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The Sun on Your Face

Blog Entry: Subbuteo Table Football Game

a subbuteo figure from 1986: Everton

Subbuteo Table Football.


30th June 2010

Subbuteo is a table football game that has been produced in various forms since the late 1940's. Actually that's not strictly true as it was not confined to just football - there have been Subbuteo versions of cricket, rugby, hockey and even fishing over the years.

Though not swimming as the satirical magazine Viz once suggested!

My Addiction

It was the football version that hooked me though, and specifically collecting the replica teams that accompanied it. I've had that particular addiction for most of life from about 7 years old to 45 with a bit of an interlude in between.

I got my first set in about 1975 for Xmas. I think it was the Continental Floodlight edition but I'm not sure. It certainly wasn't Munich - the Nirvana of its day.

Munich Subbuteo Game Set

I do remember my first team being Wolves though, with those wonderful Old Gold shirts that Subbuteo never seemed to be able to get quite right in future incarnations.

Wolverhampton wanderers Subbuteo Figure

After that I was hooked. I frequently raced to our local sports shop at the weekend with pocket money in hand to pick up a new team, as I tried to collect all the first division teams of the day and re-enact the season in our front room in front of the gas fire. I used to write to Tonbridge Wells for those teams that I found impossible to get locally. Luton Town was a particular favourite.

Hibernian Subbuteo Figure

Like many others, during my teenage years I slowly outgrew my favourite pastime and eventually gave all the teams to my younger cousin. Then in my early thirties some friends bought me a set as a joke for my birthday and before I knew it I was hooked again. It was the early 1990's and I was living in Edinburgh at the time. Suddenly Jenners, Toys 'R Us and John Menzies were treasure troves of Scottish teams I had never had as a kid, such as Queens Park, Hibernian and Partick Thistle.

I started off intending to just collect the Scottish Premier League teams (all 10 of them at the time) and ended up 3 years later searching for Bolivia, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria to complete my USA 94 collection!

Bolivia subbuteo figure Saudi Arabia subbuteo figure Nigeria subbuteo figure

With the advent of eBay my collection has reached about 100 teams now and although I have slowed down, I do still get the occasional urge.

Queens Park Rangers subbuteo figure

The last team I bought was QPR from 1985-86. I have an itch to collect all the first division teams from that season - one of the last ones that my team Everton were the reigning Champions of England. Luckily, there is not much danger of that happening again in the near future so my collection may be approaching completion!

Subbuteo is still available from many places - obviously ebay, but also from the likes of WTS, SuperFooty, OldSubbuteo UK and subbuteo world. If you ever get the chance to play it you should give it go as it is still a great game - football in 3D in your own home 30 years before 3D televisions!