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Peter Upton's

Subbuteo Tribute Website.

What's New for 2024. Tunbridge Wells World Cup Year.

Well, Hello !!

Welcome to the What's New page for 2024. Anything updated or added to the site over the next twelve months will feature here.

It looks like we're into "year four" of the monthly updates for this aging website. As usual, I still have a few more things planned, but the stuff that other collectors send in are usually the stars of the show. This year's updates started with a useful page of International rule books to aid collectors, and a bit of fun with Clyde Best. The key thing here is that other collectors will love to see your stuff. So if you have something interesting to share, please send it in. It doesn't have to be crazy rare. The site looks pretty comprehensive these days, but there are always gaps. Look at the fun Ashley and I have had filling in the box types on the accessory pages. There was all sorts of common things missed off. Find something quirky? Send it in.

If you have been using the 2023 Updates page to navigate the website, it has joined the 2020 Updates; 2021 Updates and 2022 Updates and in the archives. Follow the links to find all the stuff you may have missed if you've not visited for a while.....

As previously, I need to start with a big thank you to Alan Lee of The Wobbly Hobby Shop who is (still) providing the technology on which this website gets updated, and indeed put out into the world. Without it, I probably wouldn't be online at all. So send Alan and the Wobbly Hobby Shop some love.

Alan's grand plan is to get us all playing the game once more, and the last three years have seen new clubs, new tournaments, and a big Subbuteo Festival launched. Pretty impressive in a time of Covid restrictions. Now these have eased, it is time for all of us to get out and about once more. Be sure to check out your local table soccer club, where you are certain to find a warm, friendly atmosphere. I'll update my news section as appropriate, and don't forget to check out the  English Subbuteo Association website for activities in your area.

Alan is working hard this year on arranging the FISTF (Subbuteo) World Cup, which is coming to Subbuteo's original home town of Tunbridge Wells for 2024. Watch the web for exciting events based around this important and long-running competition.

Whilst on the subject of top level competition, here is a little collaboration with another useful and entertaining historical football research website - Pete's Picture Palace. Pete's interest is vintage press photos, and his site forms a useful catalogue of football in times past. He contacted my site having discovered this old press photograph from 1976. The description accompanying it is as follows:

“A friendly international in Rome as Stefano Beverini of Italy (left - playing) and Norman Gleave of England battle it out, watched by celebrity fan Denis Law - wonder whom he was supporting? - and famous Subbuteo ref Mike Thomas with the moustache on the far left”.

Obviously, Denis Law was the main draw for the photographer, and it is nice to see him watching so intently. Stefano Beverini, (who looks like a rock star of the period!), was the top Italian player of the time. He was Italian champion in 1975-76, and his book "Panno Verde Subbuteo. Io, Beverini..." was offered for sale in Italian distributor Edilio Parodi's catalogues. Norman Gleave was part of a Golden Age of English table soccer. He and Mike Dent were competitive in European competition in a way that British players have struggled to be ever since. The pair both made the final of the prestigious Europa Cup in 1976 (held in Malta), although it was Mike Dent who came out on top on that occasion.

The action is from one of the promotional internationals of the period, arranged by Subbuteo Sports Games Limited. This probably explains why both players are using heavyweights, as the English Table Soccer Assn players of the period still tended to favour the flats (which the company was keen to discourage obviously). 

I've realised that as the updates head up the page now, nobody is going to scroll down to the news section. So they have to be up here instead. A really clever retro-poster for this year's SubbuteoFest at Haverhill Rovers Club 1st-2nd June. Of course, it's a World Cup year for table soccer. As usual, there is a choice of table soccer tournaments to cater for all players - a FISTF International Open for the modern style, an Old Rules tournament for all you heavyweight lovers, and a Flats Tournament for the real oldies among you! As always, full details are on the The Wobbly Hobby Shop website.

Note that due to requests, the What's New page scrolls in the opposite direction this year, so the latest updates will always be at the top of the page.

Updates for April 2024.

These days, whenever I say to friends that I've spent a couple of days updating the website, they always ask the same question. "Aren't you running out of things to put on there?". You'd think so. Then scroll down this update page for the first four months of the year. No I'm not running out. Where it all comes from is anybody's guess. Let's take a peek at this month's goodies - Shop displays. Streakers. Bauhaus. What more could you want?

Shop Displays.

The shop display page is one of a few that use a bigger picture size, but even these still seem inadequate sometimes. Peter Winstanley kindly sent in pictures of his 1990s "Goal" shop stand in 2020, and we now have a couple of trade catalogue pictures showing the thing filled to the brim with early 1990s goodies.

Netcam Subbuteo 2012 onwards.


The Netcam page is becoming one of the most complicated pages on the site, and I think it really needs more than one page. If I could work out how to do it cleanly I would.

This is another weird Netcam variation. The all-white Paul Lamond England team release, shown on the right is owned by Phil Eccles. Looking at the site, he realised that the England team I'd illustrated (that I own - on the left) has team numbers on the front of the shirt and the shorts, but his team does not. Phil's side has nice all-red bases as well. After he pointed this out, I was looking at the Astrobase website (for something else) and realised that their stock matches Phil's UK release. It does beg the question "How much product have Netcam (and now Longshort) been shifting?". It is so hard to buy the stock anywhere, but they must be selling as obviously the teams need to be reprinted.

Box sets in the 21st Century - I've updated this summary page with the various known Longshore sets, from the Longshore Products page (so no new pictures). I've moaned a bit on here about lack of releases by Longshore, but if you wanted all the international variants of their box sets, you'd be looking at eighteen or so editions. That'd fill your house. Most are pretty generic though. You'd essentially be buying different box lids.

21st century branded products.


Whilst in town looking for a birthday card, I discovered a Subbuteo card in WH Smiths. Adding it to my picture files, I realised I had a picture of some modern wrapping paper as well. Anyone fancy a Subbuteo themed birthday party? Okay, just me then.

The A-Z range (A-M), C140-C169, C170-C193 etc. A Load of Old Balls*

In the Ashley assisted huge picture overhaul of the accessory pages, I'd skipped doing the standard/small ball packs... I wonder if you can tell why. This update includes ball packs with brown, white, and orange balls under Sets F and FF, and then C144 and C145, which include those sold as C144F, and C145FF. Oh, and 61144/61145 of course. Time to check your balls again (no, not like that). For a little bit of variety, we also have a set of rugby balls under a generic card label.

Sneaking into my inbox at the end of the month was a 61191 High Bounce balls pack on the late card backing. A big thank you to ball collector Diego Bonventi for this unusual little set.

*I got beaten to the Load of Old Balls punch by football historian Simon Inglis, who used it for a wonderful little guide to the surviving historic balls from England's many, many different ball games. And yes, Subbuteo gets mentioned and is illustrated. Published by English Heritage in 2004, it is well worth finding a copy if you are interested in sporting history.

Cricket Accessories

Ashley's trip through cricket packaging has turned up these two extra items. I thought that this was the Bowler figure I didn't have shown in a packet, but on reaching the page I realised that was TC-M, the OO scale bowler (so there is a challenge for you all). However, as this bowler is assembled, and the other version was sold unassembled, I left him in. Also, the 1960s Deck Chair pack has an illustration because... well, just because. Green plastic chairs in this early pack.

Players Association products.

Another Subbuteo Association price list has surfaced, allowing this page of promotional gubbins to grow a little. The key previously unmentioned item to keep an eye out for is a green and white Subbuteo belt (with gilt buckle no less). It would be nice to get a colour picture of this. This second list also features the known Subbuteo baseball cap. I've seen this in green within the community, but have yet to see a white version. I've also added a few more t-shirts and sweatshirts from the big tournaments of the 1990s. Someone had fun designing the logos for these events held in the dying days of the original Subbuteo era, making some colourful t-shirts.

Zeugo Superfooty etc, Misc Unofficial items.

With the retirement of table soccer seller Tom Taylor, and the closure of the Woodentop shop, I had assumed that the legendary Streakers set had passed quietly into history. Pleasingly, it has been pointed out to me that Italian table soccer producer Astrobase had added the set to their Soccer 3D range. So once again you can flick policemen after an OO scale naked person. Bravo. That said, the set is currently out of stock on their website. I adore the picture on the box inner sleeve, where the ladies look like their dull afternoon at the footie has just improved markedly...

Newfooty team lists

This is where the site turns into "not Subbuteo" updates. First up, rather amazingly, are another three Newfooty teams in the 3D figure. As I've previously mentioned, when this site first started in the late 1990s, these figures were regarded as "prototypes", and a near mythical release. Turns out Crestlin managed to sell quite a few of them in their short lifespan.

Cricket Clones

Sorting out my downloads folder reminded me that I had been sent a few more pictures of 1990s cricket board game Wicketz. If you are new to the site, this game featured the same figures as Subbuteo cricket. Anyway, this information included more pictures of the impressive wooden collector's edition, plus a newspaper article from 1996 which explained a bit more of the history of the game, alongside the prices of the various editions. The wooden cabinet versions of the game were seriously pricy! Wow.

I've also taken the opportunity to add a few details to the information on Tom Taylor's Anchorman table cricket game, which was a true replica of Subbuteo cricket made in India with brass figures. My Woodentop catalogue from 2005 had pricing details on the various editions and teams that were available. It also had more details of the Streaker set that was produced for the cricket game. There is a tiny picture of this which I'll attempt to scan at some point!

Aquila Table Soccer (Prototype).


For non-regulars, Aquila was a final attempt at an "improved" table soccer game by Subbuteo inventor Peter Adolph, after he parted company with Waddingtons (and therefore Subbuteo Sports Games Ltd) in the early 1970s. He involved his teenage son Mark in the project, and Mark's tale of the game is found in his biography of his father.

I had seen the prototype set before (I think Mark displayed one at Tunbridge Wells museum, although I might have misremembered). However, I regretted only having small photographs of the set for the site. Anyway, further items have come to light within the community, and were picked up by my internet watcher Ashley (if they are yours, please contact me for a credit!). It gives the site nice pictures of the key "Animated Striker" figure, which was central to the whole experiment. It has also allowed me to show the prototype accessory box, and the players from the box set. The game looks like an attempt to replicate both Subbuteo and the more action orientated rival Striker.

Striker - Parker versions

Talking of Striker, a couple of Parker Games trade catalogues have come to light, and they give official release reference numbers for the original sets, teams and accessories. Plus some rather lovely pictures, that I couldn't resist. And a glamorous assistant. What more could you want? I have lots of Striker team pictures to add over the next couple of months, so keep an eye out for that if Striker is your thing.

Bauhaus Pottery !!

These are amazing. This was sent in by friend of the site Dr Hans-Peter Hock, who you might remember had an exhibition of table soccer in its many forms staged in Germany last year. This stunning (and expensive) high art pottery looked a little familiar to him, and me. Would those kits clash? (the bases do). I'm very tempted to reproduce them on a Santiago. They would make a cracking spare goalkeeper. Harlequins rugby club inspired?

I left the little Bauhaus building in the shot, to show how serious this stuff is. Bauhaus was a German Art School of the inter-war years (1919-33). The era of Modernism. Of course, if you are my age then Bauhaus was actually an English rock band famous for "Bela Lugosi's Dead" from 1979. "Undead, undead, undead". It was nine minutes long. That's value for money in a single.

Apparently, the European Community have launched a "New European Bauhaus" initiative, probably relating to the centenary of the founding of the original school. Or 40 years of Bela Lugosi's Dead. One or the other. The mission statement on Wikipedia sounds like every other mission statement of the last 20 years...

"The NEB is a creative and interdisciplinary movement that connects the European Green Deal to everyday life. It is a platform for experimentation aiming to unite citizens, experts, businesses and institutions in imagining and designing a sustainable, aesthetic and inclusive future." Honestly, that sentence includes every single buzz word of the 21st century... but I guess if our sustainable, aesthetic inclusive future contains Subbuteo then we're in right?

More stuff next month if you are unlucky.

Updates for March 2024.

Longshore Products 2020 onwards

Late last year, I was bemoaning the lack of new items from both Longshore and University Games in the UK. So this little item previewed at the January Toy Trade Fair was a bit of a surprise. Although it is called an electronic scoreboard on the box, it looks more like an electronic timer (I think it displays both scores and times). It certainly doesn't look like a scoreboard from a children's game. Nor will it fit into a Subbuteo stadium diorama. However, most modern club/circuit players have an electronic kitchen timer in their kit bag so that they can accurately time games. I am sure most of these people would love a proper Subbuteo branded version of that. Will this do the job?

I still don't think Longshore and partners really know what market they are aiming for. Kids? Collectors? Adult players? I'm guessing their perfect products would please all three groups. This one has gone on my wants list anyway. Lets hope it counts down and not up, and so is useful as a match timer. I looked at the review on The Hobby (previously Subbuteo online) and he is seeing it more as a scoreboard, and therefore a toy. Am I just being optimistic about the timer function? We will just have to wait and see.


With the teams in the modern range, a few more of the old Paul Lamond teams are finally switching over to University Games stock, which means new players and an amended box. I found this out when a couple of teams I'd ordered from a toy shop in the post-Xmas sales finally turned up. The red/white/black team was still in the old stock, but the sky blue/white was new. Most sites use the same generic pictures so it's a lottery, but looking at Subbuteoworld (which is aimed at collectors as well of course) shows that both the black and white striped team, and the blue and white striped team are also available in the updated format. The team codes remain the same, so I don't know whether this really counts as new products, but at least the team range is still being produced for the UK, which is encouraging (and not obvious from the official Subbuteo site).

On a worldwide front, the distributor list on the official Subbuteo website has updated. There is now a distributor in New Zealand (Findlays), and the distributor in Italy is now Rocco Giocattoli. Their website has the Astropitch and the Roma team available among the more standard stuff.

Spanish Borras Editions 1982

Frequent helper Ashley Hemming has been researching the accessory boxes for the Borras range over the last few months, and this has allowed me to fully illustrate this unusual overseas production. It has the added advantage of adding some unique content to the Borras Editions page, which was previously just a combination of items shown on the International Editions and team range pages. The accessory boxes look robust, and make a nicely unified set. There was even a box for the balls, which I was previously unaware of (as they were also sold on a bubble card).

I like the fact that the fence advertisements in this range show other Borras products. Perhaps a reason to own yet another green fence...

Pelebol 1979


The Brazilian Pelebol range didn't have a fence surround sadly, and had to make do with a range of just four accessories (goals, 'keepers, balls, pitch). However, as another page that was constructed from details on the international sets/teams pages, once again it is great to be able to add some extra details to make the whole Pelebol experience more worthwhile. First up, at least two catalogues featuring Pelebol items have surfaced. This gives some nice professional pictures of sets when they were shiny and new, and also confirms all the reference numbers I had previously quoted. In addition, a couple of the Pelebol accessories have now been spotted in real life, including the only accessory sold in a box (the goalkeepers).

Cricket Accessories

A further update of the Cricket accessories page has occurred, showing a few more items in their packaging, including the rarer sky blue box for the cricket fence, and a named bag for the pitch. Most of the bagged accessories now show an example of the 1970s header card for completeness sake. They are all pretty similar really, although it is worth pointing out that some have the Tunbridge Wells address, and some have the later Tonbridge one. Did they produce Tyne and Wear headed cards?

Rugby accessories

How about a couple of rugby accessory pictures as well? Okay then, here are a couple of football boxes converted to the rugby game.

Accessories C101-C110

A floodlight update. What would we do without one of these? Ashley has kindly recreated my original Floodlight range picture, showing more variations than I owned when my original was taken. That picture was taken well over twenty years ago, with a really low-res webcam. It is showing its age. We've also updated John Shelley's floodlight lecture a little, adding in a couple of variations. But it still holds up pretty well. The long-lived girder floodlights are really an icon of Subbuteo. Beautiful, if hopeless in use!


I think Colin Forward's new team website (see below) will eventually cover the zombie in more detail than I've managed. Nevertheless, a single player reference page does still seem useful and attractive. I recently had an email from Lorenzo Ogliosi with reference 99 as a zombie, which was one I'd never seen. In my archive, I found that I still had quite a few interesting team pictures acquired from ebay a few years back, waiting for an excuse to be added to the site. Ashley added a few of his own (and has more). So here is a quick zombie update dedicated to Lorenzo and to all the other zombie fans out there. I have more to add in the coming months. If anyone owns something unusual then please send it in.

SUBBUTEO TEAM CATALOGUE – The Full List of Every Team ever made by Subbuteo and its Spritual Successors (subbuteoteamscatalogue.com)

It is not just Ashley who has been busy over the last couple of months. Colin Forward, who owns the Zeugo catalogue website is trying to collate all the variations of Subbuteo teams in one place. Quite a challenge!! His heavyweight pages just show a ridiculous number of base variations. And I personally own another couple that are not there yet. Marvel at all those huge team collections that you would never be able to a) afford, and b) store! Then be pleased that all those obscure sides still exist out there somewhere. Hurrah for people who didn't de-clutter.

A new base variation site has given me the chance to once again display this beautiful Burnley away on two-tone blue bases, which was one of my favourites when I was a kid. I picked this up second hand, and never knew who it really represented (reference 80 was blank in the 1979 catalogue, and dropped from 1981, the two I owned as a kid). So when I was running a "Roy of the Rovers" style soap opera in my bedroom, my little local side come good were represented in their mazy cup runs by this mystery team. And they never had to play in an away kit, because no other teams I owned clashed with this one. Happy days. I never broke one either. That was a miracle in itself.

I have to mention that this Burnley away looks lovely as a zombie as well (see the zombie pics above).

Colin's existing Zeugo team colours website has been incorporated into the new version. I've hopefully amended all the links on this site!

Updates for February 2024.

New Page - Trade Items.


This is a bit of a clean-up page. I've been sitting on quite a few pictures of Subbuteo ephemera with nowhere to display them properly. So they are now lumped under trade items. Included in the mix is a list of stockists, an invoice, some complement slips, a wall planner... plus envelopes and letterhead. If it had a Subbuteo logo on it, and you couldn't buy it.... it may well be here. Mostly "throw away" stuff that really shouldn't have survived.

The page was coming up a little short (or maybe it was a little boring), so the trade catalogues have been added in, even though they are also in the catalogue section. This new page does allow a few extra internal shots though, which is useful and hopefully informative. The trade catalogues are all attractive colour brochures, and well worth collecting.

Old heavyweights

Ashley Hemming finally found a decent sized ohw Italy picture to complete this row of figures. We'd both seen nice full team shots down the years, including a named box, but the players have always been too small to fit nicely into my rows. I had blown up a different picture last year, and that didn't look too blocky... but then I didn't have the original .bmp to amend, and didn't want to degrade the .jpg unnecessarily. Luckily, this version then dropped in. I do own much nicer Argentina and Brazil players these days (as shown on the Black players in Subbuteo page), so I really should clean those up... Once I dig up the original bitmap.

Accessories C101-C110; Rugby accessories


The floodlight box variations get more complicated every month. Here is the original white pylon box from 1971, with interesting variations. The first picture shows the 1960s white card interior, the grey light boxes, and stickers on the front of the box with the Set A/Set B options. The single pylon version is from later in the 1970s, and now has a green interior, and the options printed straight onto the box. Also shown here is the same box with a rugby sticker, for when it was R201 instead. (oh and a bagged Set RM whilst we are looking at the rugby accessories).


Ashley has sent me various pictures of C169 down the years, hoping I would update the tiny catalogue picture used. Part of his set displayed in front of his stadium is very pretty though, so that has made the cut. Hurrah. Interestingly, he sent another picture of the set featuring more of the usual boards that this set has (the comics), but this set has the later Lozenge style Subbuteo logos, rather than the Hobby Crest version. Neither of us had seen this late variation before. Time to check those sets (again).

International Rule Books

A few more international rule books dropped into this new page. Lots more to find I suspect. Keep looking.

Subbuteo clones - Introduction

I felt like doing a little bit of painting over the cold and wet winter months, so I ordered a selection of blanks from Mark Parker at Santiago. This allowed me to finally acquire a couple of empty Santiago rugby boxes for a Fiji and an Argentina that I had painted many years ago, which have long needed proper boxes. It also allowed me to take a picture of this rather striking Santiago box for the rugby clones area of the website. The boxes are a limited edition, and they are lovely. Do I need to buy a Top Spin rugby set to go alongside them though?


I found this black and white picture in my archives, sent by a mystery Italian Subbuteo "detective" many years ago. He was sure it was the inspiration for Subbuteo's 1960s box art. As the picture is from the 1960 edition of the European Championships, and as the new Continental sets arrived in late 1961 this is possible. What do you all think? There was quite a bit of Subbuteo box art down the years, and I wonder who was responsible. The Airfix box artists are rightly celebrated. Subbuteo artists are sadly unsung!

Updates for December 2023/January 2024.

Don't forget to check out No. 6 in my "Moments in Time" series, which looks at the real life inspiration to Subbuteo team production, and always features at the bottom of this page. This time around it is the Belgian league of 1983-84. These will probably get collated into their own page once I run out of good candidates. There are still a few more to enjoy I suspect.

International Rule Books

I thought I'd start the year off with a bang, and a page of International rule books. These tended to be unique until the mid 1980s, when the Green Sheet rules had multiple languages on a great big fold out poster, which probably annoyed everyone. I've pulled in the rule book illustrations from across the site, and then added quite a few extras. Above are a selection of late 1970s books that were clearly produced to a template (Belgium, Denmark and Portugal if you are interested).

The Japanese rulebooks are currently on Subbuteoworld, and some of the Scandinavian stuff I've had to borrow from the wonderful Subbuteo Museum. Otherwise, I've had a deep dive of my files, and Ashley has been "picture searching" online to fill in some of the blanks. I'm guessing there are more though. Currently, there is only one Italian booklet is illustrated, so lets see some more of those!

Longshore Products 2020 onwards

The page featuring the range of current Subbuteo licence holders Longshore doesn't see a great number of updates, does it? Even less for the UK distributor University Games, with the Liverpool sets from 2022 being the last update I'd managed. Here at least, is something new dated to 2023 for the UK market. It is a small training kit, featuring a goal, a target board, three cones, a ball and a man. For £9.95. There is no pitch in this one, so consider it an add-on. If you want a proper training pitch, then Subbuteoworld have produced one - recreating the old version in accessory C189 (from 1983), but in a modern astropitch style.

Netcam Subbuteo 2012 onwards

I'd mentioned the final two Netcam Champions League accessories on this page, but not added illustrations. Well, here they are. Scrolling through the busy Netcam page does highlight how little product we are getting in the Longshore era.

*It is worth pointing out that I've not seen the teams from the Greek Netcam sets, or indeed some of the French ones. If you are lucky enough to own any of these sets, please send pictures!

Black players in Subbuteo

A big thank you to Roy Boulter for reopening the Clyde Best debate. Here is a Subbuteo representation of West Ham's ground breaking Bermudan centre forward from the early 1970s. The question remains - did Subbuteo's painters actually produce him, and did he edge his way past the quality control to make it into shop bought teams?  Owner Roy is fairly sure that this team came from the shop like this, and the brown does look the right Subbuteo shade of the period. However, we can't be sure, as he is painted onto a flesh plastic figure, and so there is not any tell-tale light flesh paint under the brown. The collectors of the 1990s were pretty sure Clyde Best did exist, but vast numbers of West Ham sides pass through ebay in the internet age, and we just don't see him around anymore. Still, Subbuteo painters were generally expected to paint 1000 players a week, so some boredom must have set in. I would have been painting him in for sure!

He's awesome though isn't he? Once again, if anyone has any other Clyde Best figures, or any other black stars from the 1970s then please send them in (even if a bedroom painter did them).

While on the subject of black players, we are still six teams short on the original Premier League range from 1995. I've checked my teams, and most of mine are the earlier versions that don't have black players. I do have the Leicester City, but my scanner isn't working at the moment. Somebody send these in please.

Accessories C101-C110, Accessories C111-C120 etc.


The accessory box updates of last year are winding down, but are replaced this month by some more quirky pictures. I found an illustration of two late 1960s goalkeepers with a plain brown box. We know these boxes were issued in the 1950s, but Subbuteo weren't the only company to use them. So whether this is a genuine box is up for debate. It could also be re-used from an earlier set, as these 'keepers are quite late in date.

A big thank you to Phil Eccles for spotting something I'd missed. My illustration of the early version of C114 (Mascot and Bench Set) features two reserves with their hands on their knees. However, there is a further reserve with only one hand on his knee. Phil sent in a great picture of his set to demonstrate. Often you get two identical reserves, rather than a mix. Are they different dates perhaps?

Also finally illustrated - the press-out goalkeeper sheet. I've not cropped this around the 'keepers, so you can see just how much white card was supplied.


I think the floodlight pictures still need a little love - some are looking a bit too small. Here is a start, with bigger illustrations for the contents of the red sets of the 1960s. Note that the earlier "white box" floodlights have Subbuteo printed in red on the top of the battery box, whereas the "green box" versions have Subbuteo written on a green label on the front of the box. All the white box floodlights I have pictures of look like this. I'm guessing there might be a cross-over period though.

Ashley also sent me this half-time scoreboard variation. The printed letters can be in green or red.

International box sets.


This month in International box sets, we have a German edition from the late 1970s (with another alternate distributor in Hamburg?). Plus an improved picture of the 1970s Dutch set, and the bottom of the Crown and Andrews set from Australia. Some early 1980s sets do have a printed reverse. It is always worth checking! Thanks to Giovanni Buscemi for sending this one in.

Selected updates for November 2023 (Cool things you might have missed at the end of last year.)

New Page - European Catalogues.

A nice big update that has taken most of my time this month. Although I've covered the quirks and variants from various international countries, I am aware that I have not properly illustrated the catalogues from which these details are extracted. So here is a page of the European Subbuteo catalogues that I know about, or have illustrations of. In some cases I've had to borrow cover pictures from other sites, because I only own b&w photocopies of the relevant items. A number of the Italian catalogues were available as pdfs a year or two back, but the site seems to have closed down. I may see if I can add more of those pictures into this site if I feel it necessary and if the site/details don't reappear elsewhere.

French introduction

In adding the French catalogues, a few missing details have come to light, and I found I had full scans of the Delacoste catalogue of 1981. This has the same cover as the 1983 MAKO version, but has different numbering and contents. A "blue" Delacoste catalogue has also come to light, but this has standard Delacoste numbering rather than the 57xx numbers on the other blue catalogue I have access to. Confusion all round!

Catalogues - Japan & NZ

On the subject of catalogues, a second Japanese version has surfaced in the community - this one from 1984 or 1985 judging from the "Green Logo" accessories. The box sets advertised in Japan at that time were the two tier International Edition, and in place of a standard Club Edition was the NASL set.

Just realised that this one is actually on Subbuteoworld - £199 if you fancy it!!

I have pictures from a 1977 trade catalogue which will be added to the website over the coming months. This catalogue has really clear pictures of that eras games set up and ready to play. For the more casual site visitor these pictures give a simple representation of what the games actually looked like. Here's Snooker Express to start us off. Makes you want to play it does it? Not a good idea though. It's rubbish.

Other tabletop footie games.

In tidying up my picture files I found that I hadn't posted this alternate set of Giocagoal, which was Atlantic's cheap Subbuteo clone from the 1970s-80s. Atlantic soldiers have been reissued in modern times, and this set looks like it might be a more modern incarnation of Giocagoal, which would be useful.

The Subbuteo News Section.


If you are involved in the playing side of the game, then you won't need me to remind you that the Subbuteo (FISTF) World Cup is "coming home" to Tunbridge Wells in 2024. The town is very proud of its history with Subbuteo, and excited to be hosting the event. They have other things planned around the occasion, possibly including a tour of some of the old Subbuteo sites, so keep up with the news.  (I suspect English Subbuteo Association is the place to watch).

Shown above is a special Extreme Works World Cup pitch produced for the event. These look like they will also be available from our friends The Wobbly Hobby Shop. My friend Dave has an Extreme Works pitch set out in his house, and it is absolutely my favourite place to play. The tight control on the surface is fantastic.

The final two pictures are of a children's activity sheet given out at the English Masters, which was played in Tunbridge Wells in August 2023. This is part of the project to get children interested in Subbuteo (and its history), and the sheets have sponsorship from The Amelia, Heritage Lottery, the Arts Council England plus Kent and Tunbridge Wells Councils. Lets hope the profile of the game can be raised over the coming year of events.

The Worthing Five-Star Table Football Club (Re-launch).


While on the subject of playing the game, I need to mention that my local club - The Worthing Five-Star - has returned to action. This is great news, as the club has been active since 1981, and has always had a lovely, friendly vibe. It returns in a new, and bigger venue - The Heene Road Community Centre in Worthing, and with four lovely new pitches. Whilst I will miss the slight insanity of playing in a sweet shop, the new venue will hopefully allow numbers to grow. A big thank you must go to Brian Barnes for hosting us in his tiny shop for the past few years. The re-launched club meets weekly on a Thursday night - 7:15pm to about 9:45pm. My circumstances are different this year, so hopefully I'll get back to attending when I can.

If you are on social media, the club has a facebook site - @worthingfivestar and apparently twitter as well @FivestarTfc (I hope I have that right!).

Longshore's Official Subbuteo Products.


This site is usually last with the news, but casual visitors may not be aware that a(nother) new Subbuteo range has been launched in the UK.

The new license holders are a Hong Kong based company called Longshore, and the UK distributor is University Games (who have merged with the previous UK distributor Paul Lamond). The box sets, aimed at the Christmas toy market are priced around £40. I never get sent review copies, so a "focus on" page will have to wait until I see a cheap one frankly.... The players are a new design, that has been described as "cartoony", which doesn't seem to have gone down too well with collectors (although I daresay we'll still collect any teams that are produced, right?). Perhaps the thing that was great about Subbuteo when I was a kid, was that it looked realistic and grown-up, which is what you are striving to be as a youngster. I'm not sure a "kids" product will hold interest of players going into their teens. That said, I loved Super Striker as well, and that wasn't grown-up in the least. So what do I know? Perhaps the teens will move onto the more specialised table soccer equipment (see below).

The official Subbuteo website has been updated, and you can look at the relevant distributors and available sets. There is a French/Belgian set and a Portuguese set, although to be honest, the differences are minimal. However, Eleven Force are still the Spanish distributor, so it will be interesting to see if they keep producing unique sets (the Atalanta set is on their website).

February 2022. At the retail toy fair in January, Longshore debuted a 75th Anniversary box set, and an official Liverpool FC edition and individual team. All were slow arriving to market (and even in January 2023 only the specialist Subbuteo stockists seem to have the Liverpool team)


The latest Longshore teams have been produced for the Italian distributors, so we won't see them in the UK. The striped teams were previously seen in the Greek range, and the "Lazio" is the same as the UK's unofficial Manchester City (albeit on the new figure, pleasingly). However, new to Italy is a rather smart unofficial Roma, complete with an attractive base combo. It is also worth pointing out that all the teams have goalkeeper rods which match the team colours. This just adds something to the overall look of the product.

New Page Longshore Products 2020 onwards is now covering this stuff in more detail.

Table Soccer News.


More new(ish) products in the table soccer community. My article on the competitive side of  Table Soccer hadn't been updated for a while, and I find that the equipment is always evolving. I'd noticed in the months prior to lockdown, that when our table soccer club members played at tournaments, they would return with distinctive new teams and bases that "are becoming the norm". The teams had a very recognisable sunken inner base, and a new chunky player type, very different from the Stefan Corda figures (and its clones) which had previously been prevalent, and are shown in my article.

I've found out that this new range is called Tchaaa4, and it was designed by veteran FISTF player Daniel Scheen. Daniel is Belgian, and the range name (that looks weird in English), is apparently a phonetic spelling of a goal celebration pronounced more like "chow" in English. It amuses me that onomatopoeic words (splash, moo, woof) should cross language barriers, but don't translate as well as you would think. It makes me wonder how this website's English "comic book" usage of Arrgghhh, and sheesh, actually work in translation, but I digress.....

The Tchaaa4 range has actually been running for a few years, and has built up a range of different shaped bases for different styles of play. The actual playing figure is designed to be perfectly balanced - "front to back, and left to right". The players are available in a wide range of colours, so they can be used unpainted without clashing. This is either a colourful modern take on the serious abstract sport of table soccer (like table tennis), or it is a travesty that ruins the whole look of the game, depending on your point of view.... (Games Workshop stopped you fielding an unpainted army in their war gaming tournaments. I'm just saying.....) If, like me, you have a football kit obsession, then  "paint-your-own" white players are available, as are some expensive decal teams of a very fine quality. Base decals are also produced, and look great. The range also includes many of the other useful items for the modern game such as polish, goalkeepers and handles, a measuring tool, and practise walls for shooting.

Friend of this website, the Wobbly Hobby Shop is now the official UK distributor. Hopefully this will make these products much easier to obtain in the UK. Find them on the website.

In updating The FISA and FISTF page, I realised that I had neglected to add the bases produced by another old friend of this website, Little Plastic Men, who produce the iBase and the CLR Dynamic. So I've squeezed these in too.

I feel the competitive pages do need to mention some of the other innovative table soccer products out their, such as Extreme Works pitches, and professional goals etc. These things really do make a difference to how the game plays. If your company is making or importing table soccer stuff, let me know, and I'll pass on the details here. Can't say fairer than that.

New Book - Subbuteo Storia e Curiosita Black Box.

Following on from the successful and comprehensive heavyweight and lightweight books , authors Matteo Lastrucci and Alessio Lupi have teamed up with black box collector Vincenzo Campitelli to add another volume to this high quality series. As Parodi production of Subbuteo only lasted about four years, you might think this would be a rather slim volume. However, the Parodi pages on this website tell another story, and this work lists a staggering 317 distinct teams/kits over the period, including all the specials from Subbuteoworld, World Table Soccer and That's Magnificent.

Hats off to Vincenzo for collecting all these teams, and recording them all for us to enjoy. (The photos of his collection/pitch room are a site to behold). There are certainly a few teams here that I had never seen before. It's lovely to be enlightened.

As usual, the book features stories and facts about each club or country. Also as usual, you will need your translation app if you can't cope with the Italian language. For the standard club/country sides, the history tends to concentrate on their achievements in the black book era. However, the Subbuteoworld specials veered off into new territory for Subbuteo with the MSL and some smaller Island nations. Here, the book gives a bigger overview. Once again, a big thank you to my friend Fabrizio Frazzoni for helping to arrange for me to receive a copy of the book. Also a big thank you to author Alessio Lupi at alessio.lupi@artlibri.it (who you can contact for further details). The book arrived at a difficult time for me, and so has been lovely to curl up with. My site has just under 300 of these kits illustrated, so I'll have to work out which ones I don't have listed (the very late West Ham away, and second version of Ukraine stand out).

The Updated Wobbly Hobby Shop Website.

The full Wobbly Hobby Shop experience is now available. The updated site is a joy to use, and now completely independent of ebay. So it is even easier for UK customers to obtain the Tchaaa4 range of high performance table soccer products. Other modern table soccer products are in the pipeline, and of course the site retains its useful spares service for replacement vintage players. Go take a look!

This website's technology sponsor, Alan Lee, has been updating the website for the English Subbuteo Association. The aim is to make this long established national association the central point for all Subbuteo and table soccer activity in the country. The noble aim is to bring everyone who loves the game together whether they play modern rules with sliding players, or old school rules with heavyweights or flats - or anything in between. As we are a minority hobby, this needs to include the collectors as well.

I would suggest that any collectors who don't play the game seek out their nearest club, and go along for some matches. I really cannot recommend this highly enough. I am aware that I am the biggest nerd going, and I am happy to sit in my bedroom surrounded by hoarded stuff. However, my local club coaxed me out of my shell about fifteen years ago, and I have to say that I haven't regretted a single moment of it. I've gone from being completely hopeless at playing to... well some level of mild competence.... We've played in extensions, and a tiny flat, and a (tiny) sweet shop. But all our members past and present have been lovely, and I've found tournaments to be very welcoming too. Most of our new members get up to my standard in a few short weeks (!!) so don't let fear of being outclassed put you off....

Now the Covid restrictions are eased, there are a number of events being arranged, and new clubs opening their doors. The English Subbuteo Assn website is the place to see if there is anything happening close to you. Take a look....

Moments in time (a series) (No 6).

1983-84 - The Belgian League finally arrives...

Pos 1st Division Ref   Pos 2nd Division Ref
1 SK Beveren 365   1 K St. Niklase SK 564
2 RSC Anderlecht 523   2 KSC Hasselt 201
3 Club Brugge 454   3 RC Jet de Bruxelles 47
4 Standard de Liege 480   4 KRC Mechelen 562
5 RFC Seresien (Seraing) 521   5 K Berchem Sport 6
6 KV Mechelen 305   6 K St. Truidense VV 47
7 KSV Waregem 526   7 KSK Tongeren 2
8 R Antwerp FC 412   8 KFC Winterslag 147
9 K Waterschei VS Thor Genk 522   9 R Charleroi 34
10 KSC Lokeren 525   10 KFC Diest 563
11 KSV Cercle Brugge 520   11 KSC Eendracht Aalst 156
12 KV Kortrijk 412   12 KRC Harelbeke 565
13 RFC Liegeois 518   13 K Boom FC 454
14 K Lierse SK 522   14 VV Overpelt Fabriek 286
15 KAA Gent 519   15 Wuustwezel FC 564
16 Beerschot VAV (55)*   16 RAA Louvieroise 471
17 RWD Molenbeek 524        
18 R Beringen FC 377        

*Beerschot VAV seem to have been missed off the 1984 poster, but they were ref 55 the year before.

In some ways, Belgium's relationship with Subbuteo mirrors its relationship with real Association Football.

As befits a country with close geographical ties to Britain, football began early in Belgium. Their first league was set up in 1895, and this was the first year this had happened outside the British Isles. Yet football development was slow, mostly due to a determined amateur status. Belgium competed in all three World Cups of the 1930s, but failed to win a game. The amateur status persisted until the 1950s, so that was the state of play when Peter Adolph introduced Subbuteo to a country a short hop across the channel from his base in Kent. Again, Belgium was the first country to get their own distributor, but again expansion seemed slow.

In real football, the Belgian league turned semi-professional in the late 1950s, but not fully pro until 1972. As with many smaller nations, the advent of professionalism resulted in domination by a small number of powerful clubs. Since the 1950s Anderlecht, Club Brugge, and initially Standard de Liege have been the powerhouses. The rest of the league has a long history of mergers and bankruptcies as many of the smaller clubs struggle to compete.

When Waddingtons took over Subbuteo Sports Games Ltd in 1968, they began to expand Subbuteo's coverage in Europe by bringing in new distributors, and targeting countries with unique team colours and references. Belgium had started out well enough. Anderlecht's distinct mauve shirts were added in 1968 (ref 55) and Oostende's green and red stripes arrived soon after (ref 64). However, when full ranges started to appear, for some reason Belgium missed out. When you look at the other countries who benefited at this time - Italy, France, Holland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Portugal, and more, the absence is even more glaring. Even in the 1978 expansion which saw heavy coverage for minor Scandinavian leagues, there was no unique Belgian sides. What happened?

The Belgian team names did arrive en masse in the British catalogue of 1974-75, but all were on existing references. Whilst this addition included twenty four named teams, they were a random assortment that didn't tie to a particular year of Belgian football. They featured modern names like RWDM (Racing White Daring Molenbeek) who had been formed by merger in 1973-74, but also teams who hadn't been as high as the Belgian 2nd division since the mid 1960s, such as Willebroek  and Union Namur. I get the feeling that the teams were copied wholesale from an existing Belgian catalogue list.

By the early 1980s the Belgian teams in the lists were nearer forty, but errors and duplications were rife. Several teams had two similar references listed. RC Jette de Bruxelles were listed under J (Jette RC) and R (Racing de Jette). La Louviere have three references (146, 157 and 320) when clearly any one would have covered them.

And so we finally reach 1983-84. This was during the high point of machine-printed lightweight production, and finally Subbuteo got a grip of their Belgian range. The old teams were dropped. The misspelling, and confusion of the previous catalogues were (mostly) sorted out. In their place was a full run of team references for both the first and second divisions of Belgian football. The particular year used is confirmed by Wuustwezel FC who made their only 2nd Division appearance of this era in 1983-84.

As you should be able to see on the above chart, more than half of the top flight received new lightweight prints numbered 518-525. In addition, the second division was completed with four references in the 560s (St Niklase and Wuustwezel doubled up on 564). The four references in the 560s do occur in the same year as 518-525, as the range had to wrap around the old NASL numbers.

The team range was cut back in the late 1980s, as Subbuteo concentrated teams on its core markets. So this is the last full league expansion of the golden era. Still, better late than never right? For UK collectors this is one of the hardest parts of the whole range to pick up - especially those four obscure 2nd Division references. The Harelbeke team with its distinctive purple (that the catalogue picture couldn't cope with!) is a very late hand-painted side. I wonder how many were issued?

See also the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. My kind of old school website. Old PC/dial-up friendly. No pictures, no thrills, just loads of wonderful football league tables and cup results.

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