Subbuteo Tribute Website.
The Boxed Editions
Page 2: British Editions 1970-1980
The Team Colours Project (Ongoing illustrated team lists).
The range of Continental sets from the 1960s carried over to the 1970s, but with a slightly revamped look. The obvious difference was the picture on the front of the box, which had a similar action shot but was drawn with more realistic figures.
The interior of the sets initially remained identical to the 1960s sets, and the bigger sets still featured the red floodlights. However, these were soon replaced by the white floodlights, which first appeared in 1971/72. These new sets also saw the arrival of the C117 flags, in their familiar square orange version.
The box lids also saw a couple of changes over time. On the early sets, the address for Subbuteo Sports Games was simply Langton Green, Kent. Later this was revised to Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England. On early club editions, the sides of the Langton Green box had "Subbuteo Table Soccer Club Edition" in big print. On the later boxes this wording had been reduced in size to allow for four other languages (French, German, Dutch and Italian). Subbuteo really had gone Continental.
Same contents as 1960s version, two teams, two balls, two goals and an instruction book.
Like the 1960s sets, the players in these editionswere usually those with their feet moulded to their bases. See the Player Types page if you are unsure of what these players look like. I don't know why these figures were used. I suppose it was cost, or ease of assembly, or ease of painting or a combination of these things. It was pot luck which type of moulded players you got, although the "winged shorts" version seems to be the most common in this style of set, with the "walkers" being more common in the 1960s.
You can probably see in the interior pictures above that extra card supports were added to the bigger sets. It is worth noting that the floodlight supports only held an unassembled floodlight. Once these had been assembled, they no longer fitted the support. As it was a pain to take the floodlights apart, the card support was often discarded.
International Edition Variation.
Here is a very odd interior tray variation spotted by box set expert Karl Warelow. His 1970 version of the International Edition (red floodlights), has a completely different arrangement for the "additional content" inner tray. This was clearly produced to incorporate a team with the new green plastic goalkeeper rod, and shifts the position of all the accessories except the TV tower. The team looks neat, but it is not a satisfactory arrangement for the other items, especially the poor cameramen/manager/trainer set, which is scattered horribly. For perhaps this reason, this interior does not seem to be much used. Later sets return to the more common metal keeper set-up (such as Karl's 1973 set, shown here for comparison).
The 1970/1974 World Cup Editions.
A World Cup Edition was first produced for the 1970 World Cup, and this was the first set to have two tiers. The box lid was the same size as the Floodlighting set, but the box was deeper allowing for a bigger range of accessories to be included.
|World Cup (1970b)||This update still had "new" on the box, but had the 1970s accessories. So the fence surround and half-time scoreboard were green, and the floodlights were white (from 1971-72)|
|This later version was basically, the same set as the World Cup 1970b version, but with further modern touches. The new "World Cup" goals with red and blue netting (C130) were introduced in 1972-73 and were an obvious addition to the World Cup set. I believe this was also the first full edition to feature teams with plastic goalkeeper rods, although these were introduced back at the beginning of the 1970s in team sets.|
Here's another quirky bit of set packing from Karl Warelow. His 1974 World Cup set has spaces added for goalkeepers with plastic rods.... but the old spaces for the old 'keepers still exist. The holes have been filled with a spare player for each team (England, West Germany, and Holland).
The Munich World Series 1973-76.
The Original Stadium Edition 1977-78
Caught between the old boxed range and the new was this original Stadium Edition. This monstrous set was the first to have three tiers, but was slightly narrower than the International Set. Note that the floodlights cannot fit into the box as they usually did. Obviously designed to show off the new grandstand, it replaced the Munich Edition as the top of the range set.
April 2020: Resident box-set expert Karl Warelow has spotted that the Stadium edition was produced in both red and green outer boxes. The red one is in most of the Subbuteo brochures, so I'm assuming that is the earlier one?
Here is where I came in. My first set was the club edition shown below. These sets were initially produced with card interiors (mine was one of these), but the later ones had the polystyrene trays also used in the 1981 range.
help to keep the contents in fantastic condition - but of course, you
could not fill your box with extra teams and accessories like I did.
There is some cross-over between these sets and the earlier ones. The 1977 catalogue showed the new Display and Club Editions, but the old Floodlighting and World Cup set. The 1977-78 box set flyer showed the new World Cup lid but it is on the old set.
Shown above are two slightly more unusual items from this vintage. On the left is an International Edition with the new lid. This set was dropped in 1977, and this lid does not feature in any catalogue that I've seen. The deletion of this set saw the end of the long box size. Instead the bigger sets added tiers to the floodlighting set. So the Stadium Edition remained at three tiers but the box changed to the standard shape.
The picture on the right shows the first polystyrene insert for the 1978 World Cup set, which still featured the old brown scoreboard. The lid of this set advertised "new floodlights". These looked similar, but had a new battery box with proper connections and switch.
These sets also saw the end of both metal goalkeeper rods, and moulded players. Heavyweights can be found in these sets, but the most common figure is the zombie.
Two teams, two goals, two balls... same as always.
As with the club edition, this was the same old reliable mid-range set.
The new box as shown
above arrived in 1978. This was not as big as its
predecessor, mainly because several items from that set had dropped from the
accessory range. It had the contents of the Floodlighting Edition, plus an extra
team, photographers (C104), refs and linesmen (C107), TV Tower (C110), fence
surround (C108), Jules Rimet trophy (C119), and the brown scoreboard (C115).
|World Cup (1978b)||The
second version of this set was produced with a new polystyrene insert, to
accommodate the new black scoreboard (C158).
The Floodlights are advertised as "new" on the box, and feature proper battery
boxes with switches. The third team in this set is usually Argentina ref 67 in
This is the more common 1978 set, and these inserts continued into the 1980s, becoming the new "International" edition in 1982. They still didn't amend the tray contents list on the box though.
This is the second version of the Stadium Edition, and simply added a polystyrene tier to the World Cup Edition shown above. This third tier featured the grandstand itself with five spectators (C140), ball boys (C134), new trainer's bench set (C139), policemen set (C113), corner kick (C131) and throw-in figures (C132) for each of the three teams, and three more balls. Again, the third team was often Argentina (ref 67) so the third corner kicker and throw-in figure were usually in the colours of Argentina.
That's about it for the 1970s. The International Editions page shows some alternative sets from this era, or you can carry on to the 1980s.
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