Subbuteo Tribute Website.
The Team Colours Project.
Appendix : International Releases.
Or more strange Subbuteo Anomalies!
The Italian Production page introduces us to teams and boxes which were produced outside of the UK for specific markets. I've also looked at the French numbering system on the Delacoste pages. This page is designed to highlight other production of Subbuteo teams outside of the UK.
Some of this information used to be on the International box sets page, which shows many of the sets related to these teams.
The Pelebol version of Subbuteo was produced in 1979 by a company named Estrela based in Sao Paulo. A big thank you to Subbuteo fan Pasquale Carrassi who lived in Brazil at the time, and has provided all the extra details for this rare edition and teams. See International box sets for more details of the range.
Pelebol had a range of six teams, which were produced in the moulded feet version of the heavyweight player. These were produced and painted in Brazil. In Europe, we don't have moulded feet players beyond the early 1970s, which suggests that the moulds may have been exported.
The kits available were as follows:
So the Brazilians avoided getting the green and yellow Santos (reference 165 in the UK range). It is also worth noting that the players have white skin, rather than all being dark like Pele (which is what we usually got in the UK). The team boxes also included an instruction manual, and a ball.
Pasquale also mentions that the figures were produced on white, red and yellow plastic for outfield players and grey for the goalkeepers.
The club edition of Pelebol was produced in two versions - 20.18.20 with Santos and Flamengo, and 20.18.21 with Corinthians and Palmeiras (teams from this later set are shown above).
Whilst Benfica arrived in the Subbuteo catalogues in 1963-64 (on ref 1), as befitting a European Cup winner, the Portuguese league arrived en-masse in the heavyweight era in the mid-1970s. This pattern was repeated across Europe, as SSG expanded into new markets. Like some of those other markets, the teams were sold in Portugal in stamped, named boxes rather than as standard numbered releases (see above).
In the UK, Portuguese top flight teams arrived on existing numbers in the 1974/75 catalogue, whilst new colours exclusive to this league became references 272-280 in 1978. This second expansion added the other Portuguese giants (Sporting, Porto, and to a lesser extent, Boavista), but also a number of minnows (CUF, Atletico, Tomar, Uniao Coimbra, and Olhanense). Trying to find a real-life year of the Portuguese league to match these releases also means looking at those on existing numbers in both catalogues (Belenenses ref 2, Leixoes and Barreirense both ref 4, Beira Mar ref 6, Guimaraes ref 21, Setubal ref 36, Montijo ref 134 in 74/75 plus Farense ref 178 in 1978).
This brings a surprising early date of 1972/73 as the best fit. The only side not in that year's top flight is ref 272 Academica, but they were promoted at the end of the season. Uniao Coimbra, Tomar and Atletico were all relegated at the end of 1972/73, and I don't think there is another year where they are all together, and other years have extra teams that Subbuteo didn't produce.
Fabricated in Portugal Under Licence (Juao Ruano).
The second era of Subbuteo in Portugal is more exciting, because they had their own production, and the teams are unique to their market.
This production does tie into another Subbuteo story though. The Italian Production page explains about a "hybrid" heavyweight figure produced by the Italian importer Edilio Parodi, because he was unhappy with the zombie figure being produced by Subbuteo Sports Games. These are known as "hybrid" figures, because they are shaped like a heavyweight player, but designed to fit into a lightweight pegged base. They are a cross between the two. Parodi could see that heavyweights were popular in Italy, and the new zombies were disliked. Arturo Parodi said in a Subbuteoworld interview "we had a figure made in Portugal by a company called Juao Ruano.... They were only done for Parodi just for a short period, maybe one year. I did not like this figure and it didn't sell well". The teams most frequently seen in the figure were Italian releases 501-509, which were produced in 1980-81, so that gives a nice date for the figure. These teams have their own unique mid-sized boxes, which were probably also part of the Portuguese production (see below).
It is not surprising that Parodi were unimpressed with this figure. The casting is pretty rough and the heads are quite comical, being either too big or too small. A replica lightweight base was also provided with these teams, but this too was not of great quality. It is recognisable, because the word Subbuteo only appears once on the inner.
However, the Portuguese factory did not just make figures for Italy, they also produced box sets and teams for their own internal market. Portuguese expert André Moura suggests a production period of 1978-85. This would perhaps explain the "splash" style boxes, but would also suggest that the hybrid figure was being produced before Parodi requested it. This would be interesting to confirm one way or another. Did the Parodi request start Subbuteo production in Portugal, or did they just take advantage of it?
The Portuguese production covered players, bases and a unique box. Whilst this box looks like the standard lift-off lid 1970s Subbuteo box, but written in Portuguese, it is actually a slightly different size. The Italian hybrid boxes use the same size and the same plastic inner, but are a slightly better quality. The Portuguese ones feature poor colour printing, and a weak cardboard!
The thing to note about many of the hybrid teams seen in Portuguese boxes is that they looks identical to the teams sold in Italy - i.e. they are recognisable Subbuteo reference numbers, which isn't the case with the Portuguese club sides shown below. Note that the Brazil has the badge of the Italian special (and that River Plate is painted correctly!). Many of these teams do not seem to have been produced in the later lightweight replica which is discussed below. The other thing to note is that the South American teams here have their regular dark skin tone, whereas the later ones on the lightweight figure are always the standard flesh tone.
The Royal Figure.
As well as the hybrids, Portuguese production also has its own lightweight figure. These are a Portuguese casting, with deformities like small feet, big heads, and "flash" on the hands. They are not too bad a replica though, the differences only really noticeable when compared side-to-side (with the Portuguese bases being the most obvious giveaway). André Moura calls these players "Royals" which seems as good a term as any, bearing in mind that they are not technically a hybrid. (He also has great names for the two hybrids shown above - Micro for the small head, and Hydra for the big one). Shown above is a Royal (in blue) next to a hand-painted SSG lightweight (in red), plus a nice look at the top of the Portuguese base. Note the larger hands and head on the Royal, and slight differences across the rest of the body.
Quite a number of these teams have turned up in internet collecting circles over the last few years, and the boxes are often still shrink wrapped. André states that many of these teams had remained unsold in toy shops until the early 1990s - or until the rise of the ebay dealer hoovered them up, as happened with Subbuteo in the UK at the same time.
I assume the actual hybrids are the earlier figure, and it would be interesting to see if they did continue to the end of production in Portugal, or whether the more common "royal" superseded them.
This picture shows André Moura's full collection of Portuguese league sides in the royal figure. He doesn't know whether there are more to find. In real life, all these teams did appear in the Portuguese top flight between 1980 and 1988. At the time, Portugal had three regional second divisions, so a lot of promotion/relegation seems to have taken place. It is interesting to note that the minnows that SSG produced as heavyweights do not feature here at all, probably because they were not in the top flight at this time. The one team here that André has not seen as a Royal is Barreirense. Again, whilst SSG had them on ref 4 in the UK during this period, they do not appear to have graced the Portuguese top flight during the 1980s (relegated in 1974!).
I've given the top flight dates for the minnows in the full list below. It is worth pointing out that unusual royals Estrela da Amadora did not arrive in the top flight until the 1988-89 season (and that year was also the first time Academico de Viseu had been in the top flight for a decade). So it is possible that team production was still running that late on.
Checking the real league tables highlighted a a couple of other teams who briefly appeared in the top flight in the "royal" period, but are not represented here. However, Covilha wore an identical kit to Sporting, and Vizela wore Porto colours. So I suppose there was no reason to produce them.
The teams whether hybrid or Royal are not numbered. Instead, team names are printed on (most of) the boxes. These are either in a small print in the "ref" space, or larger print along the bottom of the box.
Obviously, if anyone else has different sides to these, then please let me know. Hopefully there is a Boavista. The two collectors responsible for most of this information, André Moura and Marco Longinotti have never seen them. They are one of the top five Portuguese teams, so it seems inconceivable that they were not produced. Clearly, the painters didn't fancy doing the checkerboard kit, but as André rightly points out, SSG managed a reasonable heavyweight approximation with a few simple black spots.
|Portuguese League sides|
|Académica (Coimbra)||All black like its UK version (ref 272)|
|Académico de Viseu||Also all black, but white trim on sleeves and sock tops. In top flight 1988-89.|
|Agueda||Unique to this range. Red with blue sleeves and shorts, red socks with blue tops. Top flight 1983-84|
|Alcobaca||Like a short-sleeved 219. Blue and white with full trim. In top flight 1982-83.|
|Amora Sport Club Seixal||Similar to ref 5, but with light blue socks. In top flight 1980-83|
|Barreirense||This team was ref 4 in the normal range, but looks more like a 52 in this one (i.e. red shorts). Painted with short sleeves. Has only been seen as a hybrid, rather than a royal.|
|SC Beira-Mar||Yellow shirt with black trim, black shorts, black socks.|
|Belenenses||A blue and white team with arm stripes, but no collar (illustrated above).|
|Benfica||Looks like a ref 225. Red with white trim down the arms.|
|(Sporting) Braga||Like Arsenal ref 232, but with short sleeves and red cuffs.|
|Chavas||In the UK they share 472 with Barcelona. This is similar.|
|Elvas||A simple all-blue kit. (often yellow is their contrast). Top flight 1986-88|
|Sporting Espinho||Black shirts, white shorts, black socks with white trim (illustrated above).|
|Estoril||Yellow and blue. Not quite 47 or 198 with blue socks.|
|Estrela da Amadora||Wear unique red, green and white striped shirts, with white shorts and socks. Reach top flight in 1988-89.|
|Farense||Not really a 156 (which was also painted as Germany see below). Full black collar and cuffs, and short sleeves.the|
|(Vitória) Guimarăes||Simply ref 21 in the UK lists, the Portuguese version has white shirt with black sleeve trim (on short sleeves), black shorts and white socks.|
|Uniao de Leiria||All white, with a red hoop. SSG in the UK had them on 303. Top flight 1979-80 and 1988-89.|
|Marítimo||A badly painted match to UK ref 64|
|Penafiel||Like ref 14. Red shirt, black shorts, red socks with black trim.|
|Porto||Trim on the socks, but otherwise this is ref 278|
|Portimonense||Again, this actually seems to match the UK ref of 287.|
|Rio Ave||White shirt with two green stripes, white shorts with green trim, green socks with white trim.|
|Sporting (Lisbon)||Ref 277 The hybrid version is illustrated here.|
|(Vitória) Setúbal||Ref 36 in the UK catalogues. White shirt with three green stripes (and v-neck), white shorts, white socks with black top.|
|Varzim SC||Was 287 in the UK, but the Portuguese version also has some extra red trim (see illustration above).|
Once again André Moura illustrates this section with his collection of teams in the lightweight "Royal" figure. Note that the royal figures have no black players among them, with all the South American teams painted in the pale flesh colour. I assume this is because Portugal has historically close links with South America, and so it was recognised that black skin was not universal.
What is obvious from looking at this range of National sides, is that the Portuguese production here stuck closely to the colours laid out in the standard UK catalogues, rather than attempt too much accuracy, and that the team colours chosen were those from the early range (i.e. no numbers higher than 318 are attempted). This suggests that these sides were painted early in the life of this range. Portugal with green shorts and red socks makes a lot of sense though from a 1980s point of view, and it is worth noting that Bulgaria has sleeve trim, another 1980s change.
|Austria||Like ref 10|
|Belgium||Same as reference 21|
|Brazil||Like ref 50, except with white players.|
|Bulgaria||Extra Trim shown on the sleeves.|
|Chile||Here it looks like a ref 48|
|Czechoslovakia||Same as reference 231.|
|Denmark||Same as reference 225|
|England||Like reference 317|
|France||Same as reference 164|
|Germany||Same as 156|
|Greece||Same as 18|
|Hungary||Like a ref 281, and also sold as Portugal.|
|Italy||Same as 166|
|Mexico||Same as 157|
|Peru||Same as 159|
|Poland||Same as 39|
|Portugal (not surprisingly!)||Like ref 281, but also a green shorts version was produced.|
|Romania||Like ref 160|
|Russia||Like ref 161|
Like ref 318
|Spain||Like original ref 48 (blue socks, with red top).|
|Sweden||Same as ref 162 complete with cross.|
|Uruguay||Same as 163|
|Yugoslavia||Same as 149|
The Portuguese Generic sides.
These teams were provided in some of the Portuguese box sets. All are simply all one colour outfits. As is shown, the bases do not always match the team kits. André Moura tells us that the blue/red teams, and oddly the brown/light blue are the most common variations. All the others are rare.
Historic page updates.
November2007: I've improved the picture selection, and it now matches the rest of the website. Note that Académica, Estoril and Portimonense above are in the hybrid heavyweight copy. I've also seen Braga in this figure, and suspect that most of the teams were produced in both figures.
September 2008: A big thank you to Fabrizio Frazzoni who supplied the picture of Porto.
October 2017: Amora have been squeezed in. Many thanks to Marco Longinotti for sending this one in.
April 2018: A batch of these teams surfaced at Subbuteoworld, with several that were new to me. Details updated.
December 2020: Portuguese collector André Moura has provided a much bigger list of both the Portuguese and International teams, and all are now included. As my hard earned collection of team scans are bigger pictures (and as some are in the hybrid h/w rather than the royal figure), I've added André's collection pictures, but left the existing ones.
Spanish Company Juguetes Borras made officially licenced products around the time of the 1982 World Cup hosted in Spain. As well as a couple of box sets, they also produced a both an accessory and team range in their own attractive boxes. Unlike most Subbuteo markets, Spain produced their own number range for their teams. For instance, the team shown above is Athletic Bilbao, who arrived in the UK team lists around this time at number 440. Here they are reference 2.
Spanish catalogues dated 1980 and 1983 have now enabled me to fill in this section. It seems that a range of 54 teams was established by 1980, featuring a full Spanish league range featuring an amazing thirty two different references. Within this range was 37 different teams, which must have been at least two full divisions of the Spanish league. The list was then completed with 22 of the top selling national and club sides that featured in most of the international ranges, such as West Germany, Liverpool, Juventus etc. By 1983 the list had increased to 62 sides, with this expansion allowing the range to cover all the sides at the 1982 World Cup.
The teams that have come to light have revealed two different box types. If you compare the box shown here with the Bilbao one, it should be apparent that this version has a window, and a different interior layout. In addition, whilst the Bilbao box has a lift off lid, this one is a card wrap with a slide out tray.
Excitingly for lightweight collectors, many of the teams shown in the Spanish catalogues are unique to this range. Most do not appear in the standard UK range. There is a nice example above - ref 11 Rayo Vallecano. This team (which looks like a white skinned Peru) never appears in the UK or Italian catalogues, and you had to wait until the 2003 Parodi range before it featured again.
The teams that did transfer into the UK range were added in the team list between 424 and 440. The most interesting thing here are the gaps between these teams. Here the Spanish sides were on numbers 424, 425, 431, 433, 439 and 440. It must be assumed that some of the other Spanish sides were pencilled in for worldwide issue, but then not released.
Frustrating, there doesn't seem to be a way to match the Spanish sides to the UK gaps, alphabetically or otherwise. Of course, there are thirty-two Spanish references here, and only seventeen spaces between 424 and 440. However, the Spanish sides repeat the French pattern of duplicating kits on different references (1&3, 31&38, 15&36 etc), something the standard range does not do. In addition, many of the teams are duplicates of standard sides. So ref 13 is UK21, and 16 is UK144.
There are further troubles with the catalogue illustrations. All the teams usually produced with black players are shown in the standard flesh colour. This makes Cameroon look like a different side. However, the real teams such as El Salvador, shown above, and Honduras were produced with the correct players. However, Peru were added to the description of Rayo Vallecano in 1983, but this was not a black side in Spain. Then we come to sock trim. There are four blue and white striped sides with white shorts, all with different sock trim. It's hard to believe that Subbuteo in the UK would have bothered with this at the time. Many other teams have different socks compared with UK references. However, the accuracy of this must be questioned, as even the international teams vary (see 40, 52, 43 etc). In addition to this, the hoops and stripes on shirts and socks have been outlined in black and then coloured in. This makes ref 26 look like Plymouth (UK54) but it should just have a green bar on the shirt.
All this means that I've felt the need to add notes to the team list as shown below. I've pointed out the existing references closest to the Spanish teams, shown as UKxxx to reduce confusion. It is interesting that Barcelona looks more like UK464 from 1983, than the earlier ref 19. This suggests further feedback to the UK range, and I wonder whether the non-illustrated Alaves (UK478) and Zaragoza (UK479) were also meant to come from this range.
December 2007: A big thank you to Jesús Ridao, James Hardcastle, and regular helper
Eddie Lang for sending the catalogues to me.
June 2021: Another huge thank you, this time to Spanish collector Julio Candelas, who took the time to photograph his boxed collection of these teams. This enables us to compare the catalogue images with reality for the Spanish league teams. This is very useful, as the catalogue images are not too accurate with regard to the national sides taken from the English range, and of course the catalogue printing left a lot to be desired.
It is worth noting that two of Julio's players here have had their hair painted blond, but there is no other evidence of repainting on the larger pictures of his collection (as always they have sadly been reduced for the site).
Honduras - Unique to Spain, and has been seen on ebay. A blue Honduras was sold on UK405
Irlanda (Northern Ireland) - (UK320)
The following couple of countries do not seem to have produced their own stock. Nevertheless, things in their catalogues need to be commented on.
Subbuteo arrived early in Holland, with flat Dutch sets having been spotted in collecting circles. The Subbuteo Club Edition goes Continental in the early 1970s, with "Table Football" quoted in four languages, Dutch, German, Italian and French. The Dutch league was also the first outside the UK to get its own teams arriving en-bloc in the standard list with teams 82-89.
The early 1970s Dutch catalogue was similar to the UK ones, but there were anomalies in the team colour list. This list was not illustrated, sadly, but was instead laid out like the English catalogues prior to 1973. However, the Dutch sides had been promoted to the top of the teams listed under each number in the range, which also happened with the German catalogues of the time. In addition to this, all the smaller English and Scottish sides were removed, so many of the numbers were completely lacking any team names.
The descriptions are in Dutch of course, and have been simplified. For instance, the Arsenal shirts on No16 are just described as "rood met wit" - or "red and white" if you prefer. This simplification becomes annoying when you study the descriptions of the new Dutch sides issued on numbers 82 and 89. The team names are identical to the later English catalogues, but the descriptions do not always match -
If anyone can confirm that these original sides existed (and/or can provide pictures!) I would be very grateful.
The catalogue also has a reduced accessory range featuring C100, C102, C107, C108, C117, C118, C119, C120, C122, C127, set F, set M, set N, and set Z. In addition, the rules get their own strange, probably pulled out of a hat numbers:-
Many thanks to Eddie Lang for photocopying the Dutch paperwork for this site.
Like the Dutch, the Germans also had a 1970s catalogue from their distributors, Schnipp & Schuss. However, all the range and team numbers were unchanged to the UK versions (although the catalogue missed out numbers 77 to 126.
In the 1980s Subbuteo Tisch Fussball gained a new distributor named Jumbo. They produced their own box sets, called Europa Cup and World Cup (which can be seen on the International box sets page). They backed these up with a range of common accessories and twenty four teams. Both teams and accessories were re-numbered, which was logical to keep things simple on a small range.
The teams were lightweights sold in the horizontal display boxes, and for the record were as follows:-
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