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Peter Upton's

Subbuteo Tribute Website.

Card Games and Collectables.

Any visitors who are old time Subbuteo addicts (like me!) were probably dismayed in the mid 1990s when  new Subbuteo owners Hasbro used the brand and its Premiership license, to produce a collectable card game. "What has that got to do with Subbuteo?" we grumbled as Hasbro jumped on the collectable card band wagon. Not much. It did bring the Subbuteo name back into prominence for a couple of years, but that was about it.

I remember thinking at the time, that if Hasbro had wanted to produce a "pocket money" priced collectable,  why didn't they sell packs of random Subbuteo players. That would allow collectors to build up teams - at first you'd be saving for a five-a-side team, and eventually you might get a full eleven a side. And you could swap with your mates, and they could give them away in breakfast cereal packets. Also, you could have eleven different player kits in blue bases, vs eleven in red - and that would work fine. Is anyone else thinking "Corinthians" at this point?? Corinthians with the added bonus of being a tried and tested playable game.... not a thing to collect dust on shelves.

But alas no, a collectable card game was the result. Now I've not bothered with this before, but as this site now covers just about every other Subbuteo product ever produced, it seems stupid to leave it out. Besides which, it wasn't exactly setting a precedent - Peter Adolph also produced a Subbuteo card game called Soccer Market back in the 1940s.. In addition, he also produced two series of collectable cards which were given away free with 1950s accessories. All these items are covered on this page.

Soccer Market (1948-1950s).
A football card game for the odd moment.


This game was mentioned on the earliest Subbuteo paperwork I've ever seen, and continued to appear in the companion sports games catalogues of the 1950s. It's price remained at 5s 3d for the whole of the 1950s. As I've not played the game myself, I'll let Peter Adolph' s advertising blurb sell the product to you...   

"Here is a playing card game that is different! Each set of Subbuteo Soccer Market consists of four famous football teams, designed in their respective club colours, and in the form of individual 'action' coloured drawings of the footballers on playing cards, with the Transfer System of real Association Football as a background.
Here is your chance to become the manager of your favourite team, and lead your club to considerable financial success during each round of play. When you play this exciting new game the pounds will fall into your bank"
That doesn't seem very likely... in fact, for whoever bought this game when it was on ebay (as illustrated above), the pounds fell out of his bank !!!

The advert doesn't stop there is its glowing praise. It also adds the following:

Many thanks to Norman Walker who provided the catalogue I've been quoting. If anyone has played this game, and would like to review it for the site, then please e-mail me :-)


The four teams within this set have been known to vary. At the moment I only have details of two versions, but if anyone has different teams, then let me know.

Rules (and they are rather basic).

Discards from every player's hand should be carefully watched as every move made will help reveal the positions that are required to complete a team. By planning moves in advance it is possible to hold up deliberately an opponent player's complete team.

Famous Footballers Series 1 and 2 (1950s).


Similar to the cigarette cards of their day (or PG Tips cards for us youngsters), these cards were given away with Subbuteo sets and accessories. I'm not sure of the era, but I believe they are from the 1950s.  I assume that they were included with any teams you bought - or it would be difficult to buy enough accessories to get a whole set. (and I've seen whole sets on ebay, so someone must've collected them). They were successful enough to warrant Peter Adolph producing a second series  - each series containing 24 cards. The players featured are as follows:-

Series One

Series Two

  1. A Sherwood (Cardiff City)
  2. J Froggatt (Portsmouth)
  3. J Charles (Leeds)
  4. R Bentley (Chelsea)
  5. J Carey (Man Utd)
  6. S Bartram (Charlton Athletic)
  7. R Burgess (Tottenham Hotspur)
  8. R Allen (West Brom)
  9. W Liddell (Liverpool)
  10. W Holden (Burnley)
  11. W Elliott (Sunderland)
  12. R D Blanchflower (Aston Villa)
  13. A Brown (Blackpool)
  14. S Matthews (Blackpool)
  15. W Eckersley (Blackburn Rovers)
  16. P Farrell (Everton)
  17. D Hickson (Everton)
  18. J Pye (Luton Town)
  19. E Quigley (Blackburn Rovers)
  20. I Allchurch (Swansea T)
  21. A Forbes (Arsenal)
  22. W Moir (Bolton Wanderers)
  23. W Shortt (Plymouth A)
  24. J Morris (Leicester C)
  1. S Gerrie (Hull City)
  2. F Bowyer (Stoke City)
  3. B Jezzard (Fulham)
  4. A Graver (Lincoln City)
  5.  W Mannion (Middlesborough)
  6. V Metcalfe (Huddersfield T)
  7. W Ardon (Nottingham F)
  8. L F Shackleton (Sunderland)
  9. L Boyd (Birmingham City)
  10. E Massey (Bury)
  11. G Guest (Rotherham U)
  12. P Doherty (Doncaster R)
  13. T Lawton (Brentford)
  14. D J Lishman (Arsenal)
  15. W Wright (Wolverhampton W)
  16. B Williams (Wolverhampton W)
  17. N Lofthouse (Bolton Wanderers)
  18. G Merrick (Birmingham City)
  19. I Broadis (Manchester City)
  20. J Stamps (Derby County)
  21. E Baily (Tottenham Hotspur)
  22. J Milburn (Newcastle United)
  23. J Hagan (Sheffield United)
  24. J Sewell (Sheffield Wednesday)

I don't propose illustrating all these cards, because this might suggest that all the Squads cards should also be detailed - and there is no way that I'm doing that !

The 50 card set.

While the Famous Footballer cards of the 1950s are usually seen in two sets of twenty four, there is a much rarer version which was produced as one set of 50 cards. Alan Jenkins kindly sent me the above picture showing the back of one of these cards. As you can see, this player was also No16 in the split series, and the cards are otherwise identical to the two smaller sets. Alan mentions that while the two normal sets are not that rare in card collecting circles, the fifty card set never turns up, and so at present he has been unable to ascertain which two footballers are on the extra two cards. If anyone knows, we'd both be grateful if they could e-mail the website. Whether this bigger set was produced earlier or later than the two series version, I don't know.

Subbuteo Squads (1996).

Finally, we come to Hasbro's Squads game - produced in 1996. I'm not a big card game fan, and my football sticker collecting days finished with Panini Football '83 or thereabouts - so I didn't buy this game during its time in the shops, and I'm not sure what was variations etc were available. 

As with other card games, you started playing by buying a 45 card Squad deck for each player. The packs contained 40 players and 5 incidents, (plus rules spread across both sides of another ten cards). You could then buy extra foil packs containing eight cards to improve your squad, along with details of training sessions and special skills. The Premiership Pro Edition shown above was a deluxe set, which could be used as a stand alone game, or as an expansion pack. It included a useful game board, plus 110 new player cards, and 15 new incident cards. In addition it had 20 manager cards, and 20 ground cards, complete with rules to add these to your game. The set does have one link to normal Subbuteo. In the standard rules, it suggests you use a coin as the ball. In this set, they've included two halves of a Subbuteo Premiership ball, which you use instead. The ball in my set has black logos, and is therefore different to the three Premiership balls shown with set 61234 (which have red, green and blue logos respectively).

The above illustration shows some card variations, on both sides of the cards. The West Ham player, Danny Williamson, is from a foil pack. This card has a lack of player details, and a simple design on the reverse. Matt Le Tissier comes from a standard 45 card squad deck, and Steve Harkness comes from the Premier League Edition. These two cards  have colour differences (especially on the back), but the player details are the same.

All my cards are from the English Premiership, but I'm sure the game was also sold in other European countries - tied to the appropriate leagues.

That's all I'm going to do with the card games. If you are a Squads fan, I'm afraid you'll have to look elsewhere on the internet for more details.

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