(Super) Striker Tribute Page.
Page 2: Palitoy and Peter Pan.
The Team Colours Project (Ongoing illustrated Subbuteo team lists).
The 1980s "All Star" Super Striker (Palitoy Edition).
The red box All Star Super Striker is the set I owned as a child, and it was sold under the Palitoy logo. As mentioned on the previous page, this set had an rules sheet that gave instructions for both the diving goalkeeper and the old standing one. As the sets above show, this is because the "All Star" game was released in both "Striker" and Super Striker" forms, which was something I was not aware of as a child. So perhaps the Striker version didn't have a long shelf life. The only difference between the two sets seems to be the goalkeepers, and although the complicated mechanism of the diving version would have been more expensive to produce, I can't really see the reasons behind having two sets at this point.
Either way, these Palitoy boxed games are a new deluxe version of the earlier sets, and various enhancements have been made to the standard playing pieces.
The pitch is the moulded version with fence surround from the Wembley Fast-Pitch edition, but this has now been covered with a felt-like playing surface. The box calls this a "Super Texture" pitch. This texture slows down the Wembley pitch, and is a big improvement. This is also a great pitch for five-a-side Subbuteo, although mine has been over-used and the surround is now badly cracked.
The big advance in this set is with the outfield players. At first glance they may look the same, but they are now bigger, have more detail and cute individual touches. They can be right or left-footed Their arms come in different poses, and can be glued at different angles. The shorts and shirts and legs are all separate pieces, and the kicking leg is now fully rounded (whereas the inside of the leg on the earlier figures is flat). The final artistic flourish is the head of the player, as this has a choice of facial expressions, and a variety of hairstyles (all rather 1970s) which come in brown or black. The eyes and eyebrows are hand-painted. (see the scary illustration below).
In addition to this, these outfield players are now produced in accurate club strips, including badges and trim. The two kits in the box set are Manchester United, and Newcastle United, which I've again illustrated (aren't you lucky?).
Official Teams - English League 1st Series.
In addition to the two teams in the box set, Palitoy launched a range of eight top teams - all in named boxes. However, please note that the game is still referred to as "Striker" on these boxes. The side panel of the boxes show the kits that were available -
For the record, this was Spurs, Liverpool, Everton, Notts Forest, Aston Villa, Arsenal, Leeds and Manchester City. Not much different than Hasbro's 2001 range for Subbuteo. Each kit was produced in the correct coloured plastic, and then has the extra details printed on. For Example, the Aston Villa had light blue plastic shorts, and a claret top - onto which light blue sleeves and collar were printed. The legs were a flesh coloured plastic, so socks were always painted.
James Hills has kindly sent this illustration of Nottm Forest, Spurs and Arsenal.
Official Teams - World Cup Sides.
These teams come from Paul Woozley's cool Striker collection. This series included a further eight teams dated 1977 in Striker boxes. However, these were international teams, and may well have supported the 1978 World Cup (even if Scotland were the only home country to qualify !). The side of the box was still advertising the league teams, which is a good enough excuse to show scans of all the sides instead of just the box end.
From left to right, we have England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Holland, Italy, Spain, and West Germany.
Official Teams - English League 2nd Series.
When a website visitor mentioned to me that he had once owned Birmingham and Crystal Palace in Super Striker, I knew there had to be a few more teams. What I wasn't expecting was another full series. The boxes from this final series of eight teams had the words "All Star" squeezed in (although note that it still isn't called Super Striker). The addition of Newcastle and Man Utd from the box set suggests that this was the series produced alongside the All Star set. However, when I bought my All Star set it was still the first series that was available in the shops (I bought Aston Villa and Everton, while my friend Chris had Liverpool and Man City).
Apart from the Newcastle and Man Utd sides from the box set, the teams in this series are more difficult to identify. This is not helped by the fact that the boxes for this final range do not have the team rosette on the front of the box. A quick thanks here to Des Williams for sending the picture of this lovely "Plymouth" all star team.
This mystery is an excuse to have a look at the actual teams once again. What is interesting is that all these teams have badges, but none of these badges match the team they seem to represent. Did the official teams need licensing?
Looking at the teams above from left to right, the first team seems to be based on Birmingham City, who were using a central white stripe in the late 1970s (but was this always with white shorts?) The next one is pretty universal, but reminds me of Ipswich Town (riding high under Bobby Robson). The badge and trim seem to be identical to the Man Utd side in the box set. The yellow team has "Admiral Stripes" but the colours do not match anything except maybe Leeds away. The green/black team is like Subbuteo's team 78 suggesting Plymouth as an option. The red with chevons looks familiar.... the sort of kit that Middlesborough might have worn. But the badge says Spfc (S for Striker?). The final team seems a simple copy of Crystal Palace but even this is odd. If you compare it to the Subbuteo version, the stripes are on the wrong diagonal.
I think this might have been the final Palitoy version of Striker, and it was endorsed by Trevor Francis. It is the only version that was sold with a cloth pitch, and this obviously kept the box to a more manageable size. There is no fence surround, the goal bases are very simple, and the goalkeeper is the non-diving Striker version. It seems pretty much the same as usual Striker, but in a budget form.
Unfortunately for Super Striker, Palitoy ceased to trade in the early 1980s and like Action Man, the game disappeared from the toy shops. Also like Action Man, the game proved difficult to kill off.
Unofficial Carded Teams.
I guess there was a surplus of Super Striker figures floating around after Palitoy's demise, and these figures found their way onto a local market stall in the late 1980s. They came in a bubble pack of four players, a pair of cheap goals (i.e. just moulded posts and a crossbar), plus a couple of cheap balls (i.e. not the nice panelled ones from the real game). The four figures in the pack were two each from different sides, so you had to buy two identical packs to make up full Striker teams. The blue and white figure shown here has a badge/crest in green and red halves and is simply from the Italy international series shown above. The other one doesn't match any of the "All Star" teams, but it does look like the team on the front of the Junior Striker box.
Rather surprisingly, a carded pack of these players turned up recently on ebay, so this is now illustrated. The players were sold as "Super Star Strikers", thus telling us what they are without infringing on the trademark. All very dodgy. The players in this pack matched the ones I bought back in the 1980s exactly. However, I do remember seeing a different side in the pack, but there was only one copy on the stall, and I did not buy it because I could not make up a team with it. I'm fairly sure this would have been the England team shown above, because I know the colours were similar to the black/white side that I did buy (except with more trim)
The 1990s Revival.
With Subbuteo on the decline, and Hasbro quoting competition from computer games as the cause, how nice it was to see Super Striker make a return to the shops. This new version was produced under the logos of two more classic toy companies - Peter Pan Games and Spear Games. Woolworths was full of them in the run up to Christmas 2000.
For the new version, both the players and the ball were made larger. This sadly ruled out much compatibility with the older sets, but at least the players retained some of the "all star" charm. There is a left footed player on each side, there are a couple of different bodies, as well as light and dark skinned players. Like "all star" there are also various hair alternatives. Some players have separate hair in different styles, some have painted on hair, and some have no hair at all. There is even an alternative pair of legs, with black thigh protectors visible under the shorts.
Getting bigger: an original striker player, an "all Star" figure, and the 1990s version.
The pitch is a rugged cloth, and has a plastic fence surround which fits onto the pitch using small Velcro patches (very effective). There are advertising logos to stick onto the surround, including Match of the Day. The pitch doesn't have the zones of the original Striker, with the player nearest the ball gaining possession. The goals are about the same width as the originals, but much taller. They are a very robust construction and should out live most other table football goals :-)
The goalkeepers keep the diving operation of the earlier model, but don't seem to be as good because the controlling rod is on the back of the shorts rather than on the back of the ankles. This means that when the goalkeeper is horizontal he is a long way off the ground, and the ball can pass underneath, which is a serious problem. It doesn't look as realistic a dive either - goalkeepers don't usually finish up in mid air.
For Christmas 2001, the set was replaced in the Woolworths range by Michael Owen's Pro Football, and it has been much harder to get since then. It is possible that your local Toys-R-Us still have a few copies, and my local toy chain, Gamleys, are worth a look too. Otherwise, keep watching those car boot sales!
To look at Striker from around the world visit the International Editions page.
The Team Colours Project (Ongoing illustrated Subbuteo team lists).
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