pdf of the 1985-86 Italian catalogue (on Subbuteo Club website), and I realised that the P100 International Squad had a list of available teams. I knew the P100 was in the 1982-83 catalogue - of which I have a photocopy. Did that have the list as well? Yes. Then there is a further list on Parodi's Italia 90 price list. I'm not sure the P100 International Squad is very well known in the UK. I have never seen one here, and don't remember seeing it at the time. It has a very brief mention in "box types" here on the tribute, and that needed to be corrected. So the team pages have (yet) another appendix, and the P100 teams are listed for anyone who collects them (last time I looked on ebay, there were two or three, so they do exist!). Of course, I've swapped across the 63000 World Cup squad details from the World Cup appendix as well - to make a proper squad page. We did get these in the UK, but I'm not 100% sure on the releases. So feel free to email in and correct anything that looks wrong here. Mind you, I am aware that Parodi sold off empty boxes for these teams in the early 2000s (as I bought one or two), so unlabeled boxes exist. Not really any pictures on this one, it is just a list of possible teams in these boxes. It might expand with pictures if people are interested.
Yet another Netcam/Eleven Force set.
The Champions League heroics of Italian side Atalanta have been rewarded with a new Eleven Force box set. The second team in the set are all in red. Guess we shouldn't mention Diogo Jota huh? Set added to the Netcam page. (is the new licence-holder producing these sets?). Update - perhaps Atalanta fans can recreate their Anfield visit instead....
New Community Website - Solo Subbuteo 101
With most of us in Europe getting locked down again, a new blog website looking at rules and suggestions for playing Subbuteo on your own might be just the thing.... A lovely, funny little blog so far, and very useful in the current climate. Send your thoughts and comments to the blog.
Fun with Premiership Kits 2020-21
Subbuteo collectors always get a warm glow when West Ham United go back to their reference 79 away kit (or ref 816 if you are a lightweight collector). More fun this year is Southampton's lovely Clydebank tribute. It makes me grin every time it turns up on Match of the Day (but it isn't advised to try and explain this in-joke to non-Subbuteo collectors....).
Old International Sets.
After adding all the (so many....) new International sets, here are three old sets that were not on the website. The Derby Edition (Belgium) and Inter-Clubs (France) are essentially exotically named Club Editions (and arrived in my inbox on the same day!). The Modelo "Clube" is an edition made under licence in Portugal, and so has the eccentricity of their production, with hybrid teams.
Big thanks to the following collectors:-
Cristian Giovangiacomo for the Derby Edition.
Stuart Phillips for the Inter-Clubs.
Regular box set expert Karl Warelow for the Portuguese edition.
I should also give a heads-up to an old helper Ashley Hemmings, and the Subbuteo Museum, both of who have done sterling work attempting to catalogue the international sets, when my site was mostly in hiatus.
November/December Update - Clones....
Sometimes I start what looks like a small update, and it turns into a long, hard update.... I thought the "clones" on the website were a bit of a mess, and that perhaps they needed pulling together. That won't take too long..... Actually, I'll have to return to it! Still it has given me the chance to include Mini Sports (No 1 Football) a fun little "Subbuteo flats" clone found by Spanish expert Jorge Villa. I wondered where I was going to fit that in.....
So the clones section is currently as follows:-
Some of the other important clones may well get their own pages in the future. We'll see.
Whilst updating the clones, I realised that the website name of bottle-cap game futbolchapas had not been renewed. Fear not, as Spanish site Ligafutbolchapas.com fills the gap nicely. (FUTBOLCHAPAS IS PASSION AND FUN ON THE CARPET shouts their website in translation, which gives me a giggle). If you have overindulged in bottled beer during lockdown, you can probably have a go at this game (although if not, expensive equipment is available from their store....). Actually, the store has a "Subbuteo" section, as the storage boxes, goals, timers and dinky card scoreboards all work with our usual hobby.
Bishop Auckland (or Tunbridge Wells away!!)
I had a lovely email from a Tunbridge Wells resident named Richard Larkin, who earned a little in his youth as a home painter for Subbuteo. He told me that among the locals, reference 33 was referred to as Tunbridge Wells away, due to the fact that the local team wore these colours as their second kit from the 1950s to the early 1970s. We know that Peter Adolph did attend some Tunbridge Wells matches, so how far up the chain of command the "joke" got is unknown. For the younger Subbuteo fans who have scratched their heads at Bishop Auckland's appearance as a "non-league" team in the catalogues, it needs to be pointed out that the Amateur FA Cup was a big thing in the early post war period, with the final playing to a packed Wembley, and reports in all the football annuals of the time. Bishop Auckland won the cup three years in succession, and featured in another three finals all in the 1940s-50s. Their colours are actually an amateur classic - being a combination of Cambridge (sky blue), and Oxford (navy) universities. Le Harve wear these colours for the same reason. The Tunbridge Wells home kit was disappointingly just reference one!
Richard also confirmed that Subbuteo's painters would receive a bag of about 1000 figures (nearer 1050!) to paint each week, along with the Humbrol paints, and a painted example player to copy. He mentions that the Subbuteo brushes were hopeless for the small details, and that he used his own modelling ones!
The Myth of Clyde Best (reprise...)
When I was writing the Black players in Subbuteo page, I was casting around for a repainted Clyde Best, and couldn't locate one. However, looking for website pictures on ebay this week, my eagle eye caught this player in an early reference 79. He's clearly repainted (you can see the usual flesh colour underneath), but hurrah for the kid who painted him!
Whilst on the subject of black players, I have spotted that both the "International Edition" and "Champions League Edition" sold by Paul Lamond in this country have basic "all the same" players in red and white kits, and this means no black players. So if you've bought the Champions League set hoping to reproduce Liverpool's win in 2019, and you want to field Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum, goal scorer Divock Origi, or maybe even Danny Rose and Moussa Sissoko (to name just a few), sadly you are going to have to do what that West Ham fan did fifty years ago, and get the paint brush out..... Progress????
A little thank you at this point to Gianluca Zucchelli, who emailed in with kind words about the Black players article. Gianluca is a correspondent for "Yanez Subbuteo World" an Italian social media channel about Subbuteo, sadly on all the platforms I don't use! (FB, YouTube and Instagram). If you are more up-to-date with your web dealings than me, perhaps you can take a look!
A return to the community for the Custom Flicks site which I remember from old. Some lovely unique teams are available, or you can put in a request. Stunning small details on these teams, and a nice easy to navigate site. Well worth a visit.
December Updates - UK Named teams and Portuguese production.
When I was convinced to restart updates to the website at the start of the year, I had a few ideas for updates and improvements, but generally thought I had most things covered. Brilliantly, just a couple of weeks in, Spanish collector Jorge Villa sent in his fantastic 1960s collection, and blew away the site's cobwebs. A whole different range. Wow.
Very appropriately, as we reach the end of the year, I've had two more "wow" moments in the space of a couple of weeks. First up, long-time heavyweight collector Mark Skellon got in touch to ask if he could send me some pictures of "named box" teams not on the site. I was hopeful that this might be five or six teams..... then the emails started piling in, and 25+ pictures later I was in shock.... Once I had them all in a folder, it became clear that there were not actually that many unknown teams here (although there are some nice variations), just unseen boxes. It seems strange that I have run this website for over 20 years (and collected for quite a bit longer than that), and yet I haven't seen any of these named boxes - especially when some of the teams are common ones. My own personal experience of named teams is the typed Derby County, and the well known "new" teams. I've seen pictures of big collections of heavyweights, and the typed boxes don't seem to be there either. Nobody has sent them in before. Nobody mentioned them on the old forums....
So were they hiding in plain sight? I ask this partly, because Alan Crampton's collection on Subbuteo Passion has both a labeled ref 74 Aston Villa, and a typed New Luton box! If anyone else has typed boxes, then I'd love to know. Mark has also sent in the typed named box for the South Africa cricket team, so I've added that to the Cricket Accessories.
I've tried to keep the pictures big (for this site!) and you can see all the teams on the Named box teams page. You may well be amazed too....
The second "wow" moment was down to Portuguese collector André Moura. He has been collecting the Portuguese teams for years (especially their lightweight look-a-like figure, which he calls the Royal), and owns/is aware of far more teams than I had on the site. This has allowed me to fill out the Portuguese section of the International Team Production page, and a full Portuguese production page will be added in the new year (I've recently added a box set to International box sets, so will combine the two). His full collection pictures are too big for this preview, so you'll have to visit the page to enjoy them.
If you want more from André, he has a blog, instagram and facebook. As these things are a mystery to me, I'll quote his email, and hopefully that will put visitors in the right places! His blog http://myhybridgreenbox.blogspot.com/ is entertaining, but has been superseded by the more modern stuff. "You can see both (collection and handmade stuff) on Instagram - look for the_hybrid_man, and at Facebook (My Hybrid Green Box)." Clear? Good!
These two updates are a great end to a fun year on the website. Being locked down at home for the duration (I am shielding my 91-year-old mother), the site has been a great way to relax. So a big thank you once again to Alan Lee who sorted out the technology for me, and to everybody who has written in this year, whether with information, to ask for advise, or simply to comment on the site. It has all been much appreciated. There are too many people to mention here, but every email has been a pleasure. I've felt genuinely helpful! Roll on the next year, and we'll see what other marvels of (the seemingly endless) Subbuteo production will surface for our delight.
This site is usually last with the news, but a few casual visitors may not be aware that a(nother) new Subbuteo range has been launched in the UK. At present, this consists of two box sets and a separate England team. One set has the traditional red and blue teams, whilst the other is an England special, which was going to tie into Euro 2020. The England team is available as a separate boxed side - in a box that looks suspiciously like the previous range.
The new license holders are a Hong Kong based company called Longshore, and the UK distributor is University Games (who have merged with the previous UK distributor Paul Lamond). The box sets, aimed at the Christmas toy market are priced around £40. I never get sent review copies, so a "focus on" page will have to wait until I see a cheap one frankly.... The players are a new design, that has been described as "cartoony", which doesn't seem to have gone down too well with collectors (although I daresay we'll still collect any teams that are produced, right?). Perhaps the thing that was great about Subbuteo when I was a kid, was that it looked realistic and grown-up, which is what you are striving to be as a youngster. I'm not sure a "kids" product will hold interest of players going into their teens. That said, I loved Super Striker as well, and that wasn't grown-up in the least. So what do I know? Perhaps the teens will move onto the more specialised table soccer equipment (see below).
The official Subbuteo website has been updated, and you can look at the relevant distributors and sets on there (there is a French/Belgian set and a Portuguese set).
Table Soccer News.
More new(ish) products in the table soccer community. My article on the competitive side of Table Soccer hadn't been updated for a while, and I find that the equipment is always evolving. I'd noticed in the months prior to lockdown, that when our table soccer club members played at tournaments, they would return with distinctive new teams and bases that "are becoming the norm". The teams had a very recognisable sunken inner base, and a new chunky player type, very different from the Stefan Corda figures (and its clones) which had previously been prevalent, and are shown in my article.
I've found out that this new range is called Tchaaa4, and it was designed by veteran FISTF player Daniel Scheen. Daniel is Belgian, and the range name (that looks weird in English), is apparently a phonetic spelling of a goal celebration pronounced more like "chow" in English. It amuses me that onomatopoeic words (splash, moo, woof) should cross language barriers, but don't translate as well as you would think. It makes me wonder how this website's English "comic book" usage of Arrgghhh, and sheesh, actually work in translation, but I digress.....
The Tchaaa4 range has actually been running for a few years, and has built up a range of different shaped bases for different styles of play. The actual playing figure is designed to be perfectly balanced - "front to back, and left to right". The players are available in a wide range of colours, so they can be used unpainted without clashing. This is either a colourful modern take on the serious abstract sport of table soccer (like table tennis), or it is a travesty that ruins the whole look of the game, depending on your point of view.... (Games Workshop stopped you fielding an unpainted army in their war gaming tournaments. I'm just saying.....) If, like me, you have a football kit obsession, then "paint-your-own" white players are available, as are some expensive decal teams of a very fine quality. Base decals are also produced, and look great. The range also includes many of the other useful items for the modern game such as polish, goalkeepers and handles, a measuring tool, and practise walls for shooting.
Friend of this website, the Wobbly Hobby Shop is now the official UK distributor. Hopefully this will make these products much easier to obtain in the UK. Find them on the website/ebay....
In updating The FISA and FISTF page, I realised that I had neglected to add the bases produced by another old friend of this website, Little Plastic Men, who produce the iBase and the CLR Dynamic. So I've squeezed these in too.
I feel the competitive pages do need to mention some of the other innovative table soccer products out their, such as Extreme Works pitches, and professional goals etc. These things really do make a difference to how the game plays. If your company is making or importing table soccer stuff, let me know, and I'll pass on the details here. Can't say fairer than that.
This website's technology sponsor, Alan Lee, has not been wasting his lockdown either. He has been updating the website for the English Subbuteo Association. The aim is to make this long established national association the central point for all Subbuteo and table soccer activity in the country. The noble aim is to bring everyone who loves the game together whether they play modern rules with sliding players, or old school rules with heavyweights or flats - or anything in between. As we are a minority hobby, this needs to include the collectors as well.
Obviously it isn't great timing, as we are all still in lockdown, but I would suggest that any collectors who don't play the game seek out their nearest club, and go along for some matches. I really cannot recommend this highly enough. I am aware that I am the biggest nerd going, and I am happy to sit in my bedroom surrounded by hoarded stuff. However, my local club coaxed me out of my shell about fifteen years ago, and I have to say that I haven't regretted a single moment of it. I've gone from being completely hopeless at playing to... well some level of mild competence.... We've played in extensions, and a tiny flat, and now a (tiny) sweet shop. But all our members past and present have been lovely, and I've found tournaments to be very welcoming too. Most of our new members get up to my standard in a few short weeks (!!) so don't let fear of being outclassed put you off....
Now the lockdown is easing, there are a number of events getting arranged, and new clubs opening their doors. The English Subbuteo Assn website is the place to see if there is anything happening close to you. Take a look....
Bits and pieces for general amusement.
The Cake Decorations....
Collectors who've met me at swapmeets over the last few years might have a couple of these on their shelves (or more likely in a box of tat at the back of a cupboard). I've owned a couple of these guys since I was a child, and they came in a bunch of second-hand football figures, which included both Subbuteo and 4-2-4 (without bases). As I had lots of different Subbuteo figures at the time, I wondered whether these were from Subbuteo or some other rival game, and wondered what bases they might fit.
I've never found an answer, and nowadays I think they are just unofficial birthday cake decorations. As a child I only had a couple, but I acquired a big bag from one of my many car boot sale attending friends (hello Roy, if you are reading this). Because it was a really big bag, I've been giving them away ever since.....
I used to think that my green ones were Ireland, to go with Scotland and Wales. It seems more likely that they are goalkeepers.... What is interesting of course, is that the painters used exactly the same colours as Subbuteo did. Okay, these were probably the available Humbrol colours of the vintage, but they still look great. Note that I have a very few claret players among the red.
I acquired this ref 19 Barcelona a while back, and was pleased to find it was a two stripe version, so it actually looks like a classic Barcelona kit, as seen in lw ref 472. Not sure whether to count this as an alternative version though, as it could just be a rubbish painter, who painted big thick stripes. I say this because one player has a third stripe, and one player has no stripes at all on the back. Bodge, bodge.....
Sometimes common teams just don't match.....
Paul Woodhouse at the Worthing Five-Star club recently acquired a couple of West Ham players on navy outers, which he didn't need. "I've got a few of those", says I. "Perhaps, I'll make up a team." Apart from the fact that my players are on flesh plastic and the new ones are on white. Oh, and we have round collars and v-necked. Oh, and I also own a white player on a navy outer, and a white inner. Late production stuff did start to get a bit random.
I'm having the same fun with Liverpool players. All-red base, and white plastic player is the norm. I have a nine-man flesh plastic team waiting for a spare... but when these did turn up, they were in white outers. More loose players in white outers, but in white plastic, and with black hair/boots turned up next. Finally, a single player in red outer and white inner, again with black hair/boots. All with the horrible late glue that does not allow any discrete base swapping, even if I felt so inclined.....
I was thinking of producing a page looking at the ten most common heavyweights - so beginners might learn which teams should be affordable - along with a list of weird varieties, and annoying non-matching stuff to look out for. However, it really comes down to base variations for Brazil, and the above mix-ups. Most of the other sides are a bit more straightforward. Unless visitors know better?
Mystery Kit. Fake or Fortune?
Alan Lee provided this weird old heavyweight on gold and blue bases, and I admit we've puzzled over it. Collectors who have met me with their "rare" treasures know I am a cynical "angel of death". It's a repaint.... But, these things are getting harder to decide on. It's the elephant in the room for collectors. "You paid how much?". I've always resisted having "how to spot a fake" articles, because it soon becomes, "how to produce a better fake". What to do? (see the rest of my article on this side on the Team odds and ends page).
Talking of nice base combinations -
A Little Bit of Claret.....
Rober Fender sent this team in for comment (many thanks), and mentioned also having seen ref 49 on this weird base combination. I first saw a ref 77 on this base at a toy fair, maybe 15 years ago. Probably should have bought it! I've seen a couple since, so I'd suggest that a batch were glued up when the worker had run out of orange.... Claret on inappropriate teams always looks great. I own a Uruguay with claret/black base like this 77, and a Celtic on claret/white. I did have a Chelsea on claret outers briefly, but passed it on. Mind you, I have five Chelsea on purple outers, and that looks even better.....
Moments in time (a series) (No 2).
The Nearly-Men - The Major Indoor Soccer League 1981-82.
|Eastern Division||Ref No||Western Division||Ref No|
|Baltimore Blast||592||Denver Avalanche||591|
|Buffalo Stallions||584||Kansas City Comets||586|
|Cleveland Force||589||Memphis Americans||588|
|New Jersey Rockets||582||Phoenix Inferno||587|
|New York Arrows||581||St Louis Steamers||580|
|Philadelphia Fever||583||Wichita Wings||585|
Subbuteo's North American distributors, Jokari, advertised this league as "coming soon" in 1984. It never arrived. At that point, the team reference numbers had been allocated (580-592), but the teams were already out of date, and the American soccer boom of the 1970s was spluttering to a sad end (1984 was the last year of the North American Soccer League).
These teams would have given players a good reason to own Subbuteo's Indoor Edition. Of course, this Indoor League is not the full eleven-a-side game, so we have to question whether full teams would have been appropriate, or whether the need to produce smaller teams (and thus a different box) is what scuppered the range.
We know which year Jokari had looked at for team details, because American soccer leagues seem to have an ever changing line-up of franchises, and 1981-82 was the only year that New Jersey Rockets took part.
So what would these teams have looked like? Pleasingly, there is a great archive of MISL teams and pictures at one of my favourite websites - NASL Jerseys. There are a few too many teams using the American Flag as inspiration (blue kits with red and white trim abound), but also quite a few quirky things from the era of Admiral kit excesses.
Sadly, by this point, most Subbuteo teams would have been designed as machine prints, and it is obviously impossible to reproduce that style of team by hand. For instance, Wichita Wings wore an orange shirt with a blue pin-stripe. Before that though, they wore a great Admiral "Tramlines" kit in orange, blue and yellow.
For the painters among us, stuck indoors for some reason or other.... this is a fun project. With the added bonus that you don't have to paint a whole eleven-a-side team to play!
Shown above are some of my own renditions of the relevant teams. Can you do better? (Undoubtedly!).
From left to right - New York Arrows, Kansas City Comets, St Louis Steamers, and Baltimore Blast.
See also the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. My kind of old school website. Old PC/dial-up friendly. No pictures, no thrills, just loads of wonderful football league tables and cup results.
That's about it for this update. Many thanks to everyone who sent in stuff during my online absence. Too many people to name. I read many of the e-mails using online readers at friend's houses. My server kept deleting the emails though, so I don't have details or pictures. Feel free to send things in again if it isn't too much hassle.
If the pictures on this page look rubbish, my monitor is interlacing colours. I can't tell what they look like!