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Peter Upton's

Subbuteo Tribute Website.

Miscellaneous Items

Page 3 - Promotional and Unofficial Stuff.

Subbuteo Promotional Items.

A Subbuteo Freebie.

This is the Subbuteo Ken Baily mascot figure usually found in C114. However, according to this item's blurb on ebay, he was given away free as a marketing device to people who were going to see this England vs Portugal Match at Wembley in 1969. 

Munich Souvenir Programme and Medal - June 1974

 

The Munich World Series was obviously a huge event in Subbuteo history, which was celebrated in the huge Munich box set, and the lyrics to the Subbuteo World Cup song. Illustrated are the souvenir programme of the event and a medal. The latter has the falcon crest and "World Championship Munich 1974" embossed on the back. This was possibly a commemorative medal, rather than something a player might have won. Why? Because this particular one belonged to a chap named Derek Hitchcock, a talented player in the 1970s, who was given it as a memento for refereeing a couple of games in the Subbuteo Home Internationals around 1974-75. Rather a nice souvenir I thought, even if it was a bit inappropriate to the event he attended!

Cross selling of Products.

The marketing man's dream. Using one successful product to sell another one.

Roy of the Rovers.

   

Roy of the Rovers was a children's comic where all the strips had a football theme. Chief among these was the story of Roy Race himself, who played for a team called Melchester Rovers. This successful strip had started in Tiger magazine in the 1950s, but gained its own magazine in the 1970s. The 1970s comic also featured a strip with a Subbuteo playing boy, entitled "Mike's Mini-men". Mike played with a Subbuteo team in the Melchester strip, with a Roy Race figure playing up front. In a case of life imitating art, Subbuteo released a Melchester kit on three occasions. The first two were only advertised through the comic circa 1980-81 and 1984. The first of these was Melchester's classic 1970s kit (red with one yellow vertical stripe). I'm sure I remember this being advertised with a heavyweight figure in the comic, but the most common version is the lightweight shown above. The kit was sold in the 1980 box style (i.e. the box where one player shows through a window). The box was named, but not numbered.

The 1984 version was solely a machine printed lightweight, and wore the "Gola" strip Rovers switched to at that time. In the comic, the middle hoop featured a Gola advert, but this was not reproduced on the toy. This set did not appear in the catalogues of the time (being sold only through the comic), but it was given a number in the range, 568. This version featured a blond Roy, which I'm sure is the only blond Subbuteo figure produced.

The third kit produced was sold under number 806 on the colour charts and was produced in 1994. This featured on the poster for that year and sees Rovers in red and yellow stripes. This coincided with a re-launched Roy of the Rovers magazine which featured the adventures of Roy's son (Roy Jnr. luckily enough). There was also a "Delroy of the Rovers" playing for Melchester at that time. Heroic!

The Farm team.

This team was produced as a promotional item for the pop group "The Farm" in the early 1990s. It came in the standard team box of the era, with simply "The Farm" on the label with no reference number or other details. It may well have been another mail-away offer in Roy of the Rovers magazine. The kit is the one used for the French national team at that time (ref 733) with the blue replaced by green. They were available as a magazine mail-away.

 Tango Barmy team.

  

A marketing campaign with Tango soft drinks, these players on Hasbro bases were produced in the late 1990s. This set was available as both single players, and as a set. The single players were part of a competition, and I assume they were given away with Tango drinks. The full Barmy Army team was another magazine mail-away, but were also given out at promotional events.

Gola Teams.

    

Gola are a famous old English brand of football boots and sportswear. The 568 version of Melchester Rovers (shown above) was actually a Gola kit, and in the Roy of the Rovers comic of that time the yellow hoop had the Gola logo on it. This wasn't reproduced on the Subbuteo version, but  two promotional Subbuteo "Gola" teams have been produced - a green version (as illustrated) and a red version. Gola is written across the belly of the figure - it's a bit low for a chest advert. Thanks to Fillipo who scanned the green player for me, and Cristian Perucci for the picture of his red Gola team.

These teams were actually the prototypes produced for a proposed Gola Soccer Sixes (six a side) set from the late 1980s, which was sadly never put into production. Instead, like many quirky Subbuteo teams, the players were used up in standard club editions.

Renault Trucks - AC Milan Team.

     

With this promotional link-up, it wasn't the team that was special, it was the box. The team was a standard late version reference 57 AC milan (white socks and gate pattern stripes). The box however had a Renault trucks sleeve, and the name and logo were even printed on the polystyrene inner. As with the Tango team, I'm not really sure how these sides were distributed. Did you have to buy a truck?

Budweiser Bar Football kits.

These sets were produced for a 2002 World Cup promotion, and were designed  to be used in pubs during the aforementioned competition. Each pack consisted of a rather nice half sized pitch, one goal, one "Budweiser" branded ball, and a six a side team in a Budweiser kit - in either red or blue. So with two packs you could have a game. 

Lledo Vehicles.

   

You can't pick up a packet of biscuits in Safeway without finding an offer for a vintage van advertising the product (for only six tokens and 3.99). However, these things are very attractive and popular, and toy fairs tend to be full of them. Lledo, who are one of the biggest producers of this kind of vehicles, seem to have done a few Subbuteo tie-ins. The van illustrated on the left just advertises the product, while the other two were produced for special events - the World Cup in 1990 and a Subbuteo event in Chicago in 1996. What I want now is an OO scale team bus.

Royal Doulton Figures.

   

Now this was a strange match-up. In 2004, Royal Doulton and Hasbro teamed up to produce these large, limited edition porcelain figures. They were modelled by Martyn Alcock, and issued in a limited edition of 500. I believe that there were twelve different kits produced, and if you bought all of them (good luck - they were 80 a pop), then you received an even more limited edition Brazil Statue. The figures were surprisingly big, and pretty heavy. The retro-designed box was a lovely touch though.

Smirnoff Subbuteo Shoot Out Set.

This one was much more representative of Hasbro licensed products in the 2000s, than the Royal Doulton link up (although thankfully cheaper). Produced by Beams UK Ltd, the Subbuteo link was tenuous to say the least. Seen in Sainsburys in the Christmas period of 2004-05, this set contained two miniature bottles of Vodka, and three shot glasses with a rough Subbuteo silhouette design. The bottles were too big to be used in the Subbuteo Chairman's drinks cabinet, but too small to be an effective Subbuteo drinking game (take a shot every time your opponent does/every time the referee says change etc)*

*Not recommended at FISTF tournaments.

The Subbuteo Slot machine.

Wow, drinking and gambling on one page. Another Hasbro licensing classic, this is the Subbuteo fruit machine. You think I'm bored, and making stuff up now don't you? I don't suppose many Subbuteo collectors can boast one of these. If you see one in a pub, check there's not a Subbuteo collector outside in a JCB...

Professional Quartz Timer.

 

I'm not sure whether this is an official item or not. It is a cheap looking timer, in a cheap looking box. The box makes no mention of a Subbuteo (or indeed football) connection, but the logo looks fairly familiar.... Mind you, no registered trade-mark.

Unofficial Items

Panno Verde Subbuteo. Io, Beverini...

 

"Green cloth. Subbuteo - I Beverini..." This oddly named book (perhaps it's lost something in translation) was written by Stefano Beverini, a talented Italian player of the 1970s, and was published in Italy in May 1980. It is divided into two sections. The first part describes Beverini's life as a Subbuteo tournament player, while the second part is his manual on how to play the game. I imagine the book is a great read for those of you who can tackle Italian. The pictures above show the front cover of the book, and one of the internal illustrations - here Beverini is getting a cup for being Italian Subbuteo Champion of 1975-76 (I think!)

1950's Metal Goalkeepers.

   

A major problem with the flat players of the 1950's is that the goalkeepers are not very sturdy, and once their ankles have bent they are next to useless. I bought these metal 'keepers from a gentleman who played Subbuteo in the 1950s. He was sure they were a real Subbuteo item (he purchased them with a pair of deluxe metal goals also in the above pictures). However, nobody else seems to have heard of them, and I can't see where they would fit into the range, so here they are in the unofficial stuff. They are heavy lead figures, and you certainly can't throw them around the goal to make saves. However, they are a big target, and the widely spaced legs catch a 1950s football very nicely. They are a wonderful item and deserve a place on the website as some type of old tabletop football accessory. They are probably from a blow football game, or alternatively from a tiddly-winks style game called "Shoot".

Streakers.

Produced using figures from an old German railway manufacturer, and some specialized table football bases, these were Tom Taylor's headline grabbing Streakers (available from his website tablesoccer.co.uk). Tom showed them to a  journalist who had asked about Subbuteo streakers as a joke (I think the journalist was supposed to be doing a serious piece on an upcoming event in Birmingham). Anyway, the story made the front page of the Birmingham Post, and spread far and wide across TVs and radio - even as far as South Africa. Best quotes came from a lovely BBC article which said "...the streakers... are unlikely to be sanctioned by Subbuteo's governing body" and my favourite, "Marketing experts dismissed the move as a publicity stunt, an accusation denied by Hasbro". Oh, if only Hasbro had enough interest in the game to stage a few publicity stunts. Did Hasbro even cash in on all that free publicity and interest in their game that Tom's inadvertent fame provided?

Even if Hasbro never managed to cash in on the fun of the Subbuteo streaker stories, at least Tom Taylor did. The interest prompted a second edition of the set, featuring new castings. The new version was sold in both a male and female version, with a police officer of the appropriate sex to pursue the rogue fan. Amusingly, the set also had a lovely set of rules, which actually do work in play. The basic idea is that "table soccer" has no added time, so wasting time with a Streaker has some value! The defending player flicks the streaker, and the attacker gets to flick the police officer in an attempt to intercept him/her. As well as wasting time, the streaker can also save a player if his spare goalkeeper is stuck outfield. Not only that, but as these figures are on professional sureshot bases, you could use one as a spare goalkeeper if you find yours is clashing with the opponents team. (if you don't mind odd looks from your opponent).

The continued success of the streaker sets led to even more "special" sets being produced, to represent famous streaks from history. My favourite includes a policemen holding his helmet out to cover the streaker's private parts.

Greek Eggs.

This illustration was sent some time ago, and I've only just rediscovered it. These were small chocolate Easter Eggs in the colours of famous Greek teams. Inside each was a player in the appropriate kit, on a very familiar style of base. Sadly, they are not to scale, but still....

Socks.

I saw these on e-bay, and they are not an official Subbuteo item of course. But where else would they get the idea of putting a semi-circular base onto a footballer...

Official Socks....

An official pack of Subbuteo socks was produced by Tesco (for Father's Day I think) in 2010. The pack contained five pairs of socks each with a different design. Most were just Subbuteo logos, but one pair did have a nice image of a diving heavyweight goalkeeper.

Do you have any weird and wonderful Subbuteo items that could grace this page? If so, then please feel free to e-mail the information to me. 

Also, don't forget to check out the games featuring figures from old Subbuteo moulds - Zugo, and Wicketz.


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