Subbuteo Tribute Website.
The Boxed Editions
Page 4: British Editions 1990-2009
The full text listing of Subbuteo football accessories.
The Team Colours Project (Ongoing illustrated team lists).
Subbuteo boxed Editions: Sets 1947-69, 1970-80, 1980-89, 1990-2003 (this page)
International editions, and Five-a-side and junior versions
Subbuteo's other Sporting box sets:- Cricket, Rugby, and the one-off editions
Here is the final ten years or so of Subbuteo production, plus links to the sets produced in the 21st century.
This era sees official World Cup boxsets, but these did not always appear in the catalogues. The Italia '90 catalogue showed the standard version of 60240, and the 1993 poster showed the correct USA '94 contents, but the box was just a standard one with a USA 94 sticker on it.
1990-1995 The final Waddingtons
The 1990s started with three re-boxed editions from the earlier range - Club, World Cup, and Grandstand. However, the sets were now designed to be sold worldwide, and so no longer had no names on the front of the box. The modular construction of the box interiors of these sets allowed "exclusive editions" at certain retailers, with an added team, or a free set of referees etc.
Basically, this was the club edition with standard goals (61148) and small flags (61188). The goals usually had big red nets that don't fit too well.
A floodlighting Edition featuring the new Greek pillar style floodlights. This set did not feature in a catalogue until 1995, but the new floodlights were released in 1991, and the polystyrene interior suggests that sets were produced at that time. A couple of different box lids were produced. The set illustrated here featuring Gary Lineker seems to be the earliest version.
Super World Cup
|On the previous page, we saw the World Cup 1986 set
being issued with a 1990 sticker on the front, but this was the first proper
World Cup set for Italia 1990, with a new catalogue number to match.
As shown bottom left in the pictures above, the box looks very similar to the
1986 version, with the same photograph, but with a large Italia '90 banner along
the bottom of the lid. The insert was still the '86 one too, so it had squads of
sixteen players (including spare kicking goalkeepers). However, the set also benefited
from the inclusion of the proper
Italia 90 balls (61220) and goals (61219). The set has been seen with
Argentina (ref 457, holders), and Italy (ref 415, hosts), as the two teams,
however, the set I picked up recently in the UK has Italy and England as the two
teams, and indeed, these are the two teams shown in the illustration on the
front of the box.|
This set featured in the Italian catalogues
of 1990-92 alongside the standard 60240, with the sets called "World Cup" and
"Super World Cup". The teams shown here were Argentina and Italy.
Mid way through the life
of the Italia 90 range, SSG went through one of their customary box changes.
All the Italia 90 accessories switched from the 1980s style of box to the
Woolworths FA Cup set:
This was a special version of the standard club edition, sold as an exclusive with high street retailer Woolworths in 1991-92. The box featured the teams from the FA Cup final of 1991, and these two sides were also the ones included in the set; Spurs (740) and Nottingham Forest (685). There were also two added bonuses for the purchaser. The first was a free set of referee and linesmen included in the box, and the second was a mail-away offer to purchase a set of the new floodlights for £10.99 instead of the RRP of £15.99
Waddingtons sets 1993-1995
This is where the really interesting special sets start. The first set to break away from the usual green boxes was the USA '94 set. In principle, it was the same set as 60240, which had been introduced for the 1990 World Cup, but stayed in the range as a useful mid-ranged set. However, the key difference isn't the box. The USA 94 set uses the new USA '94 accessories - so the goals have red, white and blue nets, and the balls have the USA 94 logo. It doesn't sound much, but it makes all the difference. Normally, once you'd bought a Subbuteo box set, you didn't need to buy another. But this was the first set designed to attract even those who were already playing.
The trick was repeated with the Euro 96 set. Subbuteo had only issued a set for the European Championships once before (in 1984) but the fact that this year's tournament was set in England was too good a chance to miss. Perhaps they had also been pleased with the way the USA 94 set and accessories had sold (even though England had not even qualified for that one. Boo.). The Euro '96 set was essentially the same set once again, but with the Euro 96 accessories (no really?). However, in addition, the scoreboard was a different colour for the first time (a shocking blue) and the name tags were exclusive to the tournament - with the names of teams and venues printed in several languages on colourful card.
As well as their Euro 96 marketing agreement, Waddingtons also negotiated a deal with the Premier League to produce official products. This lead to a range of teams, a box of accessories, and of course, a box set. This was basically just a combination of standard club edition plus the Premiership accessory pack, and it's perhaps disappointing that the teams features were just the standard red and blue. A nice touch were the Premiership logos on the pitch, and this item was never sold separately.
Away from the glamorous specials, the standard green sets kept on as ever. The "club" edition (60140) gained a new "Leeds vs. Sampdoria" box in 1993, and the old "World Cup" set (60240) gained a new "Brazil vs. Sweden" lid for 1992-1993 (before being replaced by the USA 94 set as already mentioned). The Floodlighting set (60150) made its only catalogue appearance in 1995, and only the "Grandstand" set (60250) kept the same box throughout its run (1990-95)
A Club Edition. Had a different box lid (see the Hasbro range below for an illustration), and a swap from polystyrene innards to dark green plastic, but no change to the contents. The plastic is much weaker than the polystyrene, and tends to make the sets difficult to get in and out the box.
A re-box for this "world cup" set. The teams on the lid are Brazil and Sweden, and there is some suggestion that this change was produced for the European Championships in Sweden in 1992. Indeed, the set has been seen with Sweden (ref 316) as one of the teams. The illustration above shows the set with a USA 94 sticker on it - providing a link to the next World Cup, but the set was usually sold without this, and indeed an official USA 94 boxed version of the set was sold (see below),
Grandstand Edition. The box and set remained the same as the 1990-1992 version.
|Like the USA set, this was |
Premiership Set - 60270:
This set had the same illustration as the final Waddingtons set, but the lid no longer lifted up. The interior was an all-in-one moulded black plastic affair. The set featured the new style Hasbro goals (the same goals they used in sets of rival game Total Action Football). The teams were on Hasbro bases. Again, the moulded plastic inner is weak and horrible, and sliding it in and out the box is a nightmare.
version of the 60270 set. This set had been enlarged by adding a scoreboard,
and now had Hasbro based teams of course. Also
was the second version of this set. I think the exterior was the same, but it
had a completely different moulded interior in black. The teams were still the big badged
England (ref 719) plus a standard red/white team, but now these were on Hasbro
bases. Although it doesn't seem to be advertised the set also features the Euro
96 flags, which were not in the original Waddingtons set.
Hasbro Small Box Range 1997-1998
Subbuteo editions often had boxes much bigger than they needed to be. The Euro 96 and Premiership boxes were huge, but easily crushable. However from 1997, the boxes were redesigned to a more convenient size. These sets had small, deep boxes and lift off lids, making them much more sturdy. The deep boxes still had plastic insides, and these featured a large central area into which Hasbro could pack the bags of self-assembly items - players, goals, fence etc. Around the edge of this space were places to stand the teams (base down, so they took up less space). This worked quite well, and with the exception of the club edition, the boxes were deep enough to protect the goals once assembled (a problem that plagued all the self-assembly sets up to this point).
I think this was the final incarnation of the club edition, and it appeared in 1997. Fitted into the new compact box, the set had the final Hasbro goals (see the Man Utd illustration for details), but the line flags had been dropped from the set. The balls should be the standard green logo ones, but my set had blue Umbro Elite balls instead. More interesting in my version was the pitch, which was a cotton throw-back to the 1970s. It's thinner than a 1970s pitch and the edges are wonky, but it is a smoother surface than the usual Hasbro pitch, and an improvement. Sadly, these pitches rarely appear in any of the other sets of the era.
other extras were a new design of corner kicker and throw-in figure, and a pair of white Tango balls.
The new kicker and thrower were exclusive to this set, and like the above
referees, are shown
on theaccessory list.
They may have all but missed Christmas 2000, but the new Hasbro range did finally arrive in 2001. Available exclusively through Toys-R-Us, the hope was that these sets would get another generation of children recreating cup finals, and dreaming of one day owning a whole stadium. However, they didn't seem to be advertised and just faded away. Hopefully lots of Dads did seek them out.
Premier League Edition:
This was identical to the previous Premiership set, with the new style referee and linesmen. In fact, my local Toys-R-Us continued to sell the version with the older box lid with the new range, making me wonder if the 2000/01 box lid had ever been mass produced. This question was answered by the arrival of the 2000/01 boxed sets in Hove in mid 2003. That raised a chuckle :-)
Man Utd Edition 2000/2001
Again, this was an edition taken from the previous range, but it was at least updated with new Man Utd kits. I know you can't believe Man Utd would have changed kits. Mind you, the away kit in this set have strange green shirts with thin white hoops, and black shorts. Nice, but surely it should have been navy. That might make the thing collectable! The sets were originally £29.99 but were reduced to half price once it wasn't 2000/01 anymore.
The most exciting part of Hasbro's re-launch was the announcement of a new Grandstand Edition. And here it is. It contains three teams (blue/white, red/white and yellow/white), the old faithful fence and scoreboard as well as the grandstand, of course. This was produced in new colours - red tiers, with white side panels and roof and also includes a cardboard sheet of supporters.
The Parodi Edition 2003.
Not officially released in the UK, it could be argued that this set was in fact, an international box set. It doesn't matter all that much, because it has a page all to itself anyway. Just follow the link on the above heading.
The Hasbro Photo-Real Edition 2005-07.
This was Hasbro's attempt to bring the game into the 21st Century, with collectable flat figures featuring real players from top European sides. Like the Parodi edition, this set has its own page, showing more details. There were actually two versions of the set. The original "new" version is shown above. The second edition removed the word "new" from the lid, and coincided with the second season of player cards. That meant that the badges of the two extra teams (Roma and Benfica) were added to the box lid, and the new set of cards were the ones included in the box.
The Marks & Spencer Edition 2009
A lovely retro-designed release, this was essentially a standard lightweight club edition in a fancy box. It was a little more complicated than that though, and is another set with its own page. Just follow the heading link once more.
That brings you up to date with the editions. You can now visit the international box sets, the five-a-side page, or look at something else.
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