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Peter Upton's

Subbuteo Tribute Page.

The Boxed Editions

Page 5: International Sets and Boxes.

Subbuteo has been exported all over the world, and is played wherever real football is enjoyed. Most of the Subbuteo that found its way overseas seems to be identical to that found in Britain. Okay, so there were different teams produced for different markets, but the boxes tended to be the same.

However, access to ebay and contact with overseas fans has allowed me to assemble this page of box sets produced exclusively for international markets, and not advertised in Britain. I expect there are more sets out there, so if anyone has a different set to show off, then please feel free to mail in a picture.

December 2012: The page was getting confusing, so I've rearranged it into alphabetical order of countries.
August 2015: Check out Franco Esposito's website www.thesubbuteomuseum.com for much more details and pictures of international sets.

Australia.

Late 1970s - Murfett Pty. Ltd.

This first club edition is the standard late 1970s set, but with the logo of Australian toy company - Murfett Pty Ltd printed on the box. Interestingly, the set stated that it was "manufactured and distributed in Australia". How much stuff was really manufactured outside the UK though? Of the two Murfett sets purchased in Melbourne by contributor Paul Hindmarsh, one had heavyweights in red and blue, whilst the other had a blue heavyweight, but a red zombie. Both sets had polystyrene inserts.

I have also seen the late 1970s Subbuteo rules/handbook issued by Murfett, who, according to the leaflet, had offices across Australia at the time. The back page of this rulebook was given over to a list of other Waddingtons games also sold by Murfett including Scrabble, Cluedo, Dracula, Totopoly, and Black Box (a game notable for being advertised on Subbuteo fencing in the late 1970s!)

     

Early 1980s - Crown & Andrews Pty. Ltd.

A standard club edition - but with details of a different Australian distributor added to the box, and instructions. This arrangement seems similar to that used by Jokari who distributed in America. This also suggests that Subbuteo did arrive in Australia in some quantities, rather than just being taken over there by English emigrants/visitors. Worth noting here is the fact that the box repeats the words "Table Soccer" where an English version would say "Club Edition". This suggests that there was only one edition to choose from in Australia.


Belgium - Football de Table/Tafel Voetbal.

      

Subbuteo was introduced to Belgium by Peter Adolph as early as 1949. The original Belgian organiser was George Samson, who went on to become managing director of Subbuteo Sports Games Ltd in the early 1970s. The two box sets shown above are from the earliest days of Belgian Subbuteo. The set on the left, with no logo on the lid, and card cut-out figures, is likely to be as early as 1948-49. One of the cut-out teams in this set was reference 14, which represented Belgium. The second set had press-out teams in the standard colours, and dates to around 1950. Perhaps the most interesting thing about these sets is the deep boxes, which allow the goals to be stored when assembled. British Assembly Editions did not receive these deeper boxes until much later on.

 

Although the lid design of this Belgian set looks like it came straight from the 1950s, the paperwork supplied with it came from the early 1970s, and featured pictures from the original Subbuteo World Cup of 1970. At the time, the European Table-Soccer Federation (ETF) were still playing the flat-figure game, and I suppose it made sense to provide these sets to ETF players. However, the warehouse stock of these sets that turned up in the 2000s, suggests that it wasn't as big a seller as was hoped. The set was the size and equivalent of the UK Combination edition, and had a piece of chalk supplied rather than a pitch. However, the Combination does not have the lovely cardboard inner display. These editions have been seen with the standard red and blue teams, or an alternative version shown here, with the blue team replaced by Barcelona. That suggests a European Cup Final to me (Benfica vs. Barcelona), but that took place back in 1961. So either the sets were old when the 1970s paperwork was added (hence the box style), or this is just wishful thinking on my part (which is more likely to be honest!).


Brazil - Pelebol

  

A very nice variation this one. Made under licence in Brazil. The small Subbuteo logo, and the circular box picture date this set to the late 1970s. I don't really know anything else about it, but if you look at the interior illustration above, you should see that the pitch has the Pelebol logo, the goals are a simplistic moulded plastic affair, and three of the flags are in reverse colours - i.e. green flags on orange bases. Most strange. 

I've been told that there were six kits sold with Pelebol, and having now seen a couple of boxed editions it would appear that you could get any two of these sides in these sets. See the International Team Production page for details.


France - Super Match Edition.

I'm relying on Subbuteoworld again for this one. The set had English wording, but wasn't sold over here. Instead it was exported to France. This contained a scoreboard, championship goals, and four teams - England, West Germany, Argentina, and Brazil (also the countries in the World Cup Winners Pack).

    

February 2015:- A second "Super Match" set has come to light, with different contents to the one sold on Subbuteo World. This oddity had the polystyrene inserts from the floodlighting set, but as the contents sticker above shows, it did not contain the floodlights. Instead, these larger spaces were filled with a Jules Rimet trophy, the police squad, and a TV Film unit. The "Subbuteo Poster" mentioned in the contents is simply the 1982 catalogue-poster.


Germany - Tischfußball.

 

1970s Schnipp and Schuse.

Perhaps it was in response to the Munich World Series of 1974, but the early 1970s box sets seem to have been exported to Germany in reasonable numbers - and probably account for the strong support the game has in that country. The display edition illustrated is just a normal British box with a big sticker in German on it, but the Club Edition is the real thing - this is Subbuteo Tischfußball :-) 

Germany - Europa Cup Edition

   

1980s Jumbo.

The words "Tisch Fußball" also give the game away here. These are German sets from 1983, and the distributor is now a company named Jumbo. The Europa Cup set is actually just a standard club edition, while the World Cup version features West Germany vs Holland, and FIFA balls, and also has the addition of a fence, a scoreboard, and perhaps oddly, two throw-in figures. The interiors of the sets are moulded green plastic, pre-dating the English plastic inners by about a decade.


Netherlands - Tafelvoetbal.

      

The Netherlands appear to be one of the first countries that were introduced to the wonders of Subbuteo. That doesn't seem particularly surprising considering their proximity to the UK, and their love of the full size "beautiful game". The Subbuteoworld website currently illustrates a Dutch edition from the 1950s, and I believe the Netherlands Subbuteo Assn was formed as early as 1954. 

February 2015: - The 1950s Dutch set is now illustrated here too. No pitch was included, but the set has a nice green inner displaying the contents (which the English Combination set lacked), plus a translated rules book.

    

The game in Holland received a further boost in the early 1970s, when the OO scale Club, International and World Cup sets were made available. These sets were sold in the English boxes, but like the German Display edition above, they had a sticker attached in their own language. The set that my info comes from is a club edition, and on that set the sticker covers the bottom third of the box, and features a picture of Herman Kuiphof. As you would expect, the box sets were supplied with a Dutch instruction book, and catalogue. The instruction book also had a picture of Mr Kuiphof, and some words of wisdom from the great man. 

I have now been enlightened about Mr Kuiphof's greatness. He was a famous football commentator from the 1960s until the 1980s, and his commentary on the 1974 World Cup Final is especially legendary.

The box sets were supported by the addition of Dutch teams to the official team charts. This addition also saw eight brand new club colours added to the team list on numbers 82-89, which was the first time that kits used exclusively by overseas club sides were added to the list en-bloc. 

Club and Europacup Editions.

 

Produced by Clipper Games (makers van Monopoly!), these two box sets use the illustration from the late 1970s English boxes on a more colourful background. I only have these pictures to go on, so while the contents of the Club Editie are going to be obvious, I'd be grateful if anyone knows what was included in the bigger Europacup set. Above, you will find details of a German Europa Cup set, but that just seems to be a standard club edition. This dutch set is bigger, and so must have different contents. An interesting anomaly in the Dutch catalogue of this era is that they are still selling the early brown scoreboard, but it been given a reference number of 070158. In England, C158 was only ever the newer black scoreboard. The box sets, (and the scoreboard) continued to be sold in the early 1980s.

Nutricia Chocomel Editie

 

This lovely little set is a Dutch League Edition (that's a Display Edition to all you oldies out there!). You can tell this by the lack of a pitch under the teams on the box lid. As with the late 1970s box sets, this edition was produced by Clipper Games, but it also had a sponsor - "Nutricia Chocomel". From their logo, this product appears to be some kind of chocolate drink. If anyone knows why this edition was sponsored, I'd love to know. The box also calls the game "Subbuteo Vingervoetbal", although the instruction book, catalogue etc, still call it "Subbuteo Tafelvoetbal", as per earlier editions. Mind you, the catalogue is advertising the late 1970s sets, so the paperwork is probably identical to these earlier sets.

Inside the box is the usual attractive League Edition, which has the teams, balls and goals laid out on green card (has anyone seen a League Edition in polystyrene?). In a nice touch, the teams provided are Holland (013) and Belgium (151) in machine printed lightweight figures. All ready for that local derby :-)

Thanks to Paul Woozley for selling me this set at the Woking swap meet .


New Zealand - 1970s.

Here is a Subbuteo edition with a completely different box lid. I'm not sure if this was exclusive to New Zealand, but at present that's the only country where it has been spotted. The contents are just a standard mid-1970s club edition. The kids in the illustration are typical of Subbuteo advertising of the 1970s, and like most of us, they are playing Subbuteo Floor Soccer, rather than the Table variety. Note the classic 1970s accessories - World Cup goals, white floodlights, and green fence surround. There's no stadium at this stage, so the kid with the goalkeeper is actually playing properly.

New Zealand 1980s - Theo Holdsworth & Sons Ltd.

By the 1980s the New Zealand Club Edition had taken on a more familiar look, at least externally. As with the Australian editions of the period, only the printed logo of the distributor marks the set out. The New Zealand distributors were a company called Theo Holdsworth & Sons Ltd, Auckland, who use an abbreviated "Holdson" name in their logo.

As hinted above, whilst this set looks boring from without, it gets much more interesting inside. Here the insert was of a unique plastic design, and only covered about two-thirds of the box. The other third gave amble room for the standard Subbuteo pitch. The players were housed upright (Hasbro repeated this trick fifteen years later). Tournament goals were provided. These were supplied flat-packed, and there was no room in the box to store them assembled. An extra note was included regarding assembling and disassembling the goals. The most quirky thing about the New Zealand set was the flags, which were produced completely in orange plastic - including the round bases. This is perhaps worth comparing with the "reversed colour" flags of the Pelebol set.

July 2007: New Zealand collector Kevin Blair has sent me the scans from a New Zealand version of the 1981 catalogue, which was altered to fold out in to a poster. Holdson then used two of the panels of the poster to explain the items which they would be selling through leading toy stores. The accessory range was simply C102, C108, C121, C127, C128, C131, C132, C133, C158 and C182. The teams were confined to 009, 013, 021, 025, 041, 047, 050, 067, 100, 156, 174, 191, 318, 329, and 355. 156 was New Zealand and 174 Australia. Some of the other references mentioned also featured teams from New Zealand, and these have been listed on my Rest of World appendix page.
Summer 2012: The Holdson catalogue is now illustrated - see Catalogues - Japan & NZ


Spain.

February 2015:- To my surprise, a specially printed Spanish set circa 1965 has appeared in collecting circles. This is a very early date for such a set, with the German and Dutch versions on this page being based on the later 1970s editions.  However, as Peter Adolph had a factory in Barcelona, I suppose it made sense to sell copies to the fanatical football fans of that city, and beyond..... (these sets do state that they are made in Barcelona).

Thanks to Franco Esposito for the picture. Check out www.thesubbuteomuseum.com for more details.

Spanish Editions - 1982 onwards.

 

I'm not sure how these sets came about, but they was made by a Spanish company (Juguetes Borras) under licence from Subbuteo Games Ltd. The "made under licence" nature of these games is different than most of the other editions on this page. To emphasise the point, even the pitch features the Borras logo.

The advertising brochure with this game suggests that there were two versions produced in these Spanish boxes. The "club" edition illustrated, and "junior", which seems to be a display edition. The addition of the FIFA World Cup Edition to this leaflet dates this set nicely to the time of the Spanish World Cup of 1982. Obviously a useful cash-in on the football fever that would've spread through the country at that time.

    

The third set on the advertising brochure shown above was the FIFA World Cup edition. This had the more familiar lid, and looked as if it was going to be the standard UK release. However, a copy of the actual set has now come to light, and it is much more interesting. The box moved the FIFA markings up to where the English version says "Table Soccer", and renames the set Espaňa-Mundial '82. The interior, like the German sets of the period is flimsy vacuum formed plastic (of a type UK customers weren't cursing at until the mid 1990s!). The big difference though, is in the World Cup itself....

As shown on the box, the Spanish FIFA World Cup statue is a proper, high quality, metal product on a suitable plinth. I assume these replicas were already being made for the World Cup, and being obviously superior to the standard Subbuteo version, were preferred by Borras.

      

Juguetes Borras also sold Subbuteo teams and accessories in their own distinctive boxes. The bubble packed accessories seem to be the standard UK versions, but everything else - stands, pitch, goals, goalkeepers etc. were reboxed. The teams were also produced in this style, and two variations of team box suggest that the range continued for at least a couple of years, although nothing much later than this date has been seen in collecting circles. The Spanish team range was equally fantastic, with a large portion of the Spanish league covered, including team colours not produced anywhere else. The International Team Production page will tell you more.

Spain - Cola Cao Edition.

    

Spring 2013: Spotted on ebay earlier this year, this was another strange Spanish set, that appears to be of a similar vintage. This Cola Cao set (sponsored?) had similar contents to a standard club edition. The teams were hand-painted lightweights of Spain and Brazil (pale skinned), and the look matches the hand-painted teams seen in the Spanish team range mentioned above. It should be noted that the Cola Cao name was also printed onto the edges of the pitch. A Cola Cao sticker was also provided.


USA - NASL Edition.

Jokari Editions.

The set a generation of American fans grew up with. It's another early 1980s club edition in truth - but with a few extra bits to improve the playing surface - a paper fibre board, some clips to fit the pitch to the board, and some card goal pads to support the goals at the same height as the new board. This and a couple of later US box sets are shown on my NASL page.

USA 94 Edition (alternate boxes)

    

More sets from ebay, and a suggestion that the USA 94 set was produced with a relevant box lid for different countries.

The set shown on the left came from a seller in the USA. The prominent USA player on the lid, use of the word "Soccer", and the phrase "World Championship" rather than "World Cup" all suggests that this was another crack at the North American market. At the first glance, the set on the right looks like any other USA 94 set. However, instead of West Germany tackling Denmark, we have the Republic of Ireland doing the same thing (with Denmark in a reversed away kit). This picture was also used on the backing card for the Subbuteo electronic game.


Miscellaneous Editions.

By the later Waddingtons range, the whole Subbuteo range has obviously been redesigned for sale anywhere, with minimum use of language on the boxes and advertising material. However, there are still some extra sets to look for.

European Edition.

I've borrowed this set from the standard range of boxed editions, because it may well have been made for the European market. Why else have a set featuring France and Germany? It doesn't feature in any of the British catalogues I own, but it was on the 1983 price list - replacing the 1982 FIFA World Cup set.

Club Mexico Edition

This set appeared on ebay, and could be Italian (it had an Italian seller, and Italy feature on the box). Mind you, it still has the Union Jack on the side, so it might be a British set. The contents picture is hard to make out, but it seems to be a slightly deluxe club edition with Tournament goals, small orange flags, Tango balls (one white, one orange), and possibly a set of squad numbers and the two spare "kicking" goalkeepers (as with the bigger World Cup set of 1986). The teams are full squad size (15 players). One side is on green and red bases, and therefore is probably 610 Mexico. The other is on blue, and could well be Italy (415).

Hungary - Ferencvaros Centenary Edition.

This info was sent to me by regular site contributor Gordon Watt. The set was a standard edition with some extra detail on the box, and included a Ferencvaros badge and Centenary Jubilee written in Hungarian. As an added bonus you got an extra team - which was Ferencvaros naturally. Now Subbuteo don't do Hungarian teams as a rule, but luckily Ferencvaros played their centenary season in the Liverpool away kit of the same era (742 green Adidas kit with white shoulder flashes) so they were covered :-)

That's all the details I seem to have for overseas editions for the time being, but I'm sure a few more will surface over the coming months. When they do, they'll get posted here. Otherwise, it's time to pick another topic.


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