Subbuteo Tribute Website.
Welcome to the What's New page for 2023. Anything updated or added to the site over the next twelve months will feature here.
The website updates have slowed down recently, as three years of additions have covered a lot of the things I had previously missed. 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. So if you have something interesting to share, please send it in.
If you have been using the Whats New 2022 page to navigate the website, it has joined the What's New 2020 page and 2021 Updates 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 are 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.
The Elephant in the Room - Fakes in Subbuteo Collecting (and probably on this site)
Elephants. What is a valuable collectable these days and what isn't?
This didn't seem like a suitable topic for last year's celebratory 75th anniversary updates, but it became an issue with emails sent to the site towards the end of last year, so I feel I need to touch on it. This site has never been interested in values for Subbuteo. They hold little interest beyond the general frustration of preventing me buying stuff. I think it is generally known that I have never been an ebayer. My own collection, especially the catalogues, formed the basis of this website long ago, but the site has outgrown the common stuff that I was picking up at boot sales and toy fairs. I am dependent on the good will of other collectors to send in their finds, and the trust that comes with that.
Of course Subbuteo has become very collectable in the 21st century, and lockdown bought another large leap in the prices of rarer items. With higher prices comes more temptation to fraudsters.
I come from a background of general toy collecting. At boot sales and toy fairs I became friends with people who (luckily) collected anything but Subbuteo - Action Man, Star Wars, Timpo, smurfs, console games, lawn mowers... So I became interested in all these things, and even if I don't collect them, I usually own the books (and maybe the catalogues). As part of this, I saved a newspaper article from 2021 about Matchbox toys which has the following quote from collector/dealer Graham Hamilton (I've met him at toy fairs - he's a lovely guy).
"Unfortunately the market is flooded with fakes and unscrupulous sellers are keen to exploit innocent victims on auction websites. The best forgeries can also be difficult to spot - crooks are not just doing resprays, but putting together bits of old cars or making new parts to trick buyers"
Now consider for a minute the skills you would need to make a good fake Matchbox car. Then think what skills you need to fake a Subbuteo team. You don't even need to make a box - ours are common and generic. Of course, the community has always had a problem with heavyweight repaints. The originals were painted in Humbrol by homeworkers. That's not hard to replicate. We're lucky that modern paints and colours don't match too well, but frankly if you can buy 1970s Subbuteo, you can buy 1970s Humbrol. It is fairly easy to remove broken feet, and swap base parts around. In lightweights the bits are not glued anyway. Ever wondered why so many rare teams are complete and have referenced boxes when so many common teams are broken, and don't?
Is Subbuteo green one of these?
We're over twenty years into the collecting era, so a lot of the repaints have circled for a long time, and they've been through several hands. The modern sellers often don't have a clue. What percentage of rare h/w teams on ebay these days are fake do you think? 80%? 90%? More? Or am I pessimistic? This site copes with h/w repaints by using pictures from the catalogues to illustrate as much of the range as possible. The named box page has a warning, and the teams are looked at carefully.
However, prices have been rising in other areas, and dangers are now more widespread. Machine-printed lightweights are much harder to fake, and were originally a cheap option. However, the rarer ones have become very valuable, and I've seen a trickle of attempted copies on ebay, usually with some carefully hand-painted trim. And then, during the World Cup, there was Qatar (see below).
Here are my problems from the end of 2022. I had lined up illustrations, but frankly I'm going to keep it fairly minimal. If I call something out, I can upset the seller, and usually the buyer too. And I might be wrong. And there can be consequences (hopefully not lawyers). Collectors who have seen some of these things in the flesh are more convinced they are real than I am. So, Fake or Fortune?
I did want to put all the mysteries out there, and not hide things away in folders on my PC. I'm certainly not infallible. Spotting the bad fakes and the obvious modern number stickers can give a false feeling of confidence. I'm guessing there are fakes on this site (and on the other h/w sites and in the books too). I never thought we'd have to have serious discussions about provenance with regard to Subbuteo, but here we are. I am aware that people use this site as bible, and that others use it to sell their wares on auction sites (usually without asking). So I feel some responsibility for what I am adding.
Having said that, copies and fakes are a risk whatever you collect, and modern 3D printing is a problem for many toy collectors. Chinese factories can make some pretty impressive replicas these days (check out the repro Star Wars Yak-face on ebay. At least he is marked as such). As Subbuteo prices rise, we all need to be a bit more aware. Everyone just be careful out there.
If you are new to Subbuteo collecting, and that lot sounds off-putting, don't worry. It is high end collectables with high prices that attract the vultures. Frankly, we are never going to run out of basic h/ws like Brazil, or Chelsea or Celtic. In lightweights, there are probably hundreds of English top flight variations to amuse you, often for under a tenner. Most English league sides after 1987 were machine printed in large numbers. Accessories are generally common and dirt cheap. You can have a lot of fun without breaking the bank. Hopefully, if you want to progress later on, the common stuff will have given you experience in what looks right. Then again, you can get the playing bug again, and invest in some of the beautiful modern equipment that is out there.
In the real world, decent catalogued rarities are still turning up in lofts. In the last six months I've had emails about two Munich Editions (one with French paperwork), a lovely cricket fence, and even another early 1970s shop display (rugby variant). These things are always a delight to see. Please keep sending stuff in. Here are some real things to delight in a wet January.
Updates for January 2023.
Pretty Green Edition - Longshore Products 2020 onwards
When I was bemoaning the lack of new Subbuteo sets for the Anniversary year (and Christmas), I wasn't expecting a fashion brand edition. Perhaps appropriately for someone distinctly lacking any fashion sense, I was actually beaten to the news of this set by my own local club. Yes, it was on the Worthing Five-Star website before I was even aware of it. Well done to Worthing collector Paul who managed to get one. The odd looking players above represent brand owner Liam Gallagher (on the right) and Damon Albarn (on the left) as outfitted for a 1990s charity football match. The associated fashion range has a cricket hat (as sported by Liam) and and a rather nice Subbuteo logo polo shirt. However, if you are used to supermarket style Subbuteo clothing, the price point may raise eyebrows. (so might the price ebay "scalpers" want for this set).
Players Association products.
Doing my usual check for bargains at the Wobbly Hobby Shop, I came across this old Waddingtons pen, which I knew was in the Players Association range back in the early 1990s. These items were added to the site a year or so back, and as luck would have it, the pen was perfectly as described, but didn't have an illustration. So here it is.
The players association page was looking a little drab, and empty, so I've also added pictures of an alternate green holdall (with the association crest) and a mug from a 1988 tournament. Subbuteoworld had a collection of tournament t-shirts last year. Might feel the need to sneak the odd one onto the page later!
Super Seniors Red Lid - Box sets 1947-69
1950s collector Luca Genzano was thrilled to find this Super Seniors set with a red lid (it has a few random 1960s bits included). Luca had previously only seen the set with the later blue lid. I admitted that I too had also only seen it with a blue lid, but as I'd only ever been sent two examples, I didn't count that as a proper sample. The Super Seniors is a weird set, as it doesn't appear in the regular catalogues, but only in one brochure (that we know of). And it uses the standard box lid. Our understanding of the set is that it is a standard Super set with the addition of the accessories from Set A: Basic Accessory Outfit. Trouble is, nobody has seen a boxed Basic Accessory Outfit (in presentation box) despite it being in the catalogues from 1953 to 1966. Did that also come in a standard box? Is that the logical answer to its continued absence?
When adding the red box version, I realised that I had only ever illustrated this set without a lid. Whoops. So I dug out a nice picture of the blue version too.
The "Shadow" referees Accessories C101-C110
I'd mentioned the unpainted referees of the mid-1990s, and here is a set illustrated. They seem to turn up as freebies in club editions rather than as a paid-for accessory. I also have an unpainted corner-kicker from a similar set. Not sure what was happening at the end of the Waddingtons era. Big thank you to Simon Bryan who sent this one in.
21st century branded products
Looking for the older Super Seniors pictures, I found this picture of an additional set from the M&S "shower gel" range 2013-14. Cute pair of Subbuteo socks in there, along with the usual guff.
The webpage for rival game TAF 4-2-4 hadn't been updated since 2010, but I saw a different set going through ebay a month or two back, and couldn't resist picking up the pictures and adding the details. This unseen set featured Blackburn Rovers as the home team, and Liverpool as opponents. It also allowed me to get a better picture of the box for the instruction video, which features images of the England vs Scotland sets (or same set, different focus). I've seen neither of those in the flesh. Old Football Games has even more details of 4-2-4 and some of the other teams done in various eras (he has a modern Chelsea and Leeds illustrated). They don't seem to turn up that often, but if you have different sides for this game, it would be nice to show them off. Oh and check out the Old Football Games comedy page, because it never fails to cheer me up.
Updates for February 2023.
I'll start with a little apology. I managed to misspell the name of Luca Genzano last time out. Considering we've been mailing for 15 years or more, it was a bit shoddy! Luca, I am blushing. I usually double check all the names, but last month I spent ages on the "fakes" article, and a new "Moments in Time" (always at the bottom of this page). So everything else got rushed. I should have checked it against the Contributions and Thanks page, which was updated last year, and now includes (hopefully) just about everybody.
Newfooty team lists, New footy Accessory lists
Regulars might remember that last June I was sent pictures of a large Newfooty collection that passed through ebay. This had un-cut teams in cardboard, which I'd never seen. When I added the picture, I did say I might feature some of the teams from the collection, because they were nearly all card, and my illustrations were nearly all celluloid. Pleasingly, I've finally cut out all the best examples, and here they are. Note that the tangerine team with black sleeves is finally illustrated. A team Subbuteo never did (not sure who wore it though). Also added are the card referees and some early balls.
Whilst looking at old Newfooty sets for different figures and bits, I spotted this advert for an unfamiliar game produced by the Newfooty Company. The other paperwork in the set was dated to Autumn 1950, so it is earlier than most of their other non-footy games, and it is not featured in the later brochures that I have seen. Beyond it being some sort of "party" game, the leaflet doesn't really explain anything. Still, if "The Junior Miss Washing Set" found its way onto this site, then Marquette gets in too!
A couple of years back my friend Paul was looking to build a small collection of loose ohws, and I took the opportunity to fill a few gaps in my own range with his spares. This made us both focus on the teams going through ebay, and this really made apparent the variations that exist in the range. Emails since then have highlighted a few extra anomalies - usually related to socks. Whilst such things confuse the lists somewhat, I couldn't resist adding a few more variations on my favourite figure. Early white box teams seem much more likely to have hoop socks.
21st century branded products.
Probably a never ending page, but I've found pictures of a couple of products that had slide down the back of the proverbial chair. There is a charity luggage label - pretty and in a good cause. Then there are the Netcam "Limited Edition Collectable Figures" (that's what the box calls them). Useful for collecting dust on your shelf, or maybe for some kind of large scale garden Subbuteo? Some later licensed versions without the boxes do also exist. Possible the only Netcam item not actually designed to play with.
New Italian Website - Subbuteo Village
Last year I asked if anyone was producing modern table soccer bits and bobs that they would like me to highlight on the website. Collector Francesco Manetti is brave enough to be the first to reply! To quote Francesco - "Vintage&hand-made hobby e-shop dedicated to the world of Subbuteo and football (all the items for sale are part of Francesco Manetti's private collection)"
There are wooden goals (on plastic bases), plastic solo goalkeepers (on wooden bases), pitch options, and more. Everything comes packaged in cute brown boxes. Very chic! Full details and lots of big pictures are on Francesco's website - just click the banner. I ran out of time to start a page dedicated to table soccer crafting, but it will arrive next time out.
Are you doing something similar? Let me know, and I'll post it here. Free publicity and everything!!!!
Italian Partwork Accessories. la leggenda vintage edition, la leggenda platinum edition
These were mentioned on the partwork pages, but not illustrated. I noticed that Francesco was selling his examples on his site, and (with permission!) I've borrowed a few of his lovely pictures to add to the partwork pages. I might sort out how the accessories matched to issues later if anyone needs this. The referees get an extra picture, because I like them!
I've been having a sort out at home, and this Rugby Sevens box set appeared from under a chair. My scanner seems to be on the blink, but I did take these rather poor photos to show the box layout, half-sized pitch, and the rule book, all of which are unique to this sweet little set. I also noticed a little FrontPage gremlin has reduced the text size on a bit of the rugby page. Hopefully, I've amended that too.
The Woodentop Table Shop - Additional.
Last year I did a little tribute to Tom Taylor's wonderful shop, when he finally sold his remaining stock to Alan Lee. (Read it at Whats New 2022). I mentioned that the shop produced women's teams in the early 2000s, but my own example was tucked away in a cupboard. My house reorganisation has unearthed this too, and so here it is. I remember thinking that the Santiago range needed a women's team when Chris Stapleton first launched it back in 2003, and I'm sure I was told then that the Woodentop version already existed. My team is a Premier League Leeds United. Their women's team was in the top flight from 2001, and changed their name to Leeds Carnegie in July 2008. So it was produced between those dates.
The praise for this forward-thinking item must be slightly tempered by the fact that Tom utilised his "streaker" casting for the set. Understandable due to costs perhaps, but let's just say that the football kit is a bit tight, and well, leave it at that... Tom's stuff is another range which will get a clean-up page later in the year. I should point out that The Wobbly Hobby Shop has now mounted the new style player into Tom Taylor's Lunula bases, and these are available to buy. I've used these bases for years, and they are the perfect introductory base for the modern sliding version of Table Soccer.
Updates for March 2023.
Subbuteo flyers, Jokari Products 1982 Dunford Kites etc....
Now this was a surprise in my tidy up. I found further details from the Subbuteo 1983 trade catalogue tucked away in an envelope. A blast from the past, and a big thank you to Eddie Lang for sending this to me in 2006 (judging by the postmark!). Now, although these trade catalogues are beautiful things, I had covered all the basics from this paperwork years ago (including the trade stands). However, I hadn't bothered with Jokari or the other firms who feature in these catalogues. However, as collectors have been finding Jokari sets with Subbuteo branding, I decided to revisit the the whole affair last year, and a page was added. The advantage of this 83 catalogue is that the Jokari section has expanded to include the J500 Shuttle Volley set, pictures of which encouraged this whole expansion in the first place. It also has proper Subbuteo catalogue blurb for all the products, which I've added to the page for your enjoyment, because I'm nothing if not obsessive... Also included in 1983 was a page on Dunford Kites, and I thought I'd jump the gun this time, and add them BEFORE somebody turns one up with Subbuteo logos stuck to the bag... It does say that spares for these were available direct from Subbuteo.
I still need details of the Harrier page from 1982 if anyone has a copy they can scan/photograph.
More sensibly, I've added the two trade catalogues to the Subbuteo flyers page because, well they really should be there. Blow me, then a picture of the 1985 catalogue turned up as well. This one also confirms that Subbuteo were not sharing catalogue space with anyone else by this point.
Card Games. Wizards of the Coast Trading Card Game 2002-03.
Subbuteo Squads from 1996 is a well known, if unloved Subbuteo card game from the mid-1990s. It seems to have sold fairly well, with copies of games and cards plentiful. A more obscure second attempt at a Subbuteo trading card is this game from the 2002-03 season, which Hasbro released under their Wizards of the Coast brand (famous for both Magic the Gathering and Pokemon). It seems to have sunk without trace, but unopened stuff occasionally passes through ebay. My reliable spotter Ashley Hemming sent in a useful picture of the trade box, and that made me do a little research (okay pinch details from ebay auction pictures).
Netcam Subbuteo 2012-20 Atletico Madrid. Derby Edition.
Michael Fletcher, collector of the modern sides, has found a picture showing that the 2017-18 Atletico Madrid was also sold as a single team. Previously, I felt it was only in a box set, yet here it is in the distinctive "grey box" series from 2017-18. He's also been able to enlighten me as to the reference number of the two stripe Juventus (which is different than its earlier version). There are so many variations in a range that has proved difficult and frustrating to collect.
Also indicative of the sprawling nature of the Netcam range, and the difficulties I've had in tracking it is the Derby Edition. This one dates back to 2012, and is essentially the basic Team Edition of that era, amended for the Italian market. So you get the blue/white team (representing Italy) alongside a red/blue team representing Spain. The rest of the set seems identical to the UK version, including the cardboard membership card. It's basically taken me ten years to realise that this existed! (there were a couple of copies for sale on Francesco Manetti's website, and the picture is borrowed from him).
This month I was sent in three really useful pictures for the C170-C193 page, featuring two boxes not previously illustrated, plus a black and white version of C193/61193 (the original Federation version of the book?). Who else wishes they had bought a C172 League Cup in the early 1980s for £1.60? The prices for this cup get more crazy on a weekly basis. Thanks to Stephen Corry for sending these in (and the 1985 catalogue shown above).
When Ashley Hemming told me he had a trainer with a claret top, I was impressed but as mine was already illustrated on the site, I wasn't overly paying attention. However, when the pictures came in, I realised that Ashley's "short-sleeved" trainer wasn't just painted that way. And where was his hat? Yep, eagle-eyed visitors will have realised that this is a cricketer painted into the wrong set. Weird and wonderful. Ashley's comparison photo shows how such a mix up might happen - but does anyone else have one of these?
The Solent Invitational Tournament 2023.
I attended this 32 player tournament on Sunday 12th March, and so a quick thank you is in order to Solent club and all who were involved in arranging this enjoyable event. A personal thanks also to Nigel and Ian at the Worthing Five-Star who took me along (as I don't drive). If you live in the south-east, you are rather spoilt for choice when it comes to playing. Solent have a thriving club, which is very welcoming to newcomers, and has a great social club venue. Plus there is Redhill, my locals Worthing (see below), and a number of others. Get searching for a club near you.
Longshore Products 2020 onwards
We'll start this month's updates off with an extra modern set. This unofficial World Cup Edition (Edición Mundial on the box) was produced by Eleven Force for the Spanish market, and features Spain and Brazil. Not the top performers at the World Cup it has to be said. As the World Cup did take place in 2022 we do get the 75th Anniversary logo on this one.
A little scan of online retailer Subbuteoworld shows that the current Barcelona Edition can also be purchased with the Anniversary logo on the box, although I already have it illustrated without the logo (and I think the teams are the same in both).
Way back in May last year, a then unreleased Maradona set appeared on Amazon, and looked exciting due to the possibility of a flexible Argentina (at last) along with the suggestion that a number of Maradona's club sides were being included. Nearly a year later, and a Maradona set has arrived at Subbuteoworld. As he "watermarks" his pictures, I though I'd see if Astrobase had a better picture that I could pinch! This is when I realised there were two Maradona editions...
Unlike the original artist's impression, the sets here have switched to an appropriate sky blue coloured box, but sadly they are cut-down from what the initial picture had suggested. These are essentially the standard Longshore release in the usual white plastic inner. In the Subbuteoworld set (I'm assuming it is a Spanish release), the Argentina side is present and correct, alongside an all-red opponent. Maradona has at least been given a "unique" figure, using the big hair player from the modern Longshore team, plus a gold base to make him stand-out from his team mates (and luckily, the other team as well). In a tournament, you could always use him as the spare goalkeeper. The Astrobase version has the Maradona figure in a Napoli team, but otherwise the contents appear to be the same. Slightly Bonkers? Or just sets aimed at different markets?
The Oldest rival game becomes the newest? Futbol Chapas.
Always worth keeping an eye on Spanish site "We Are Games" who are a reliable retailer for Eleven Force, the modern Spanish Subbuteo distributor. As well as the Brazil vs Spain Subbuteo set shown above, they also have some licensed club sets of a flicking game that pre-dates even Newfooty. Futbal Chapas is the ancient art of bottletop table football, essentially a do-it-yourself shove ha'penny sort of game using metal caps from beer bottles. Professional sets might defeat the whole object of the exercise. And do I put this at the start of the rival games section or the end? This game looks like you can use your thumb as a spring!!
New Footy; New footy Accessory lists; Keeling Games
I'm still tinkering with the Newfooty pages. I've realised that Pete at Subbuteoworld has a big collection of Newfooty sets passing through his website, and his component pictures have allowed me to double-check a lot of my dating, and clarify a few things. In addition to that, a late Crestlin edition of the Keeling Games list was illustrated in a slightly improved format to my own late 1950s sheet. Whilst most of these games now have pictures of the real sets, rally car board game "Monte" had remained without an illustration. Okay, it isn't very enlightening, but it's a start right?
New Page - The Table Soccer Arts and Crafts Movement
We haven't had a new page yet this year, so it seemed time to put that right. When Francesco Manetti sent me his Subbuteo Village product details in February, I realised I didn't have a page to show them off on. So I thought I would start one featuring all the modern day accessories and innovations that have come out of what is really a table soccer cottage industry. It seemed right to add this to the clones section of the website, but this time covering the smaller producers. Of course, the subject is a bit of a rabbit hole, and I've run out of month to get the page really how I want it to look. So consider this one a work-in-progress.
I've also highlighted the products from a couple of UK sites that specialise in 3D printed accessories and figures. I've added items from old friends the Wobbly Hobby Shop, plus the painters/box producers who are already on my links page. I feel Subbuteoworld's more quirky Pegasus pitch options also fit what I am trying to illustrate here, and his range of hand-painted sides is pretty, and competitively priced.
As I put this page together I did remember why the old art galleries on this site were never expanded, and why I haven't really looked at homebuilt stadiums. It is simply that my site format - lots of text with small pictures, does not do justice to the detail that crafting entails. However, the page is full of links, so use it as a jumping off point into a part of the hobby that some of us may not have previously considered.
If you produce anything similar and feel you are missing out here, then send in your details and I'll get you added in. I'm planning to add a page on innovations on the "playing" side of things, as well as a page summarising all the things that Tom Taylor's Woodentop shop bought to the table. Time (as always) is not my friend though.
The Ashley Hemming picture Updates!!
I haven't been able to keep an eye on ebay or the forums this year, but hurrah for Ashley Hemming, who sent a round-up of interesting pictures this week. I've squeezed most of them in this month. Nice easy updates. More complicated stuff is still sitting in the "to do" box. So we have here a lovely motor racing flyer (which I'd never seen), much better pictures of the 1960s Subbuteo tie, and the final C187 Match Day series in need of a picture.
Then we have two different ball pack types, and the rarer monochrome logo version of C142 Terrace Set. This last one wasn't from Ashley, but from Stephen Corry who has also been filling my inbox with goodies recently. Monochrome logo boxes had a short life, and I always find stuff I acquire is from either side of them.
The Subbuteo European Championships/World Cup posters. Subbuteo flyers
These two posters were sitting in my Subbuteo paperwork box, and I knew they weren't on the website. Large paperwork is always tricky for me to take good photos (and you can't really scan them). I wasn't really sure where to put them, as they really need larger pictures than I normally use. I've added them to the box set pages, where they look a little out of place, but I figure if you are a box set collector you need to make sure your sets have them. I've also added them to the Subbuteo flyers page. If I get into the collecting cupboard I'll fish out the missing 1986 World Cup poster as well to complete the set.
1980s Subbuteo Association Membership Card - The FISA and FISTF
Stephen Corry also sent in a picture of the old plastic Subbuteo Association membership card. It is pictured on one of the 1980s flyers, but I've never actually seen one. Guess I should've joined up at the time!
The National Table Football League - Date?
Here is an interesting puzzle. The pictures of this box were kindly sent in by David Royle, and show a very early white box old heavyweight side (produced circa 1962). A rare box in lovely condition, with a partly repainted Bristol Rovers side. A great find for a collector, but of more interest here are the very professional "National Table Football League" stamps on the box. The team itself is a very early date for a National League, which I understood started around 1969. It is also my understanding that most of the league players of this period preferred to use flats. So much more detail is required to fill in the history of this box. Can any of the older players shed light on this one?
English Subbuteo Association Goal of the Month.
March '23 Subbuteo Goal Of The Month (englishsubbuteoassociation.com)
While on the subject of playing, a quick thank you is in order to my friend and Worthing clubmate Nigel Pestelle who videoed a couple of my games at the Solent Invitational, and decided he needed to enter me into the English Subbuteo Association's Goal of the Month competition. A bit of fun, and the Association put the whole thing together very nicely. This has impressed my non-subbuteo playing friends no end. Get your videos sent in to the Association, and you too can bask in the glory... Also, hopefully it may encourage your non-playing friends to have a go.
Updates for May 2023. - Quirky variations month!
This site has been in existence since the late 1990s, and you might think that classic 20th century Subbuteo production would by now have stopped throwing up surprises and variations. That this jaded site owner would have seen just about everything... No chance. Three emails in the last couple of weeks delighted me with unseen wonders. Will we ever cease to be amazed by Subbuteo output? Let's hope not!
International box sets. France 98 Box Set with Spain as an extra (plus T-Shirt!)
If the exclusive French edition of this set came as a surprise a couple of years back, then how about this one? Standard lid, but the extra team advertised on the front of the box is Spain (or España if you are being fussy). Added to the weirdness of this set is the t-shirt enclosed within the shrink-wrap, which features both Subbuteo and Pro Action Football. A big thank you to owner Nicola Dragoni for sending in lots of photos of the different France 98 sets (fronts and backs). Very useful.
C170-C193 C193 FIFA World Cup Spain 1982.
C193 is a rarity where every set spotted seems to be different. This is an Italian version featuring Italy (ref 166) and Argentina (ref 67), which was a combination I had not seen previously, but makes some kind of sense in a "locals vs holders" way. However, the weirdness is enhanced by a Parodi sticker across the corner stating "Italia Campione Del Mondo 82/86". So this looks like unsold warehouse stock being re-used as a 1982/86 World Cup winners pack. Rather lovely. Thanks this time to Emanuele Cassai who is the lucky owner of this set.
C121-C139 - C133 Six Interchangable Goalkeepers.
This third head-scratching variation comes from Ashley Hemming, who has owned this C133 set for some time, but hadn't noticed that the box had been updated to include the two jockey capped goalkeepers. I have collected a number of C133 sets down the years to chart the colour/keeper type variations, but I've never acquired this box. I'd assumed the jockey capped goalkeepers didn't get mentioned on the box until the monochrome logo set of my youth (circa 1981). In fact, the capped 'keepers arrive in this set in 1978, the same year as their individual set (C153), which shows Subbuteo's faith in them (or their awareness of the general dislike of crouching goalkeepers!).
As an aside, my own collection of these sets features three different addresses on the sides of the boxes, plus an early set where the word "interchangeable" is housed in a white stripe. I make that five variations of what looks at first glance, like a very standard box.
Whilst on the C121-C139 page I've added a few more of Ashley's photos. The C122 goals have had to make do with a tiny picture of the box for years. I've meant to change this several times, but every time I dig a box out of my collection the goals seem to be broken in some way. I wonder if I have any unbroken ones! The ball boy picture simply shows the unpainted base variant from the early days of this set. Ashley also had a much improved picture of the C126 the passing tee, and its tiny dribbling posts.
Newfooty team lists.
I thought I would add pictures of the other Newfooty 3D outfits that are known to me. This is not exactly lots of sides, but it is a very rare set. Note that the goalkeeper uses the same casting as the other players, which is disappointing compared to Subbuteo, and obviously a cost-cutting measure. Given the general weakness of these figures, the use of one as a goalkeeper was not recommended (doubly so now, given the cost of these sets!).
I did promise that I would dig out the World Cup 1986 poster, and here it is (fresh from a surprisingly good condition box set in my loft). On the same flyers page I've updated the price list photos to show one for each year from their arrival in 1973-74 to 1980. The inflation over the period is astonishing frankly. The quirks of these price lists have made me revisit a few items on the accessory lists and tweak the details a little. For instance, I've spotted that the C162-164 EPNS Cups are priced on a February 1979 price list, before being sold out on a July 1979 version.
Ashley also sent me pictures of a "with track" version of Speedway, with the final plastic track. This was interesting because it used the box from the large Motor Racing set, and that in turn meant that there were six speedway bikes involved, instead of the usual four. Sadly, the Speedway doesn't receive a nice colour box label like the motor racing. The smaller label just gets stuck to the centre of a big dark lid. I've also added the Speedway advert picture to the racing page, (from the ads page), so you get to enjoy it twice!
Plastic Deterioration and Subbuteo collecting.
Whilst on the subject of Speedway, I dug out my own basic version last year, so I could have fun with the Scalextric trophy winners set. My set was always tatty, and bought to have fun with - it has been to Worthing club nights and been experimented with at home. However, despite living in its own box, inside an empty Combination box, inside a storage box in a bedroom cupboard, the plastic bases in the set have begun to break down badly. Really only the illustrated orange base is still in a usable condition. The set will sadly race no more. This leads me onto the more serious question of plastic breakdown, and how it might affect Subbuteo collections in years to come. It is a huge problem with some of the more oily plastics used in old toy manufacture. Timpo is well known for having a problem with crumbly plastic, and Britains as a range is a bit hit and miss. I have white Britains Star Guard figures from the mid-1980s whose limbs are liable to snap off (yet the earlier yellow ones seem fine). I've had goals for Subbuteo rival Big League that have crumbled into tiny pieces. We seem fairly lucky with Subbuteo, with perhaps just some base warp on the 1970s figures, and only the early 50s bases really cracking up... but these were cheap toys, and really not built to last this long. Are we going to run into more problems as time passes? (Could be worse - rubber suits for Action Man divers and spacemen have probably all gone west by now).
Updates for June 2023.
This month continues to add box illustrations to the accessory lists. Previously I was happy with an illustration for each accessory, and perhaps pictures of a couple of the more attractive boxes. However, as we seem to be working towards a comprehensive catalogue it makes sense to try and illustrate all the variants. Doing some recent updates made me realise that I hadn't bothered with most of the common pitch corner boxes of the 1990s, and it looked as if it would fall to me to dig out my boxes of accessories and get photographing. Luckily Ashley Hemming had some time at home (well not that luckily for him, he wasn't well!), so lots of these are his photos.
Here the 61211 goalkeeper pack is mine, and everything else is Ashley's. Always nice to see a few bubble pack survivors. Ashley's 61208 box is the original colour for this accessory, so I've put it at the top of the relevant section.
The site has always mentioned a monochrome logo box for accessory C148, but not illustrated it. I must have seen one someplace... Meanwhile, Ashley has produced two different late 1970s boxes with the Falcon crest. That's a lot of quirky boxes for this not very common set. With all the other "posh" goals in the accessory range, the standard goals don't seem to have been purchased as an accessory item very often judging from the number of sets seen in the wild. Although Subbuteo still had these goals in the Club Edition into the mid 1990s, the accessory version was gone by 1984. I think we all got seduced by all the attractive sounding later goals. These days, if I fancy a quick flick around I'll always choose these over anything self-assembled.
I've also added a couple more nice bubble packs to this page.
More variations of packaging from around the accessory lists. Again, the goalkeepers are mine.
The accessory list was first written over twenty years ago, and the C141 (painted) spectator set has always been illustrated with a catalogue picture that doesn't actually show the proper spectators. The original picture shows the bench people and the guys from the cricket deckchairs. You'd think somebody would have complained by now! Okay, I did carefully describe all the guys (and girl) but somehow I never managed to photograph the proper figures. Until today. Oh happy day. On the left hand picture are all the regular colours that are described on the site, and these are the most common in my collection (also the set I had as a kid). On the right are a few later variations, plus the lady in red and orange which is an early variant - all of whom I own multiple times. Subbuteo used to send out their painting work with a sample, so I think the painters had to stick with the plan generally here, and not go with random colours. Note that the dark red of 1970s heavyweight Subbuteo changes to the brighter red of the lightweight era within this selection, and that the darker "sky" blue is also used (ref 314 is a good example of this on a team). Otherwise, it is all the usual Subbuteo colours in one place.
If anyone has other variations then please fill free to send them in. I am aware that Subbuteo sold these figures unpainted in large quantities, so most really odd variations are probably home painted, but I'm guessing there will be a few more to find. Lets not wait another 20 years to illustrate them huh?
Newfooty team lists
A nice little bonus this one. I acquired a box of celluloid Subbuteo scrap* at my first boot sale of the year, and there were a few damaged Newfooty players. All were re-glued into the bases with less legs than is optimum, and the illustrated player was the best of the bunch. What is nice is that they are a blue shirt/yellow sleeves/white shorts combination that Subbuteo never added to their range. Newfooty have them in their late range from 1957 onwards, although oddly Mansfield Town seem to have stopped wearing it by then... Not previously illustrated on the site. I made the picture too big for the proper run, but felt the team deserved it. A lovely little side.
*No full teams, but eight nice players (in bases) for both refs 5 and 33 in celluloid. Very pleased.
As I was checking over these updates, an email arrived from Colin Forward with pictures of a 3-D Newfooty Arsenal team, which is within his Arsenal collection. Given how rare these 3-D teams are, it is good fortune to own one in any outfit, let along a set for your club of choice. That's worth a little congratulations I think. Plus we get to enjoy the pictures. Wins all round.
International box sets.
Better pictures of the unusual Club Mexico set have surfaced, including the inner box. This shows that the set was using the standard club edition layout of the time, so the extra players making up 15 man teams, plus the kicking spare goalkeepers had to be supplied in bags in the goal nets. In addition, the club edition box was not really designed for tournament goals, so these seem to be squeezed in upside down. A bit of a mishmash of a set this one. I'm still not sure if it was exclusive to the Italian market.
Lightweight variations - 1990s v-necked prints.
Lightweight collector Michael Marshall has been sending in pictures for identification for a while, and testing my knowledge of some very minor machine print variations. It makes you realise how many prints there actually are. This team surprised us both though, as it is a v-necked reference 232, and previously we'd both only seen it with a round collar. I am aware that most of the long-term lightweights got a new v-necked print in the mid 1990s, and as reference 232 hung on in the catalogues until 1993 it does makes sense that it also received one. These later prints do not seem well documented. I own two in club editions - refs 214 (all red) and 433 (Spain, and it also ran until 1993). None of these three teams are in the Italian lightweight books, or on the usual online sources. I'll have to dig my copies out and scan them in.
Betfair's Spoof Gaelic Subbuteo Advert.
Football historian (and founder of the non-FIFA NF Board) Jean-Luc Kit e-mailed in the details of this glorious advert from Betfair for the All-Ireland Championship Final. I'm not going to start linking to betting sites, so you'll just have to google the YouTube video. Someone had a lot of fun finding and painting appropriate Subbuteo stuff. Guaranteed to raise a smile.
Fancy some Gaelic Subbuteo? Chalk up a pitch, cut up some rugby posts, and off you go.
Updates for July 2023.
Some real life interventions have delayed this month's update, and shortened it a little.
Subbuteo flyers, Shop Displays.
We've had a good run on trade catalogues this year, with both 1983 and 1985 turning up. Here to complete the sequence is 1984. This has lost the Jokari products which were in 1982 and 1983, but still has the Dunford kites from 1983. We know the 1985 trade catalogue only has Subbuteo in it, so this means that Jokari and Dunford both had two year runs (overlapping).
Another interesting fact is that both the League Edition and the Indoor Edition survive into this 1984 catalogue. I had assumed that 1983 was the final year for both.
The 1984 catalogue sees the introduction of the 61xxx numbers, the green boxes, and the simple netting bubble pack backs which are colour coded. The catalogue has a new display stand for these, and this is now illustrated. It's probably the same one as 1985 to be honest, but the logo at the top has the colours reversed.
The FISA and FISTF
1980s UKSA member Stephen Corry has turned up another gem from his archives - a Subbuteo Christmas card sent to members in 1985. I thought about saving this for a more appropriate month, but it's nearly August so I assume Christmas cards will be in the shops in a matter of weeks (if not already...). I could have added this item to a number of different pages, but it found a home with the "playing history" section. Site regular Ashley Hemming was also an early member of the UKSA, and he recently sent in pictures of his copy of the first issue of Subbuteo News dated September 1976. In this was a competition to win a Subbuteo grandstand. Ashley didn't win, but he did optimistically buy a bag of painted spectators to go in it, and his unopened bag is prior to the introduction of the familiar Supporters - so it contains only bench figures and the chaps from the cricket deckchairs set. The original Subbuteo catalogue picture shows these contents but this is the first time I've seen them in a unopened pack.
C121-C139, C140-C169, C170-C193
Ashley's Spectator Set stars in yet another round of box pictures added to the accessory range. Mostly this is Ashley proving that his archive of box pictures is much better than mine! I thought I was pretty close to covering the box types on these pages. As my inbox rapidly filled up, this turned out to be wrong. I can't illustrate all the additions on this page, but here are a few of my favourites. The monochrome C142 Terrace set shown here is another oddity, as back in April we illustrated this with a box that has both terraces shown together (see above!). I'd mentioned the monochrome logo version of the C148 box, so it is nice to get this illustrated. The original box for 61216 is also worth highlighting as it shows the real life stand that inspired this mid-1980s update. The accessory lists look much more colourful with these additions, so an excuse to enjoy them all over again. More next month.
I do get the odd email about Squads, so there are a few collectors out there! Here are two different trade boxes for the eight card foil expansion packs. I've also illustrated some of the packs. I think these are Series One and Series Two, but I don't know how many releases there were. A fun bit of nostalgia from the mid-1990s, and a reminder of the players who were wearing the colours in the first proper Subbuteo Premier League range from the same year (1996). A good mix of famous faces, and obscure players from the likes of Coventry, QPR, and Sheffield Wednesday.
Newfooty Rules 1930s, Newfooty Handbooks 1950s
(These are the three books I've quoted from)
I've added quite a lot of details about collecting Newfooty over the last couple of years, but I've realised that my history of the game is very much about the physical objects produced, rather than how it was meant to be played. Fair enough perhaps, as this is a collecting site, but if you want to compare Newfooty with Subbuteo, then you really have to study the rules for each one. It is also instructive to see how both inventors tackled representing the various aspects of real football. So these two new pages show the different rule books you might want to collect, along with the full rules from the late 1930s and 1951-52 (and extra details from 1958-59).
New footy Accessory lists
Digging out my Newfooty sets to check the rule books gave me a chance to take some rather hurried pictures of different Newfooty goal types. Most are covered in the history of Newfooty, but having pictures in the accessory list allows us to easily work out which description is which. The metal goals with the enamelled front are my pick. Tough and practical. The plastic goals have a metal back bar, but are still pretty thin and fragile by comparison.
Football Rosettes Gallery
It's always nice when a quirky little item turns up and fills a gap. Here we have a couple of wonderful items owned by Heart fan Nick McLaren. First up, we have these rosettes in Subbuteo's lovely claret/maroon paintwork. Which rosette version would you have picked?
Miscellaneous Items 1970s-2001
Talking of nice paintwork, this other little Hearts related treasure is a Club Colours set from 1987. I'd never been sent pictures of a real life set of Club Colours before. As Nick remembers a window display full of rosettes, I assume he was older than me when this item was produced, which is probably why John Roberson is coloured in so neatly. That said, I'd struggle to do work this good with paint sticks even now. The shading is lovely. The pin-stripped shirt is the goalkeeper top in case you are wondering.
International box sets
Ashley Hemming sent these pictures in, and this is the earliest Dutch set that I've seen. Interestingly, it is using the same deep box that the early Belgian sets used, but here it has a later English box sticker, (rather than a Dutch language one). These sets are midway between the Assembly Outfit and the Combination, as they were a basic set, but sold with the assembled (and much nicer) deluxe goals.
A few more bubble packs are filling in the blanks in the accessory run.
This is another box I had assumed didn't exist! This is a Hobby Crest era C130 box. The original World Cup Goals box existed into the Chiddingstone Causeway era, and is very common so I had assumed a specific late 1970s version wasn't produced. These were such popular goals in the 1970s that I'm amazed that I never picked this box up in a car boot sale bundle back in the day. It must've had quite a short run.
Ashley sent me this picture of the 1990s pitch-corner style box used on later versions of the Italia '90 pitch.
Ashley also spotted this shop window display that recently arrived in collecting circles (via Ebay I think). The logos suggest a circa 1968-70 date. An attractive slab of cardboard, that was somehow lucky to survive all these years.
21st century branded products.
Whilst I have actually seen evidence that you can indeed own too many mugs, this image was sent in to the site, and was too pretty to leave out. It basically takes the logos from the John Lewis Special Collector's Edition (produced in 2015 and again in 2019), and wraps it around a mug. Basic maybe, but an attractive item nevertheless. Does your kitchen have room for another mug?
Updates for September 2023.
We've arrived at another football season, and I'm writing this as the Autumn weather finally seems to have arrived. This page is getting pretty long isn't it? Let's see what goodies lie in wait this month...
Promotional and cross-selling Sky Sports Premier League Promotional 1995.
We'll start the month with something I've never seen before. This fantastic little promotional item was sent in by Guy Rickard, who advises us that his brother was given it when he worked on the Sports desk at the Sun newspaper. The set was produced to advertise the Sky Sports Christmas schedule for 1995-96. This was also the first year of the Waddingtons Premier League licence, and so this promotional could use this new style of box, along with a single player from each of the teams involved (except final team Chelsea as they'd run out of room). A Sky insert includes the details of the games shown live from Dec 24th to Jan 2nd.
What a nice surprise that was when it dropped into my inbox. I wonder how many were produced?
International box sets - Dutch Rules Sheet 1997.
I'm often sent pictures of 1990s sets that were sold abroad, but usually there is only a sticker to differentiate the set from a UK version. Sometimes the sticker is on the box, and sometimes on the shrink-wrap, which makes it very ephemeral. By this point Waddingtons/Hasbro had worked out that if they took the English titles off the boxes (Club Edition, World Cup Goals etc) and added the small print/rules in a variety of common languages, they saved money on packaging costs. Occasionally though, some genuine variation sneaks through. Here a basic Hasbro edition from 1997 with a Dutch sticker on the box also featured this unique variation to the 1997 rulebook. It shows it is always worth having a closer look at even the most standard looking sets (the box sticker illustrated on the box set page).
We've definitely been having a good year for weird Newfooty stuff. Here finally, is a Magna Golf set, one of the few Keeling sports games that were missing any kind of illustration. As with many of these old games, the box is a delight. Seeing the pitch and accessories laid out makes you realise that a golf course laid out in a two foot by two foot box is going to be very tiny, and really nothing like the classic larger golf games like Carpet Golf, which I was using as a comparison in my original piece.
Also on the subject of Newfooty - we've managed to add another 3D Newfooty footballer to the list. This one is England.
French introduction, Delacoste Accessories, Delacoste Teams, Delacoste international teams
Over the summer I've been sent details of various Subbuteo catalogues, both foreign language and UK trade ones (thanks to Ashley mostly). Now I've got through most of the accessory box update, I'll be looking at these in more detail over the Autumn. Many are not featured properly on the site, and I think a gallery of non-UK catalogues would be a useful round-up even if I am duplicating details shown elsewhere on the site (useful for me as much as anyone!).
This first catalogue to feature seemed like a simple update, but proved to be anything but. I own scans from a 1981 French catalogue, but not one of the cover, and so this wasn't illustrated on the site. This cover was sent in (by Ashley I think), and it looked like it would plug a simple gap. Except that I've found that I actually have a colour photocopy of this very catalogue in my files (don't ask), and although undated, it isn't the 1981 range. This is because the European Edition is incoming, (but not yet illustrated), and it also features Mulhouse among the top flight French teams, and they had one season in the French top flight, which was 1982-83 (they finished bottom).
On closer inspection, I also found that this catalogue was from a new French distributor - not the famous Delacoste, but MAKO S.A. The new company had renumbered the whole French range (not for the first time), so although the team pages look very similar to 1981, all the numbers are different (sigh). This has resulted in having to thread the new details through the French section of the website, which at least gave me the chance to polish the section up a little (these pages have remained untouched for a considerable time). I've not added the new accessory numbers, as they are frankly a bit of a mess... not all of them are illustrated, the numbers double up, and French gives me a headache. The catalogue uses the accessory pictures from the Subbuteo World catalogue of 1980, although not everything was available in France.
I'm not sure whether I want the other catalogues to be just as exciting as this, or frankly a bit easier to do!
More fun with accessory boxes, and surviving bubble packs. Can you spot any missing ones now? If so, send them in.
Many thanks to Giovanni Buscemi who sent in the picture of the rarer blue and yellow "corner kicker" goalkeepers in a bubble.
21st century branded products
Looking at the expensive stuff on ebay recently, I spotted a buy-it-now of the whole set of Royal Doulton porcelain Subbuteo players which were produced all the way back in 2004 (that makes you feel old doesn't it?). If you have to ask the price you can't afford them.
I don't propose to illustrate them all, but some time back Ashley Hemming sent me this nice little picture of the Limited Edition Brazil player, which was the reward for buying the whole set. It is much prettier than the white/black player currently illustrating this section, and limited to boot. Who could resist? The full set also helpfully confirmed which reference numbers were produced (because I'd only ever seen three or four of them before).
Rival games 1980s-00s
Okay, here's a bit of fun. This is a quote from the back of a football game released in 2012. Can you guess what it was?
"Pass, Dribble and Shoot by flicking your players, don't miss the ball though or you'll be on the defensive. Full rules for Throw-ins, Free Kicks and Fouls inside. Tabletop Football for 2012!"
Easy right? Netcam's re-released Subbuteo launched in 2012... Err no, Actually it is from this little box set.
If this passed you by, I wouldn't be too upset frankly. However, it was another attempt at a collectable, flicking game aimed at children. This was what Hasbro were also aiming for with the photo-real Subbuteo. It had licensed kits and players. It had goalkeepers on rods. It had Lego compatibility. It lasted about as long as photo-real Subbuteo did. Chunky players on big bases don't tend to make a very thrilling game though (Sport Billy proved this long ago!).
On the subject of big bases, the figures shown above were given to me many years ago, and I've still no idea what game they come from. I own full ten man teams in red and blue, plus goalkeepers in yellow and green bases (the goalkeeper figures are identical to the normal players). I've added a Subbuteo player to show the size - the bases are actually very close in size to the Sports*Stars set. I've asked Paul at Old Football Games for advice, but he's as stumped as I am. Anyone got any ideas?
I should note that the bases and players have a hole through the centre, and this suggests they might be fixed to a board (and the bases are therefore just bumpers). But I'd still like to know what they are.
New Links - Links for Subbuteo
I'll finish this month with a couple of websites selling stuff - one in the UK and one (pleasingly) in Germany. (there is also a bit of World Cup news added to the News section).
Subbuteo and Vinyl is the UK shop, run by Andy Gregory, and selling a selection of vintage teams and accessories. Currently there are also some of the Italian heavyweight partwork teams for sale, and I've found those much harder to source in the UK than the older lightweight ones. Well worth a browse.
The German website is SubbuteoMarkt is run by Petros Sioutis. In contrast to the Subbuteo shop, this is a website for new Subbuteo and table soccer products. For any German website visitors this seems a great place to stock up on Subbuteo, Zeugo, professional bases, paintable figures, and some of the new 3D printed stuff on the market. Clear to navigate, and a good range of things to enjoy.
Petros also sent me pictures of the new official Subbuteo Astropitch, which he has on his site, and had previously proved to be a little elusive. I've also pinched this picture of some cute little 3D printed trophies from his site. When I updated the section on the VIP set, I mentioned making sure you had the miniature FA Cup in the set. If you haven't been so fortunate, there is now a range of different cups for the Queen to hand out.
October 2023 Updates.
International box sets
We'll start this month with some additions to the International box sets page. These are always a delight for English collectors, who rarely get to see these editions. Newly arrived are pictures of the late 1970s Dutch Club Edition produced by Clipper. Clipper added extra colours to the standard box lid (which improves it in my view) and also produced their own unique box interiors.
Another set added is a Swedish language edition from the early 1970s. Whilst this is a standard Club Edition, a sticker with a Swedish explanation has been applied to the lid, and a Swedish rule book was included.
Here are a couple more unusual interior layouts for international sets. The green plastic inner is from a World Cup set from distributor Jumbo from Germany. The flimsy white plastic comes from a New Zealand Club Edition (although oddly this interior also seems to have been used in Greece). The Championnet de Ligue set is the French language version of the League Edition (which was the final variant of the old Display Edition of course).
Ashley Hemming had been using Google Picture Search to help fill in his knowledge of these ranges before passing on the pictures to me, and it is therefore possible that I am "borrowing" pictures from some of the classic online resources of international sets, such as the wonderful thesubbuteomuseum.com. Whilst I do have permission from Franco to borrow stuff from him, I do try not to double up too much. Still, I guess if I send a few visitors in his direction, that is a fair trade (so give him a visit!). He has detailed pictures of contents and box details which my general overview does not cover. I guess if you recognise any of the other rarer sets/pictures as "yours" and would like a link or a credit get in touch. This site is always a community resource.
In Ashley's latest selection of pictures was the Rugby Shop Display. These items have passed through ebay and Subbuteoworld in the past, and it is a well known item in collecting circles. I was sure it was already on the site, but that this new version might be useful for any variant teams. However, when I got to the Shop Display page, it was missing. What? How?
So here it is in all its glory. This display dates to the late 1960s or early 1970s, when the OO scale version of rugby was new. The teams on the left hand side are running in the proper order, but the right has been a little messed up. The 26 rugby teams have been supplemented with the referee set, to help fill the 30 slots available. Only one heavyweight is among the proper rugby figures, which is about right for the early days of the game. Note that ref R9 is the more unusual alternative version where the red yellow and black stripes have been split up and are spread across the whole shirt.
Accessories C101-C110, Accessories C111-C120 etc.
This month's selection of accessory pack pictures are mostly from the earlier numbers. Note the A and B boxes for the classic 1970s floodlights complete with different card interiors.
I added the three known World Cup/European Championship posters to the website earlier this year. Another job done, or so I thought. No chance! Ashley was checking his World Cup 1986 set, and has found that he has an earlier version of the '86 poster. My version (on the right) is actually post-World Cup. Not only are all the qualifiers on there, but all the results from the World Cup itself, all the way to the final, are shown in the blue football. On Ashley's poster (on the left) very few of the qualifiers have even been played, so no teams have been added to the "qualified" boxes, and the blue football is of course, blank. It makes me wonder if there is a poster between the two in date, with the qualifiers finished, but where the actual World Cup results needed to be filled in. Anyone fancy checking?
Updates for November 2023
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.
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!!
Whilst working on the European Catalogue page, I noticed that the 1994 Italian catalogue had these three 1980s accessories illustrated which had long since disappeared elsewhere. The referee's kit had disappeared from the British catalogues way back in 1983. I assume Parodi still had stock to shift... The crowd barrier even got a 1990s pitch corner box for its trouble.
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 A-Z range (A-M) etc...
It wouldn't be a monthly update without a few more pack examples. Some of these are from Chris Allen's fine collection. Meanwhile, Ashley has been sending me pictures of the 61218 Corner Piece box for months (possibly years). It must have been some sort of mental block this end. Any more common boxes that I've overlooked?
This is probably the final update of the year, as it makes sense to move any December work that I do onto a What's New 2024 page. It has been (rightly) pointed out that having the updates on this page that run downwards means that the latest updates are hard to locate (especially on a little mobile phone screen). Therefore next year's updates will feature the latest updates at the top of the screen. Hurrah. However, this doesn't mean you can skip the "News" section or indeed "Moments in Time" which is my equivalent of a magazine back page feature. Next time out - Belgium 1983-84.
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. Part of the project to get children interested in Subbuteo (and its history) 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.
A big flyer for the third annual Subbuteofest at Haverhill Rovers. As usual, a good mix of tournaments for whatever type of Subbuteo or table soccer takes your fancy. Plus trade stands and a collectors Fair. What more could you want? More details from Alan Lee, and at the The Wobbly Hobby Shop website.
The State Museum for Archaeology in Chemnitz in Germany had an exhibition on table football games to run alongside the Qatar World Cup. I imagine that German table football products will be heavily involved (and Tipp-Kick is a really early example that continues to this day). However, Subbuteo features, and indeed a Subbuteo game is on the front cover of the accompanying publication (details and ISBN are below). It sounded like a fantastic little event, so hopefully I can add a few more details later.
Big thank you to Dr Hans-Peter Hock who let me know about this one. He also sent a few pictures, of which the one above is my favourite. I've not seen these figures before, and they look itching to be played with!
The exhibition is accompanied by the publication
Home Game. Table Football in the Pre-Digital Age
by Hans-Peter Hock
52 Seiten mit zahlreichen farbigen Abbildungen
52 pages with numerous coloured illustrations, hardcover
14 x 22,5 cm, gebunden hardcover (Dresden 2022)
ISBN 978-3-943770-78-0 Price 9,80 €
(I'm in here somewhere)
The second Wobbly Hobby Club League took place on 19-20 November 2022. I managed to attend (and play) on the Saturday, and I was amazed by the large attendance (I counted over 80 players). Well done to Alan Lee and the other organisers. I enjoyed catching up with a few old friends, and meeting others for the first time. It was all played in a great spirit. So I'll repeat myself, and suggest that if you are a solo-playing collector, that you check to see if their is a club near you, and make contact. You won't regret it.
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 email@example.com (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 5).
1971:72 - The (difficult) birth of Paris St Germain and the French h/w range.
Promoted:- Strasbourg (ref 2), Sedan (ref 149) and Valenciennes (ref 150). All three had been relegated in 1970-71 and bounced straight back.
In the last ten years or so, Paris St Germain have become one of the giants of European football. However, they are a relatively recent club (well, they are a little younger than me). Their birth coincided with with the introduction of heavyweights to France, so it is worth a visit.
French football tends to have one club per city. There are none of the intense city rivalries seen elsewhere in Europe. In the amateur era, Paris actually had two famous sides - Racing Club and Red Star (the latter founded by Jules Rimet). Both had won the French cup five times, but neither since the 1940s, and by the 1960s Paris was clearly lacking a serious contender for league or cup. Paris FC were founded as a "virtual" club in 1969 in an attempt to launch a new professional side. A merger with Sedan was turned down, but they were more successful with Stade Saint Germain who had just been promoted to the second division. Paris FC had the finance, and Stade St Germain had the league position, training ground, manager and players. They played at Racing Club's traditional ground - Parc des Princes. They immediately won promotion to the top flight, and for their debut top flight season they finished safe in 16th place.
That debut season in the top flight also happened to be the year chosen for Subbuteo's launch range in France. French football history site fanfoot51 shows that Bastia's unusual white kit with blue chest bars was only used in this single season. Nantes were also in their chest hoops, and Nice had just returned to their traditional red and black stripes. Paris SG chose a red shirt with blue facings - ref 145.
Interestingly, the two odd (and again, controversial) French "away kits" that turn up in Italian collecting circles also come from this year (1971-72)
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, things at Paris SG had got complicated. Paris City Council were willing to offer financial support, but wanted the club to be called Paris FC. The directors were split on the issue, and soon so was the club. Paris FC kept the top flight berth, and Paris Saint Germain were dropped into the amateur third division.
In Subbuteo, Delacoste became the distributors in 1973 changing the French reference numbers in the process. Also in 1973-74 the French teams made it to the UK catalogues, essentially on references 136-150.
The Parisian reversal of fortune was not to last. Paris FC struggled in the first division, and were relegated in 1974. One of the clubs replacing them (in the league, and at the Parc de Princes) were the returning Paris St Germain, in their iconic red and blue. The whole affair confused Subbuteo in the UK. Reference 145 was Paris St Germain on arrival in 1973-74, but blank in 1974-75 when Paris FC became the amber and black reference 188 (amusingly sponsored by BIC). For 1975-76 and 1977 though, reference 145 was suddenly Paris FC.
Delacoste were one of the first distributors to amend the out-of-date collection of kits that Subbuteo in the UK were providing. They also introduced kits for newly promoted teams - Lens and Troyes in the top flight for 1973/74, the return of Paris SG in 1974/75, Avignon in 1975/76 and Laval in 1976/77. With the exception of Avignon (who simply wore kit 166) these teams were fed back into the UK range in the 1978 expansion (249-252)
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.