Subbuteo Tribute Website.
The Team Colours Project.
Parodi Teams 2002-2005
Perugia - West Ham and Specials.
This is the second page of Edilio Parodi produced Subbuteo teams launched in 2003.
The blank team usually comes with a white base, and the "Squadra non dipinta" box. However, big dealer site Subbuteoworld will provide it with the base colours of your choice, and will even add your desired team name to the box. In twenty years time that'll confuse the hell out of the next generation of Subbuteo collectors!
The World Table Soccer Specials.
After the launch of the initial 115 team range, Parodi asked retailer World Table Soccer if they wanted to have special teams made up. WTS asked for 11 teams, if it was possible for Parodi to do them. WTS also helped to finance coloured bases for these teams. A couple of these specials filled specific holes on the original range. Parodi had only produced 19 of the English Premiership sides of 2002-03. So Charlton were added here to complete the range. Also, Korea were a notable absence from the World Cup sides (did they think the Italians wouldn't want to be reminded of Korea?). Other sides reflected the geographical location of WTS themselves, as they were based in Scotland and Canada (which also explains the USA 2nd). Quite how Scotland were overlooked in the original range is another mystery, especially as Wales got in.
WTS also requested a couple of "dream teams".
Finally we have two "dream team" kits for your fantasy league matches. There's the magic of Brazil from the 1970 World Cup, or choose the team of comic book hero Roy Race, here in the McDonalds sponsored kit seen in the relaunch in 1999-2000.
The Lost Side.
If you looked at the old WTS preview of kits, one side did not make it to the range. This was South Africa. On the preview it was displayed as a white kit with green trim, but when South Africa played England that year they wore yellow and green (like Norwich). African team colours do seem hard to track down, and WTS could not find out the correct kit in time for Parodi's deadline. To add to the confusion, the World Soccer yearbook listed South Africa's colours as white with yellow trim.
More Lost Specials (now found!)
Another UK table soccer seller asked if he wanted special teams produced was Chris Stapleton, who ran That's Magnificent. Chris chose just three international kits for his exclusives - Cameroon 2nd, France 2nd, and the Czech Republic. Painted examples of each team were produced for approval, and Chris sent me the pictures to see back in 2003. We were both amused that the prototype Cameroon Away had the same problem as World Table Soccer's Jamaica, which was white skinned players! Sadly, between planning and production, Subbuteoworld negotiated a controversial exclusive UK deal with Enrico Techiatti of Astrobase, meaning that other UK retailers were no longer supplied with stock.
That's Magnificent were informed that these teams were no longer going ahead, and they certainly never appeared at the Subbuteoworld or Astrobase websites. The only plus to come out of this event was the launch of the wonderful unofficial Santiago range.
I had long assumed that the teams never went beyond the initial prototype stage, and regretted the hard drive crash that lost the pictures I had originally been sent. So imagine my surprise when the three teams suddenly appeared for sale at online retailer Mad-About-Games in 2013. Unusually for Parodi releases, the standard black boxes are not labelled. The Cameroon now has dark skin, but otherwise they match the original samples. Where these teams were for the best part of a decade is a mystery..... Still, better late than never.
Scottish Premiership Sides.
In December 2003 it was announced that Edilio Parodi would not have a licence to produce Subbuteo equipment for 2004, and this set of Scottish teams seemed to be a last "hurrah". With Celtic and Rangers in the standard range, this teams completed the Scottish Premier of the time. As it happened, the original licence was to run until June 2004 (it was a three year deal), and it was extended further as Hasbro's launch for the "photo-real" range was pushed back. However, these were the last teams available outside of an Astrobase/Subbuteoworld monopoly.
The guys from World Table Soccer advised on team colours, but even then some of the team colours were interesting to say the least. They were the first teams in the standard range to receive both multicoloured Parodi bases, and the long awaited bald and pony tailed players. In these teams the bald and pony tailed players doubled up as the black skinned players in each side.
2003-04 English Premiership Teams.
Things move quickly in the world of football, and English football seasons had come and gone almost before Parodi's range was out to retail. So it was nice to see the three promoted clubs as the next teams to arrive. These teams were planned to be released with the Scottish sides, but actually arrived a little later, by which time everything was a Subbuteoworld "exclusive", so I've borrowed Pete's pictures to illustrate them.
A further English club side to appear at this time (although not a Premiership side) was Queens Park Rangers. It may seem odd that this side seems to have been produced apart from the other ranges. However, I was told that the new Parodi Club Edition was being sold in the QPR club shop, and it seems likely that the team was produced to go alongside the set. (see this team in the football league range on the next page).
The Subbuteoworld Club Specials.
The optimism concerning Subbuteo in this period also resulted in Pete Whitehead launching a new Subbuteo club/magazine in 2004. Part of the incentive package for joining was the choice of an exclusive team each year (included in the subscription costs). Sadly, the expiry of the Hasbro licence, and perhaps a shade to much optimism about interest in Subbuteo (we're all guilty of this) meant that the club only lasted for two years and eight A5 sized glossy magazines. Still, interesting stories were told, and some fascinating historical pictures and interviews printed.
Each year gave collectors a choice from two "Special Edition" club teams. The launch year reproduced two sides from the dawn of the lightweight era. A Burnley kit first produced as ref 334 in 1981, and Manchester Utd away ref 325 which was originally from 1980-81. Both produced on the new Parodi figures and bases.
I felt at the time that this was a slightly eccentric choice but at least it wasn't a dull one. Everyone has their own favourite kits (I would've gone for Tampa Bay, and the original Bradford Park Avenue). On further reflection, any Man Utd kit seems a sensible choice. By the second year, the club was having a International minnow phase, and the teams offered were Puerto Rico, or the Cook Islands. It wasn't stated, but if you didn't fancy these teams and contacted Subbuteoworld, they'd let you have a choice from the standard range instead - which was very fair.
The International minnows theme continued in the limited edition teams that were available to members only. The range was launched with Uganda in January 2004, but was quickly expanded to include a further sixteen minnows across different World Cup qualifying sections. Well, Subbuteoworld called them "World Cup" teams, but two - Cocos Islands and Vatican City - were non-FIFA sides. These teams were produced in a limited run of 100 numbered sets per team.
They are certainly some of the most colourful kits of the Parodi era, and a nice bonus for club members. If there was a downside, it was that these teams cost a pound more than the standard sides sold at Subbuteoworld and elsewhere.
Some of these teams proved popular and sold out within the club era, but sadly a few were still on general sale on Subbuteoworld's website in 2009. In addition, Astrobase later undercut the special status of these teams as we'll see later.
Okay, that is plenty of teams for one page. Follow the link for the final page of Parodi's Subbuteo output.
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