Subbuteo Tribute Website.
If C193 seems a funny place to end this page, it's just that the Subbuteo range jumps at this point to C200. There seems no real logical reason for this, but it does make a natural division which I've exploited. Note that sets C192 and C193 set have now been found - but were there other sets planned/produced to fill the gap to C199??
Box Types - The hobby-crest era of boxes lasted until 1980, and C180 was the last item to debut in this box. In 1981, everything was re-boxed once again, and a new logo was introduced. The word Subbuteo was placed within an oval, and the words "table soccer" were added as a sub-heading. The original boxes with this logo still had monochrome illustrations, and I've called them "monochrome-logo" boxes on this site. They lasted until 1983, so C181-C193 appear first in these boxes. However, the World Cup accessories (C182, C183, C193) have blue backgrounds to the logo. Accessories lasting beyond 1983 move into the 61xxx range, and into the green-logo boxes/packs. On this page, perhaps only C181 has a green box. C170 has a 1990s pitch-corner box (see below), but I've not seen it in the green or red-logo 1980s boxes. Perhaps it was reintroduced into the range (in Italy?) to shift some old stock.
C170: Crowd Barrier.
The latest barrier surround for the Subbuteo playing area.
A new fence surround that
looked like it was made from toy zoo animal cages, and made its first catalogue appearance in 1980. These
fences had sprung up around grounds all over
England at this time, to combat hooligans. The Subbuteo version didn't really
suit the game, or match the terracing, and it can't have proved a success
against the ever popular green fence. It's final poster appearance was 1983, and the price list from that year dropped it
to the "request from stockist" range. It isn't on the 1984 poster,
and although it was still in the "direct" range in January 1985 that should have
been the last we saw of it....
But in fact, as the above illustration shows, the set was still being sold in the 1990s Waddingtons box. My version of this seems to be dated Mar.90. This set came from Italy (thanks Stefano!), so the set obviously kept in the range there for much longer. That questions the value of some of the dating on this site, but its a bit late to stop now :-0
November 2023: Looking at the details from various Italian catalogues, I found this picture from the 1994 edition surprisingly showing the crowd barrier as 61170. Which explains my late edition box. By then, we'd been ripping the things down in the UK for a number of years. Who would sell a toy "cage" fence in Britain after Hillsborough? It makes me sad just looking at it.
C171: Single Floodlight
Shown as a "new" item in 1980, this was previously C101 Set B. However, as set C101 was the only set with two different versions under the same reference, I guess it made sense to put the single floodlight on a new number, thus simplifying the list.
C172: Football League
A miniature replica of this leading trophy.
C173: Team Carrying
To carry two complete teams and spare footballs.
C174: World Cup Winners Pack.
C175: European Cup Winners Pack.
The "dots" showing the included teams suggested that various combinations could have been made available. Sadly, every set appears to include Bayern Munich, Nottingham Forest, and Inter Milan. I'm not sure that having two similar red and white teams was all that clever, especially as reference one was chosen for Nottingham Forest. Although Forest were the current champions, surely most players would have received a reference one in their original set, so it is a drain on the value of the pack. Picking Ajax, or Celtic would have given a better range of colours, while Liverpool or Manchester United might have proved a stronger selling point to Bayern Munich.
All three teams are hand-painted in my set, and are shown above. Note the distinct colour difference in the red of the ref 1 Forest, and the ref 214 Munich. To my eye it shows the change from the dark red of the heavyweight era, and the brighter version in the early 1980s.
C176: Subbuteo Trophy Trail.
Three playing figures. Available in references 1,2 and 21.
A unique new playing surface of the highest quality.
Very expensive (on my budget), and very desirable, this was a major advance in pitches. It was rubber backed, had a lovely felt-like playing surface and came rolled in a big tube. It was a delight to play on, except that mine had a couple of spots where it would always form small ridges. If you left it pressed flat under some heavy books for a couple of days it would be okay, but this was a major nuisance. From the experience of other players, I'd say that mine was not the only dream pitch which was a bit temperamental. However, oddly the thing is much better behaved now than it was when I was a kid. Perhaps I'm just more patient. It's just a shame then, that the thing is covered in thirty six* years of dust and fluff....
The Astropitch first appeared in 1980, and was possibly the reason Subbuteo could justify switching to the cheaper nylon pitches in the box sets. It remained the pitch of preference for "serious" players, until it is dropped for the 1996 range. That was not a popular move, and Hasbro did produce a cotton pitch in some of their 1997 box sets, before deciding that they might as well stick with the cheap ones!
C179: Match Bench
Two trainers benches with tracksuited team figures in two different colours.
This was just a double pack of the second version of set C139. However, whereas in that set the figures were usually produced on green plastic, in green tracksuits, this set was hand-painted on flesh plastic. The kits worn were navy blue with white trim, and red with black trousers and trim, so the set matched well with the two teams in the standard Club Edition of the game. Of course, as the figures were identical, both benches had a manager with his head in his hands. Are they watching a nil-nil or a six-all draw do you think?
The set dropped to the dreaded "available on request" list of 1982, and didn't carry on into the "61xxx" renumbered range of 1984, although it is still on the "request" list as late as January 1985. The single bench was more successful and did continue in some form right up to the 1996 range.
F.A. Cup Pack.
Presentation pack of the FA Cup finalists together with a replica trophy.
This item was only sold in 1980-81, and I've now discovered that there were two versions of the set.
The original version was the 1980 Cup Final with Arsenal and West Ham. As the illustration shows, both teams appear in this set in their home kits but they actually played in their away kits. I know, I'm getting picky. A fine set for West Ham fans everywhere (I wonder if Trevor Brooking has a set). The teams are 232 Arsenal and 209 West Ham Utd in the machine printed lightweight figure.
The latest goals with bases for self assembly.
Self-assembly - Grrrr! Another variation on the goal theme, this was the first do-it-yourself goal, and were packed in a flat box. They arrived in the 1981 catalogue. I liked the look of them at the time, and as my original C148s had been mended a couple of times already, I requested a set. Sadly, being seriously cack-handed I could never get the nets to fit properly. A right pain. Also, the back spikes tended to fall out the box and go missing, and there are several fragile bits to break. They looked quite nice once set-up, however, so not a total failure.
They were used in the special 1981 FIFA World Cup edition (S210), and hung around until they were replaced by the similar, but bigger and better Mundial goals (61213), which arrived in 1987.
C182: The FIFA World Cup
A miniature replica of the new FIFA World Cup Trophy.
New? Surely they'd been using this for the 1974 and 1978 competitions. Oh well. Finally introduced in 1981, this set replaced the oddity that was C157. The cup immediately featured in the FIFA World Cup edition mentioned above, but the international and stadium sets continued to feature the Jules Rimet. The cup also appeared in set C193.
This item made it to the new number range in 1984, but didn't even manage to out last the Jules Rimet version - vanishing in 1985 with that older version.. It was the largest replica trophy Subbuteo ever produced, and another fine addition to that range. Although it should be said that the proportions look wrong - it's too tall and too thin.
C183: Three FIFA
Three white moulded balls of new design.
"New design" was pushing it a bit. Another cash-in ball set which, like C181 and C182, featured in the FIFA World Cup edition. These were the first balls where the markings were printed on the ball rather than using stickers. How full of fascinating facts could you make a paragraph about a bunch of balls anyhow? Thought so. The balls arrive in 1981, and featured for the last time as 61183 on the 1984 poster. So not a very long run for these balls.
C184: First Aid Set.
The description above comes from the 1981 catalogue. Why the inverted commas? Perhaps he's just play acting :-). This is the other half of the replacement for C113 (along with C159). The two new sets were also combined in 187/4 which existed 1981-83. The sets final poster appearance is 1984, where it was shown as 61184. It was not shown in 1985, but was still available direct from Subbuteo on the 1st January 1985 price list.
A set of twenty crush barriers for use with stadium terracing.
A very simple grey plastic loop which slotted into the terracing and did look exactly like its real life counterpart. If like me, you had one grandstand and fifteen spectators, twenty crush barriers seemed a little excessive. Of course, the subbuteo crowd are all seated, and therefore don't actually need crush barriers... which is a shame, because having a few crush barriers with half a dozen supporters leaning on them would be great for representing rainy evenings at the Goldstone Ground... The set was new in 1981, with a final poster appearance in 1983 (it's another item on the request only lists from 1982-83).
T.V. Tower Kit.
A new television tower construction kit for self assembly.
A rather dull TV Tower suitably modelled in grey, with no OO scale figures supplied with it. It was basically just a replica model of some no-bolt scaffolding - come on how exciting is that? The tower was supplied in kit form on two identical frames within a flat box. The instructions suggested cementing the pieces together, but I never bothered and the no-bolt design allowed this successfully. Of course, once the kit was assembled, it wouldn't fit back into the box. For this reason, along with the fact that many of the pieces of the tower are very fragile, this is one of the few items of Subbuteo from my youth that hasn't survived (except for a couple of side panels and a platform!). For that reason, I'm indebted to Lorenzo Carloni who provided the boxed copy shown above.
Despite being able to double up as a nifty Airfix guard tower, this self assembly tower didn't fair well against the classic C110, and only lasted from 1981 to 1984.
C187: Match Day
Four combination sets in presentation box.
These were the first combined accessory sets, and were a chance to box-up some of the figures which were previously only available in small bags, or bubble packs. The box sets were rather pretty, and it is a nice way to keep the figures in good condition. I got the above version for Christmas (I'm guessing 1981), because I owned the earlier version of the bench set, and wanted the new one.
C187/1 Action Pack. Two corner kickers (C131), two throw-in figures (C132) , and one ball.
Six smaller scale line flags
Smaller, and even easier to break. This set replaced the big orange flag set (C117). The original version arrived in 1981 and was painted in red and blue halves. Sometimes these were hand-painted, but most were machine printed. The set swapped to orange flags in 1985. What was it with Subbuteo and orange flags?
The orange set continued into the 1990s, before merging with the referees to become 61240 in 1996. The flags were also produced with special Premiership logos (in 61234 and box sets) and Euro 96 logos (in 61235 and Hasbro box set).
New in 1982, this was a major set. It featured a half pitch (with one goal mouth and up to the halfway line) with various activities marked out on it such as a target range, and shooting positions etc; plus a goal with the old target board (C124), five light blue cones to dribble around, four red players, one blue player, two balls (one large, one medium) and a booklet of activities. It was given a "61" number in 1984, but didn't feature in the 1985 range. A shame that.
If anyone else owns this set, can they please tell me if it is really possible to spin a player around the outside cones to reach the ball on the short position in the spin exercise (i.e getting the player to perform half of a heart shape). I can't get anywhere near it, even with a flat figure - and it's only worth one point if you do manage it. Mind you, the fact that the pitch is nylon doesn't help because the players arms and any rough areas on the base get caught in the cloth causing the figure to jump or stop suddenly. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.
I'm sure this is an Italian Edilio Parodi packed item. Labeled as C189, this set was just the dribbling cones from the "proper" C189 sold in a bubble pack Note that the pack illustrated only has four cones, whereas the full skills Trainer had five. The description on the packet of "Pawns" is a good one, as that is what they resemble. Sadly, anyone looking for the rest of a Subbuteo chess set is likely to be disappointed (flick to checkmate?)
C190: Three Ariva Balls.
Yes it's another set of balls. These were the first set with advertising on them, and frankly, it was the start of a flood. It is worth pointing out that the American price lists from 1982-87 call this set C193, which sounds like a mix up. The ball did feature on the front of the Jokari American rule book, so perhaps there is a connection to the NASL. The balls survived in the range until 1986.
C191: Three High Bounce Balls.
Before you say "oh more balls - boring", these are a bit unusual. Instead of the normal hard plastic, they were made of yellow sponge, just like the full-size "indoor" footballs you could buy around the same time. Were they any good? Well not really. They picked up fluff, and seemed to get too much friction from the pitch. Also, I managed to bounce one of mine into a glass of cherryade, and it still has the stain to prove it. Like the Ariva balls, this set arrived in 1982, but it did not last as long - 1985 being the final catalogue appearance.
C192: Handbook (revised).
This number doesn't appear in the catalogues, but C192 was on the February 1982 and 1983 price lists, and 61192 was still available in January 1985. The booklet shown above is 61192, with that number being quoted on the back cover. The front cover shows that these are the Subbuteo Rules and Regulations for the "Federation of International Subbuteo Associations", which was the official Subbuteo Governing body of the time. The rules inside were an up-to-date version of the advanced rules as presented in C116, and later in the large combined rule book of the 1970s. Here however, the presentation is only semi-professional. The booklet had a monochrome glossy card cover, and the interior is just simple typeset, with no illustrations. Mind you, the thing only cost 40p.
I'm not sure if this was also the advanced rules offered to the American market as C2001 in 1984. Their catalogue mentioned that this booklet has guidelines for arranging tournaments and setting up local leagues. Whilst C116 did mention those things, C192 does not.
C193: FIFA World Cup Spain '82 Sets.
This featured in an Italian catalogue, but doesn't make it into the English ones (or the posters of this era). However, it did appear on the February 1982 price list (priced £4.95). C193 contained two teams from the 1982 World Cup competition, along with Subbuteo's superb model of the World Cup (C182). There were various versions of this set - with different team combinations. According to the above mentioned price list, the versions available in Britain were:
This covered the three UK teams that qualified for the tournament and the hosts.
However, as you can see, the set illustrated above features Italy and Germany. This was purchased in Italy and it's worth noting the extra "Italia" logos to advertise the "home" team. So clearly, different versions of the set were sold in different countries. I don't know how many other versions exist, but hopefully someone can enlighten me. Many thanks here to Lorenzo Carloni, who provided the pictures and details of this set :-)
March 2007: Just to add to the confusion, here is a lovely England/Scotland version of C193 with a team box sticker on the end to confirm the teams included. I think that's more variations than I've seen actual sets!
C193 Italy/Argentina - and a 1986 re-release.
May 2023: With the last entry I joked that I'd seen more variations to this set that I'd ever seen physical copies of it... and here's another one. This is another Italian issue, and I am guessing that originally this was an earlier Italian release than the one shown at the top of the section. That is because that set features the finalists from 1982, and this one features Argentina, who would have been the holders from the previous tournament. The two teams are certainly in their 1982 references, with Argentina being ref 67 and Italy being a machine printed 166.
However, added to the box outer is a sticker in the Italian flag colours stating "Italia Campione del Mondo 82/86", and indeed the set features the teams who won both these competitions. This is clearly a Parodi addition then, but crucially if the teams were added in 1986, then Italy would be ref 415 and Argentina 457. So I am assuming Parodi was finding a way to use up some old warehouse stock. It should be noted that the box here states "FIFA World Cup Spain '82", thus giving the set a distinct shelf life. This was not repeated on the later World Cup squad boxes, which may have been a lesson learned.
Thanks to Emanuele Cassai who sent in details of this variation.
Congratulations, you've reached another break. Subbuteo seemed to miss out numbers C194 to C199, and go on to C200. I've used this to start part three - the ball heavy Waddington/Hasbro range. If you can stand to go on - follow the link.