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The Illustrated Accessories List.

Part 2 The Continental Range.

C121 - C139.

Hmm, I think all the page and part numbers are getting confusing. Oh well, best if we dive straight in...

The Accessories.

C121: Three match balls.
Moulded in yellow plastic with black spots. 19mm in diameter.

This was the first set of balls produced in a medium size between the previous "standard ball (set F), and the small ball (Set FF). This 19mm ball then slowly became the standard size ball. I'm not sure why the size was changed. I suppose the larger ball was originally designed for the flat figures, and this was the first one designed for the OO scale teams. It is easier to score with the smaller ball, which might be a good thing. This set arrived in 1969, and was also the first ball to use stickers. The set trundled along, making it to 61121 in 1984, before finally bowing out around 1986. Basically it was swamped by all the new advertising balls coming out at that time. 

As with all Subbuteo there are lots of minor (some would say dull) variants to this ball. The version shown most often in the catalogues is of a panelled ball with small round black spots stuck on. This was a "two panelled" ball, matching the look of the older sets (ball on right of above picture). This was followed by a hexagonal/pentagonal design of ball (also used for C127) with matching spots. Do I expect the different types of spot to appear on both type of ball? I would think so. The stickers can affect the way the ball rolls, although the ones on this ball are not too much of a problem. This was solved on the mid-1980s ball by having the spots painted/printed on. This looked more effective too.

C122: "New-type" goals. (Fixture-type goals).
With rounded posts and crossbar with real netting mounted on green bases for fixing and holding.

These goals used the same bases as the rugby posts and arrived in 1969. I'm not sure which came first and perhaps they were designed specifically to share a base. While rounded posts gave a modern feel, and the bases definitely help stability, these goals were not actually very different from the standard goals of the time (Set N). They were not without problems. The bases are really rather big and cumbersome, although I suppose that makes them easier to hold. The main trouble was how flimsy they were, especially the back-bar. The boxes turn up frequently in collecting circles, but finding an undamaged pair of goals within is a bit trickier.

A really flash redesign of the goal had to wait until C130. The early catalogues and boxes refer to this set as "new-type" goals, but this name obviously had to change when they weren't new any more. Hence "fixture-type goals". Hardly an inspiring name folks. They did not appear in the 1978 catalogue and their replacement, also with rounded posts, was the Tournament goal (C154).

C123: Live Action Goalkeepers.
The lifelike new accessory you have been waiting for.  He dives, twists and punches at shots from every angle. Suregrip "Continental" plastic handle gives more effective goalkeeping.

     

Yeah, right. The optimistic description above is from the 1969 catalogue, when these 'keepers were new. If you are imaging a sophisticated device to "punch at shots from every angle", you are out of luck. This is an ordinary keeper with a coiled metal spring between the 'keeper and the green plastic handle. Does it work? Well I was disappointed with my set, when they didn't turn me into the greatest 'keeper ever. I found the loss of stability in the handle outweighed the benefits. Plus, I'm sure the spring yielded to powerful shots with the goalkeeper just helping them on their way. So a short-lived novelty item? No, actually a long-lived one with this item surviving right up to 1995. So either they were usually better than the ones I had, or generations of players were fooled into buying them. I suspect the latter.

  

C124: Training Kit A. Target Board.
...with numbered holes... Improve your goal-scoring potential.

 

The first of a set of three training items for people with no friends, which were introduced in 1969. In fact, this was the item that made many players think "okay, so I should be able to chip the ball off the ground". Saying and doing were two different things though... Even ignoring the holes at the top of the board, it was still difficult to get a ball though it. It has also been pointed out that the holes are not in the best positions anyway. Surely you would want to score in the bottom corners? C124 left the range in 1978, but made a stunning comeback (or something) a few years later in the Skills Trainer set C189. Obviously they still had lots in stock......

C125 Training Kit B. Goalkeeper Rebound Wall.

 

There is nothing interesting about this in any of the catalogues, and none even bother to illustrate it. It is however, one of my favourite items. A big yellow plastic thing, stuffed with rubber bands, it really is pretty successful at doing what it sets out to achieve. The way to get the best out of it is to load it with small, tight rubber bands, and set it at an angle to the goal (30 degrees is a good start position). Then pin down your goal with goal grips or whatever, because you are going to need both hands. With one hand on your goalie, ping a ball at the rebound wall with a finger (don't bother with a player). The ball should fly off the wall at some strange angle, and will fly past your stunned static goalkeeper into the net. Repeat ad nauseam....

Like the Target board, this arrived in 1969, and ceasedbefore the 1978 catalogue. Unlike the target board, it was never seen again. (sniff !).

61125: Premier League Trophy.
This 1990's reuse of the "125" number is detailed on the 61222+ Hasbro page.

C126: Training Kit C. Dribbling posts and passing Tee.
...has a Passing Tee which helps sharpen up those sweeping passes which split the opposition defence, but need direction and control on the Subbuteo pitch. There is also a set of posts for improving your control...

  

Another illustration from Stefano Montecchiesi's heroic Italian catalogue. Hopefully, this picture gives some indication of how the passing tee was supposed to work. This is a circular piece of plastic about the size of the centre circle, that is sloped slightly away from a hole at the centre The figure waiting to trap the ball is a tracksuited player from C103. If he looks big in the photo, that's because the dribbling posts are tiny. You had to aim the ball at the tracksuited guy really, because if you don't give it enough of a kick, the ball rolls back down the slope. Tends to be a bit frustrating...

An alternative use for this item is as the hole at the end of a Subbuteo golf course. In this exciting game, the corner kick figure becomes your driver, the 1998 World Cup corner kicker is a delicate wedge, and a normal player is your trusty putter. Add a few house plants and a cat's water dish as hazards, and you are ready to play.... and I really should get out more :-(

This item dropped from the range earlier than the other training items, with its final outing being 1973-74.

C127: Three Continental Balls.
Moulded in white plastic with black spots. 19mm in diameter.

   

Basically, a white version of C121 appearing a year later in 1970. It's that exciting :-) Again, the kind of vital accessory which kept going through the 1984 number change, only to disappear in 1986 under the vast number of "advertising" balls that were starting to appear. There are at least three versions of this ball. The original has such deep depressions and thick stickers that it is the most useless ball ever produced. Just try rolling one around on a flat surface. You might as well be trying to play with a twenty-sided dice. The next one was better, but the ball wasthin and prone to breaking in half. In 1983-85 the spots were machine printed onto the nice thick ball of that period, and that was the best of the lot.

C128: The F.A. Cup.
A superb miniature replica in silver finish metallised plastic on a black plinth in a display box.

Subbuteo's first attempt at a domestic (English) trophy, and it's a real beauty. Arriving in 1970, this was always a popular item, and it continued to be produced until the whole accessory range finally ceased around 1997-98. Like the World Cup, this was originally sold in an attractive display box. This also had a card support for the lid. (How many times have players lost the lid of the real FA Cup in over-the-top celebration?). The original box shows the trophy, but this is then changed to match the boxes of the other trophies. It receives a couple more box changes, before being put on a bubble pack in the 1980s. In the 1990s it returned to a box, but this had no support for the delicate bits of the cup.

This item also appeared in the short lived "FA Cup Pack" of 1980-81 (C180), which included the finalists of the previous year, and a ball. The FA Cup was joined in the range, belatedly, by the League Cup in 1980, but a league trophy didn't appear until the Premiership tie-in in the late 1990's.

C129: Number Transfers.
Two sets (1 black-1 white) of transparent self-adhesive numbers (1 to 11)... for identification and authenticity. Identify your players and have more fun.

These give you the ability to blame individual players for your hopelessness - i.e. "Oh that Ian Rush, he always jumps over the ball instead of shooting". Of course, naming players started long before these stickers, but at least they cut down on the crudely painted numbers that deface many a second-hand set. Having one set in white, and one in black covered most teams in the range, although teams in stripes were a major problem, especially Newcastle Utd. I tried sticking numbers to their shorts, but they'd just fall off and stick to the pitch instead. (The numbers, not the shorts). This set arrived in 1971, replacing the "lick to stick" version which had been fine for flats, but could only be used on the bases of the OO figures. I'm fairly sure that originally you had to cut out the numbers manually, but luckily they soon became ready cut. The set lasted until 1983 when it was replaced by C206 - which had squad numbers.

C130: World Cup Goals.
The latest type of international goals adapted to the Subbuteo scene, complete with new coloured nets (regd. design)

  

As illustrated, the nets were one red, and one blue. These goals were new in 1972-73 just in time for the 1974 World Cup. (Shame they didn't get the new trophy until the 1982 World Cup, but you can't have everything). Arguably, this is where the Subbuteo accessories first hit their stride -at least until C136. These were square posted goals, with integral bases, and no back frames. They were quite a radical new look, and continued to prove popular through numerous box changes until 1995. They also appeared in the World Cup, and Munich World Series editions of the game in the 1970's. A mini design classic.... if you overlook the fact that the nets fall off, and that the posts end up bent backwards because they have no supports.

C131: Two "Corner Kick" figures.
Larger size, articulated, hand-painted figures with "kicking" action on finger control base, adding practical skill, ball control and direction to corner kicks etc.

  

"Arrggg... Run lads, it's a giant footballer". Again debuting in 1972-73, these seriously oversized chaps were the Subbuteo rugby Conversion figures on new bases. They were lots of fun to use, and really did help put in big floating corners. Designed for people, like me, who couldn't chip in a corner with a normal player, even with the ball-raising corner flags (C117). Many players also used them for taking goal kicks, and this eventually became an official rule, with kickers painted as goalkeepers added to the range (C201 added in 1984).

Back in the 1970's when firms could still be small and friendly, Subbuteo would provide these figures in a range of ten colours upon request. These teams, the same basics as available for "Football Express", were 1,2,5,7,10,16,21,25,41, and 42. But they've been seen in many more kits than this. Partly, this is down to Stadium Editions having three teams - with three corner kickers painted to match. But I also think the painters strayed from the catalogue range. I currently own a pair of Genoa kickers (ref 72) which came in a 1970s box from an English toy collectors fair.

  • The set lasted until 1995, when it is merged with the throw-in figures to become 61133.

  • Colours seen in box sets include Brazil, Argentina, and England.

  • Box types:- The original box was designed to open and display the accessory in an "action" scene. The same idea was used in C134 and C135, and was similar to the display boxes for cups. All the ten variations sold in the 1970s come in these boxes, and often have reference number stickers on the ends.

  • In the late 1970s, when Subbuteo changed the address on their boxes to the Chiddingstone Causeway factory, this box was reduced in size slightly, and lost the ability to stand as a display. This later box seems to have been quickly replaced by the bubble packs. These figures have been seen on all three backing cards. These cards do sometimes have different coloured kickers on them, and in those cases, the reference is quoted on the card. This seems more common in Italy, and the teams I've seen see, to have little rhyme or reason for their selection. The kickers returned to a box in the 1990s, in the usual "pitch-corner" style.

C132: Two "Throw-in" figures.
Approx. OO scale, hand-painted spring-operated figures on finger-control base. Enables you to place the ball where you want it.

     

Always the companion set to the corner kickers, and introduced at the same time. As a kid, I admired these, as they were the correct scale and really looked the part. However, I never really mastered them, as my finger and thumb generated back-spin which sent the ball back out of play, or straight up in the air. Like the kickers, these were available in the 1970's in a range of ten colours. Note the Arsenal kit (ref 16) in the illustration. The set had one redesign which removed the metal clip, and made them simpler to manufacture. The new plastic bases seem to play just as well (or maybe just as badly) as the old ones.

 

  • Box types:- The original throw-in figure box was similar to the corner-kicker box, but was smaller, and the tray slid out sideways. There was no display feature. This meant that the box did not change into the Chiddingstone Causeway era. The throw-in figures then appeared in the three bubble packs of the 1980s, before returning to a box (of the pitch-corner variety) in the 1990s.

  • Note that all the bubble packs shown have the plastic bases in them.

61133: Two corner kickers and two throw-in figures.
This 1990s double pack re-uses the number given to the interchangeable goalkeepers below. It is detailed on the 61222+ Hasbro page.

C133: Six Interchangeable goalkeepers.
Four diving, and two crouching goalkeepers, hand painted in yellow, white, black, green, red and blue, with two controller rods for swapping over. Essential for "international" matches.

         

Essential for international matches? How so Mr. Catalogue Writer? More essential for people who broke as many keepers as I did. (You've probably realised how clumsy I am by now!). The description above is from their first catalogue appearance in 1973/74. Later catalogues refer to them being in "assorted" colours, and certainly many variations exist. Note that one of the crouching goalkeepers in the set illustrated is a real chubber!! In fact, looking at the two sets I own, there seem to be at least three versions of crouching goalkeepers. 

    

The set was altered at the end of the 1970's when the crouching goalkeeper (C105) was replaced in the range by the goalkeeper with cap (C153). Shortly after, the four diving 'keepers were replaced with the modern version. You may notice in my illustration of the later set, that the yellow capped goalie is backwards on his base. I used him a great deal - he was brilliant ;-). The set continued into the "61" range, but had left the range by 1986.

  • Box types:- The classic early 1970s heavyweight box at the top of this page existed right through the 1970s, and there does not seem to be a hobby crest version. Early sets had the Langton Green address, and later ones the Chiddingstone Causeway.

  • The set was reboxed in the monochrome-logo era of 1981-83, and that box is also shown. This was the lightweight set, with two capped goalkeepers. The set existed as 61133 in 1984-85, and I think this was on a bubble pack, although I don't have a picture.

C134: Six Ball Boys.
Four standing and two kneeling 00 scale ball boys, hand-painted in yellow tracksuits.

     

The first new set of "stand around the pitch" (TM!) figures since C114. A nice simple addition to the range, they arrived in 1973 and refused to go away, staying on this number until 1986, before switching to the combined set of 61214, which in turn became 61239 in 1996 (when the bench set was added to it). In addition to these two sets, the ball boys appeared in one of the matchday sets in 1981-82 (C187/3). The lovely early display box shown above is another scan by Joe Butt.

Colour Variations.

   

Literally millions of ball boys in yellow tracksuits with red trim must have been produced, so it is a great relief to find them in different colours. The royal blue set above comes from Italy, and shows the inside of the display box pictured above. The second picture is a close-up of the crouching ball boy in light blue and royal blue. Like the track-suited team (C103) the colour of the plastic becomes the colour of the outfit. The last picture shows another Italian item. This time the ball boys are in red, completing the four colours also used for the track-suited teams. Many thanks to Francesco Disabato for this red version.

  • Pack types:- The lovely mid-1970s illustrated box sadly gave way to a stapled bag by the time I was playing in the late 1970s. They moved onto a bubble pack, and the 1986 end date suggests all three bubble packs being used. The earliest is shown at the top of this section.

C135: VIP Presentation Set.
Five 00 scale hand-painted figures of VIP's with miniature cup.

     

The final new set of 1973/4, this set didn't prove as durable, retiring from the range by 1981. I'm not sure why this was, as they were a well designed "stand around the pitch" group of figures, and the original presentation box was a beauty (sadly the set was later dumped into a bag and then a standard bubble pack). The figure holding the cup is clearly the Queen, but I'm not sure if the others are meant to be anybody special. The second lady is usually regarded as the Queen Mum, and the chap in blue as the Duke of Edinburgh. The other two are hangers on. To me, the guy in the yellow coat has a journalist feel to him, and the guy in grey is the usual dull businessman sponsoring the event.

Of course, the little FA cup in this set is the only trophy that is the correct size for a Subbuteo player. Instead of sitting one of your players in the top of the FA cup, they could now run around with it stuck on their arm. Hurrah. There are colour variations within this set. Most noticeably, the second woman, who has a quick dress change from pale blue, to drap grey. 

  • Pack types:- As with the ball boys, the attractive display box was replaced by a bag with header card by the late 1970s. The set was then packed onto the original bubble pack, but as its last appearance was 1980 it probably did not make the other card backs.

C136: The Subbuteo Sound.
A record of the Subbuteo World Cup song and other thrilling sounds of real-life international football.

After using all their good ideas in the six new items in 1972-74, this was what they came up with the next year. Oh dear - the words "introduced 1974-75 - dropped 1977" say it all really. The record is actually copyright 1973, and was made by Lyntone Ltd who used to press all sorts of odd tie-in and advertising-related records (usually flexi discs). The first side is about five minutes in length, with the second side slightly longer. The record is set out like an important match. The first side starts with the Wadhurst School Silver Band playing marching music, and this leads into the Subbuteo World Cup song. This is sung by the Subbuteo Games workers to the tune of "she'll be coming round the mountains", mentions going to the Munich Subbuteo World Series in the lyrics, and has a horrible catchy "Ho Ho Ho Subbuteo" chorus. You'll be humming it for weeks. I guess it's authentic in that all World Cup songs are pretty cheesy. Then there's a posh old BBC type announcer welcoming the teams onto the pitch, before the record settles down into the crowd sounds that fill up the remaining length. The crowd noise rises and falls as the game progresses, and there are whistles, and the thumps of goal kicks to add to the atmosphere. As its a kids game, the crowd are very polite, and applaud rather sweetly. I only detected one burst of booing !! There are also some crowd chants sung by the Subbuteo workers, which seem to be pasted in. Many of these have aged terribly. "Nice one Cyril" anyone? The second side finishes with the announcer summing up the match - which is pretty tricky when he doesn't know what happened.

Actually, one of my Subbuteo playing friends had a record in the 1970's of crowd sounds/singing from Anfield. Never thought of using it as a Subbuteo backdrop, but I think it might have actually worked. Nowadays, you wouldn't be able to sell a record of crowd chants to minors - without bleeping most of it out. Cool. Thanks to Chris Smith for providing a copy of the record, and Dave Noades for further information.

C137: Subbuteo Badge.
An iron-on Subbuteo Badge.

    

Another uninspired 1974/75 addition, this item allows you to add the 1970s Subbuteo logo to a t-shirt - thus ruining your cool for all time. Survived to 1980, but was gone by 1981. It matches the other short lived badge Set BB, and car sticker, Set C116 as a long forgotten promotional item. Two iron-on badges are now illustrated, the second one is a spanking colour badge (complete with instructions). However, it's the green and white one that gets its only catalogue illustration (in 1980). Still not as good as the Next t-shirts produced in the 2000s...

C138: England Team.
An OO scale England team... supplied in special team holder box.

It seemed quite a good idea to produce a separate England team, to make it easier to locate this popular kit within the range. I guess the reason it was produced was to cash in on the new and swanky 1970s England kit with the blue and red sleeve trim. After all, England kits before this date were pretty uninspired,  simply white with dark blue shorts. Until this date, Subbuteo had seemed content to leave England in the World Cup team range. Come to think of it, the World Cup teams swap to the standard range around the time England failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup - a result which would have left them in no range at all....

But I digress. This new England team arrived in 1975/76, in the final year of the big box era. So this is a large box with a card interior. The set only lasts about a year, as the team boxes were reduced in size in 1977 and Subbuteo, still toying with the format, produced C500 instead. These were special coloured team boxes designed like this one, but in the smaller size and covering thel four home nations. After that, there was a Home Countries Pack (C165) containing the four sides in the single player window boxes in a wrapper, but by 1981 they were all back in the normal C100 range again. Another cool box scan from Joe Butt here.

C139: Trainers Bench Set.
Six figures consisting of Manager, Trainers, and Reserves to seat inside the new modern, covered, all-weather bench. Reserves have red, or blue tracksuits.

    

Introduced in 1976 to replace C114, this featured the classic clear plastic bench for the first time. It also saw the end of the forgotten Ken Baily mascot. In the early sets, there were a couple of grumpy looking cloth capped folk and the reserves from C114. Later versions had redesigned reserves, a manager with his head in his hands, and one separate exercising substitute on his own base. In the later set, the plastic, and therefore the tracksuits, was usually green. This later version was also available in a two bench set, with one group in blue, and the other in red (C179). It also reappeared in the Match Day series of 1981-82(C187/2), and after being produced right through to 1995, the set was finally merged with the other remaining "stand around the pitch" sets to become part of the Stadium Services Pack (61239).

You've reached another break in the list. If you want to go lie down at this point, that's fine :-). Otherwise you can carry on to C140, which is the icing on the 1970's Subbuteo cake. Err... It's the Grandstand.


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