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Peter Upton's

Subbuteo Tribute Website.

The Team Colours Project.

Parodi Teams 2002-2005

Football League, and late arrivals 2004-05

This final page of Parodi teams aims to illustrate the teams produced in 2004-05. I am not really sure how long production of these teams continued for, or how many teams were churned out. According to Arturo Parodi, the original agreement with Hasbro was a three year contract expiring in June 2004. He stated in the July 2004 edition of the Subbuteoworld magazine that they were no longer making Subbuteo, and had gone back to Zeugo production (with the new range due in August 2004 - see the Zeugo Appendix for details).

However, as the launch for Hasbro's own photo-real Subbuteo game was pushed back to early 2005, it seems that Parodi were granted an extension, although possibly only until the end of 2004. However, the last kits produced under this line were for the 2005-06 season, and these were included in a final year catalogue produced by Astrobase in early 2006. Of course, Parodi, along with retailers Astrobase (in Italy) and Subbuteoworld (in the UK) were allowed to continue to sell this Subbuteo until the existing stock was exhausted. It is possible that the manufacture of figures stopped in mid-2004, but that teams continued to be painted for longer. Although to add to the complications, production of the figures did continue as Astrobase and Subbuteoworld used the castings to produce table soccer equipment under the new name of Soccer 3D.

As Subbuteo production became Soccer 3D production, things become a bit murky regarding releases into this range. I am sure these pages are some way short of mentioning all the teams that exist in this era. However, hopefully it is successful in showing the scope and depth of a range that offered well over 250 different outfits in less than three years.

Subbuteoworld General Specials.

At the beginning of 2004, Italian seller Astrobase joined with the UK's Subbuteoworld to promote the new range, and teams dried up elsewhere. The range expanded massively under this initiative, and whilst this site has always referred to the teams in this section as "Subbuteoworld General Specials", they were really this by default. You simply could not buy any teams outside of Subbuteoworld or Astrobase. The teams covered by this heading were those available via the Subbuteoworld website, rather than the ones that were for club members only (see previous page for details). These teams were "unlimited editions", but many were probably produced in smaller runs than the "100 numbered teams" editions for club members. The teams sold by Subbuteoworld in these ranges had a golden "special edition" sticker on the box.

The first ranges to arrive were small and quirky, a US Major League Soccer range, which featured ten strips, and a Roy of the Rovers range featuring five Melchester Rovers kits through the ages (including a duplicate of the World Table Soccer version - see previous page for illustration). They also had a modern day Bradford Park Avenue produced. The 1970s-1990s Melchester Rovers kits had all been produced by Subbuteo Sports Games, whilst the 1960s version remains a popular choice for modern day painters. The Subbuteoworld 1980s version isn't as accurate a rendition as the others.

The English League Teams.

The original small exclusive ranges were followed by a big range of league teams from the second and third tiers of English football. Again these were supposed to be exclusive to Subbuteoworld. This was another 40+ sides, and set the tone for Astrobase expansions from then on. The teams arrived in Spring 2004, and represented the kits from the (just about) current 2003-04 season. This was the last year that these leagues were called Division 1 and 2, before they became The Championship, and League 1.

Division 1.

The original Parodi range had launched the previous year, with all the Premiership sides for the 2002-03 season. The three teams promoted that year (Portsmouth, Leicester City, and Wolves) were also in the range by this time. New kits were not produced for the three relegated sides (West Ham, West Brom, and Sunderland), so that left twenty-one Division One sides to be painted.

The teams produced were a mix of home and away strips. Of course, the English leagues are full of teams in similar coloured kits, so it made sense to produce more interesting kits for the succession of blue/white or red/white sides. This certainly worked for Ipswich, Millwall, and Wigan (normally blue), Nottingham Forest (normally red), and even Sheffield United (too similar to Sunderland and Southampton). However, the Derby County blue away is very similar to the Cardiff kit (and Peterborough in the next division), whilst their standard white and black wasn't clashing very much (unless you count Germany and Valencia in the previous range...)

Division 2.

For this division, all twenty four teams could have been produced. However, as the moment I am missing pictures for two teams - Notts County, and Barnsley - neither of whom featured on the Astrobase catalogue of 2006.

This time, the away kits were Bristol City, Luton Town, Oldham Athletic. Port Vale, Rushden and Diamonds, Stockport County and Wrexham. This removes a couple of clashes, but also adds one, as Oldham and Stockport had similar away kits.

The fourth tier of English football was not produced in this range, so other new arrivals to the league such as Kidderminster, Macclesfield and Cheltenham missed out. Whilst that did become one of the first leagues produced in Soccer 3D teams, that range is more teams than this website can cope with.....

Subbuteoworld's UK painted teams.

  

In addition to all their "official" exclusives, Subbuteoworld pushed the boat out with two extra ranges using Parodi's "paint your own" teams. These were hand-painted in the UK at a higher quality, but also with a higher price point than the Parodi teams (the standard teams were 8.99, the UK painted limited editions were 15.99). The ranges covered the English Conference (32 different kits including away strips), and the Japanese J-League (16 sides). Group photos of some of the Conference, and all of the Japanese range are shown. Note that these teams were painted onto the old lightweight figure, rather than the new Parodi version (although supplied in the new bases). I wonder how many of each were actually produced?

Of course, Parodi supplied blank teams and boxes for home painting, and Subbuteoworld were not the only people to go down this route. This starts to blur the line between official and unofficial teams. Perhaps don't think about this too much!

Parodi Teams 2004-2005

With Parodi production allowed to continue through 2004, the original range remained available to buy, with all teams gradually moved to the new figure and base. Most of the teams stayed the same throughout this period despite the majority of the real teams changing kits. That's a real problem that Subbuteo production has to deal with these days. A few teams did get updated, and I have tried to cover these in the earlier lists. During early 2004, the majority of production seemed to be for the Subbuteoworld specials in the UK (shown above), whilst the Italian distributor, Astrobase, was much slower in introducing new teams to their website. However, it is important to remember that Astrobase is run by Enrico Techiatti, who designed the bases and accessories in the Parodi range. I think he was also involved in production, so was there a Parodi range or a Subbuteoworld range or an Astrobase range? Or was it all one big range?

Either way, the Subbuteoworld general specials shown above did not initially feature on Astrobase's Italian website, and other new teams did debut there. My original list of new teams on Astrobase in 2004 was as follows:

Arsenal 2nd, Aston Villa 2nd, Cagliari (possibly identical to Genoa), Chelsea 2nd, Dynamo Kiev, Greece, Liverno (possibly identical to Reggina), Lyon Europa Cup, Mallorca, Messina, Palermo 2nd, Panathinaikos, Peru, Siena, Vasco Da Gama, Verona 2nd, Werder Breman and Willem II. The range included  the teams promoted to Serie A for the 2004-05 season, and some oddities. Originally, some of these teams were shown with photographs and some just had illustrations. With the confusion over the Subbuteo licence, these teams looked at one time like they might be produced in Zeugo instead, but in the end most found their way into the Subbuteo range. I don't believe they were all produced. For instance, the Arsenal away in this list was the two-tone blue kit from 2002-03. In the end, the yellow and blue kit from 2003-04 was the one that made the range. The teams that did appear in the Astrobase "clean-up" catalogue of 2006 are highlighted (and most are illustrated below). This does not mean that the other teams were not produced though.

Throughout 2004 and into 2005 Astrobase continued to introduce new teams into the range, as shown in their final catalogue. The following sections attempt to give a taste of these releases.

Note that this is a work in progress, and I haven't illustrated everything yet (the gaps may be filled in if it seems that people are interested.....)

New National Sides.

In addition to the sides shown, Australia and South Korea, previously in the World Table Soccer specials, received updated kits - Australia lacking the green sleeves, and South Korea lacking the trim.

New International Club Sides.

   

This expansion seems to be very green. Did Parodi have lots of green bases to use up? The German and Spanish leagues seem to benefit most from this expansion, although this is an eccentric selection.

New Scottish Sides.

Falkirk won promotion to the Scottish Premier League in 2004, and were pleasingly added to the range. Hearts only had an away kit in the original Scottish Premiership range, so a home kit was added.

Premiership updates and away kits - 2004 season.

In the original range, only the big Italian club sides received away kits. The later expansions took on the task of producing Premiership away kits.

Updated Premiership Sides and away kits 2005-06 season.

These teams started to arrive at Subbuteoworld in the summer of 2005, as the kits were beginning to be unveiled for the season to come. Their club magazines of the period suggest that the next batch of teams would be under the new name, and were therefore the start of the Soccer 3D era. So these should be the final black box releases. However, when is life ever that simple? From the pictures I saved from their website, there is a suggestion that even later teams (such as the 2006 World Cup qualifiers) did appear as Subbuteo releases. Perhaps supplies of boxes and bases continued to be used up. 

The Final Astrobase Subbuteo Squad catalogue 2006.

The Parodi licence had finished by 2005, and no new teams were to be produced. This meant a return to Zeugo for Parodi, and the launch of Soccer 3D for Astrobase and Subbuteoworld. However both websites still had ample stock of the Parodi teams. Although apparently not in production, many of these teams remained available through 2008. Looking at Astrobase in Spring 2009, there were still a reasonable number of Subbuteo sides, but quite a few of these old kits had been switched to the Soccer 3D lists, so perhaps stock was finally running out.

The seemingly random nature of production, and changing lists of sales stock makes charting the final years of this production a bit tricky. Luckily, Astrobase helped clarify matters by producing a "final year" Subbuteo squad catalogue featuring "all" the teams produced, that were available to buy from them. This illustrated list of 269 teams surprisingly included all the specials produced for Subbuteoworld including all the club exclusives. So Burnley, the Cook Islands, the minnows, the North American sides, all the Melchesters, the Scottish sides, and all the lower division teams were shown. Only the UK painted stuff missed out. Most of original 2003 range was there in the new figures and bases (Bayern Munich and Piacenza miss out). Where there were small variations in this range (e.g. the shorts on Juventus and Milan), the later version was offered. However, both versions of England (2003 and 2005) and both Napoli kits (2003 and 2005) were included.

This final catalogue appears definitive, but of course it isn't. Did you expect anything on this website to be straightforward? As mentioned above, two of the old range were missed out, and I do not know how many later kits did not make it. In addition, some of the 2004 teams were still painted on old style figures. I got the impression that these were not as popular, but Astrobase was still battling to use up all the old Hasbro stock of blank figures.

And so ended another chapter in Subbuteo's history.


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