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Peter Upton's

Newfooty Tribute Website.

or 75 Years of Table Football.

Page 2: 1953 onwards. 

This page carries on the history of Newfooty.

The Mid 1950s.

     

The new box lid, and a full set (with pitch) from 1957.

In 1954 Newfooty changed the design of the box lid once more. Orange was still the predominant colour, but the action picture no longer covered the whole lid, and featured a goalkeeper in a yellow jersey with players in the colours of Newcastle and Blackpool. The box under this label could be blue or red, and once again there were a variety of sizes of set to choose from. The largest set of the era was similar to Subbuteo's deluxe assembly set, with the players and accessories laid out on a tray and a pitch underneath. The pitches of this era have the "Newfooty" logo emblazoned where the goal stands, and lack a shooting area line (although there are marks on the touchlines to show where the shooting area starts.

 

A card team in the late bases in front of yet another type of goal.
A close up of a celluloid figure in the new base.

The bases also changed slightly in this era. They were still a one piece plastic base with a metal bottom, but were slightly larger, steep sided, and featured a prominent lip on the rim. The metal base instead of being flat across the bottom, has a round indentation in the middle, so less of the base was touching the playing surface.

This bagged team is an interesting item, because the assembly sheet explains that is was dual purpose and magnetic. The metal in these bases is obviously not lead, and they are magnetized so that they can also be used in Newfooty's magnetic game "Socrates". See the Keeling Games page for more details.

The Late 1950s.

      

A final run of Newfooty box sets were produced with an attractive yellow lid, featuring Sunderland and Man City, and the standard quotes from Nat Lofthouse, and Stan Matthews. These sets sometimes featured all plastic goals, with white posts that clipped onto a moulded green net, but the earlier versions also appeared. As before, it was possible to buy a small basic set, or a bigger version complete with pitch. The box of the full edition also featured quotes from two Scottish internationals, George Young (Rangers) and Lawrie Reilly (Hibernian). The company also changed address at this time to Primrose Street, Liverpool 4.

The Player's Association.

Like Subbuteo, Newfooty had a Players Association (simply the NPA) designed to bring owners together, and encourage competition. A Silver Cup is mentioned in the literature (as usual with Newfooty, stressing that this predated Subbuteo's version!). Sadly, I do not have too many details of how the NPA was run. Sets sometimes have the application forms, or a membership card. Strangely, collector Ashley Hemmings spotted these three previously unseen NPA badges in a matter of weeks on ebay. The white badge seems to be a pre-war version, whereas the "1929" badge on the far right matches the sets of the late 1940s, early 1950s, when the rivalry with Subbuteo was simmering.

New Footy's Other Sport Games.

    

The boxes for Newcrikit and Pel-Mel.

Following Subbuteo's lead for once, the Newfooty Company also produced games based on other sports. I guess this is where having a generic name like "Subbuteo" benefits over calling your company "Newfooty". Nevertheless, among the other games Will Keeling produced were Net-a-ball a table netball game with card figures and a tiddlywinks feel, New Crikit, which was similar to Subbuteo's cricket game but had running batsmen, Pel-Mel a horse racing/steeplechase game, and showjump, a show jumping game (rather obviously!). New Crikit appeared in the 1957-58 Newfooty price list.

These games are now shown on a new page - "Keeling's Action Packed Games."

The End. Crestlin and the 3-D Figures.

    

In 1961, the fortunes of Subbuteo and Newfooty took very different paths. The first Subbuteo sets to feature OO scale teams appeared just in time for Christmas of that year. Whether they knew it or not, these sets were to make the Subbuteo brand famous throughout the world. By contrast, 1961 was the year in which the original Newfooty Company had to vacate its premises and cease trading. At first glance, it looks as if the OO scale figures finally finished off Newfooty, but Will Keeling's firm was in trouble before these sets came out and probably succumbed to the usual cash-flow problems that small businesses have. Keeling had basically stocked up on sets in anticipation of an expensive TV advertising campaign. He had previous success with an advert in the local Granada area, and was expecting a good response from a nationwide advert (Subbuteo also advertised on TV in this period). The oft-told tale is that the TV schedulers changed programmes at short notice, Mr Keeling's advert did not reach the intended audience and the response was poor. On top of this, the company was faced with a large tax bill, and with all their monies tied up in stock, this could not be met. So farewell Newfooty Co.

However, Will Keeling was not going to give up on his baby that easily, and in 1963 a new company "Crestlin Ltd" was formed to sell the game once more. Alas, the game had lost too much ground to Subbuteo, and this new endeavor lasted less than a year before folding once more. 

The most interesting thing about this final fling for Newfooty was the fact that OO scale sets were offered. The 1963/64 price list showed the following sets.

Set No. 0 Card teams etc
Set No. 1 Celluloid teams, netted goals etc. (although the all plastic goals were often included).
Set No. 2 Set 1, but with 3-D teams. 
Set No. 3 Set 2, plus pitch. 

The Newfooty 'OO' scale figures were apparently planned before the collapse of 1961. They were used in the standard bases, and could be un-painted, or painted to order. As previously quoted on this website, conventional wisdom had it that these figures were only made in a very limited run, and that Sets two and three were never produced. However, the wonder of ebay has enlightened us, as at least three 3D sets have passed through its collectable pages in the last year or so. The sets were all the standard yellow lid version of the late 1950s. 

The story told about these figures is that they were again designed in an "action pose" but that the ankles were too weak and the figures prone to breaking. The pictured figure shows a player close to the Subbuteo version in style, but with an odd bendy legged stance. The figure ill-fits the base, and the legs are indeed extremely fragile.

Not only were the 3D figures produced in sets, but they were also sold as separate teams. This picture of an all yellow team in a printed "Crestlin Ltd" box was the first one I had seen. The Crestlin address at this time was 33-35 Longmoor Lane, Liverpool 9. The look of the set is remarkably similar to the Subbuteo team and box of the same vintage.

When Crestlin folded, the stock was sold off to pay debts. To quote Glyn Willams' history of Newfooty once more, "WH Adamson bought it (as main creditor) and subsequently sold it to SSG who then made it obsolete in their own interest". This sounds reasonable, but is it that simple? 

The Mystery of Peter Adolph and Newfooty.

As I've mentioned above, the Newfooty stock ended up in the hands of its biggest rival. Richard Payne states in his Subbuteo book that "Peter Adolph claimed to have bought out the company through one of his subsidiaries.." There are various rumours of the fate of New Footy once it was owned by its long term rival. You can certainly imagine Peter Adolph's satisfaction at finally owning the competition. However, the simple "SSG burnt the lot" theory doesn't explain these few bits of evidence that remain. 

1. A Newfooty figure in Charles Stadden's invoices. 

As mentioned elsewhere on this site, Charles Stadden was the pattern maker who produced many of the OO scale figures for Subbuteo. He didn't design bases, but he did do the cups (so see below). In Mr Stadden's 1960s invoices are various football figures designed for Subbuteo, but this one stands out. 

6th August 1964. Subbuteo Ltd "New Footy" figure. "OO" gauge pattern figure carved and engraved in white metal as per instructions and pattern supplied. Football player standing. 10

So this was a Newfooty figure designed for Subbuteo after Crestlin had ceased trading. 

2. The Peter Adolph "Newfooty 4-2-4" advertising leaflet.

 

This item was ordered by Mr Adolph around 1968, and the address on the brochure is Tunbridge Wells. The game was to be called "Newfooty 4-2-4", but the testimonials to the game that are quoted in the booklet seem to be from the Will Keeling era. The year 1968 is a key date, because Peter Adolph reluctantly sold Subbuteo Sports Games to Waddingtons in April of that year. Although he became Managing Director of SSG under Waddingtons, frictions caused Peter Adolph's resignation in 1970. In the 1970s Peter Adolph experimented with other football games, and is it possible that this use of Newfooty was an early example of this?

It is also worth mentioning that another football game produced in the late 1960s was Table Association Football (T.A.F.) 4-2-4, which now has its own Table Association Football 4-2-4  page.

The brochure offered three sets with a very "subbuteo-like" feel to them; Super League, European Cup, and World Cup. The artwork on these mock-up boxes will be very familiar to any 1970s Subbuteo players who longed for a Munich set, or owned a Targetman set, as the same picture is used.

   

Super League featuring "two mini-scaled plastic teams in the colours of famous clubs, playing pitch. goals, and balls"
European Cup Super League plus plastic surround and replica of the European Cup.
World Cup European Cup Set plus footballer statuette, corner flags, and replica of the World Cup.

It is worth noting that the Charles Stadden invoiced Subbuteo Sports Games Ltd for his work on the footballer Statuette in February 1967 and for the World Cup, and European Cup in March 1967.

3. The Newfooty 4-2-4 base.

As shown above, the standard Subbuteo rugby base has been sighted with "Newfooty 4-2-4" embossed around the rim. So this base was obviously originally designed for the game Peter Adolph is advertising in his leaflet. I've only seen these embossed bases with standard heavyweight Subbuteo figures in them, and painted to rugby colours. The heavyweight was introduced to Subbuteo circa 1967, and the rugby game itself seems to appear around 1968 or 1969. It has been suggested that the actual rugby playing figure was the "second generation" Newfooty 3-D figure, but I'm not sure whether this was the case. Perhaps it was the figure produced by Charles Stadden as mentioned above. Certainly the "rugby" figure does turn up in Subbuteo Club Editions dated 1967, where it appears in football strip, with the moulded short sleeves painted as such.


That sadly, is about the last we hear of the wonderful Newfooty, although there were apparently a couple of attempts to re-launch the game in the 1980s and 1990s, with prototypes being produced. A Player's Association in the North of England kept the game alive for many years after production had ended (and I hope they are still doing so!) 

1990s Newfooty Sets.

   

July 2015:- Two late 1990s Newfooty sets with a very "home made" feel passed through ebay this year, and show how enthusiasts kept the game alive after the game ceased to be produced. It stands to reason that the 1950s sets and spares were going to become increasing scarce, and if the game was to be played (and grow), then new products would have to be made available.

As mentioned, these sets are quite "do-it-yourself", although to be honest, that does reflect back to the original Keeling sets with their painted lead bases, and net curtain goal covering. Illustrated here, the box looks rather impressive, but actually it is just a black shoe box with a printed label attached. The label is copied from a 1960s Newfooty set, and has the word "original" inserted above the Newfooty logo. The original endorsements by 1950s footballers have been replaced by a blue contents list. Apparently, this is set 82, and contains two teams, with substitutes, plus referee and linesmen, 30 page handbook, metal goals with coloured nets, corner flags, and a ball. The paperwork and handbook are very old-school - simply typed and photocopied.

 

The players are hand-drawn in the correct poses from the original game, and each is numbered. However, the teams themselves are not retro, with the correct 1990s trim (see Rangers above). The players themselves have simply been printed onto paper, which has been glued to a white plastic shaped figure. It makes you think of ice cream sticks, but also of the shape of old Subbuteo flats. The one-piece plastic bases too, bring to mind 1950s Subbuteo more than Newfooty, which always had a performance affecting heavy lead feel. The balls seem more like Newfooty of old however (see picture compared to the standard Subbuteo ball on the right). The goals are metal, so feel robust, although some way of fixing them to a pitch would be useful. The corner flags are metal and tiny.

Time to pick another destination.


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