Friday, 27 August 2010

Top 5 Subbuteo Kits

Subbuteo was never quite the game you imagined it was going to be. My best friend DB used to come round to my house every other Friday and we'd spend hours setting up World Cup style tournaments before abandoning the idea after less than ten minutes. Our abject failure at ever completing a competitive tournament didn't prevent us from spending most of our pocket money on increasing our collection. DB got an astro turf and a grandstand, I got some floodlights and a television tower. Most of the accessories just made it harder to flick the players, though the astro turf did dramatically reduce the number of times we had to reset everything after catching the old felt pitch. Looking back, if I'm truthful, my Subbuteo obssesion was actually about collecting different teams. There was really no need to have more than two but I would spend hours pouring over the catalogue trying to decide who I should get next.

1. Fulham 1960s - I inherited this team from an older cousin and though I already had a Fulham side this allowed me to play a 50s/60s Fulham team against a 70s/80s side. I even labelled the boxes with player names. The 60s team was one of the original collections with heavyweight figures. They looked a bit more handmade than the 80s version but had a certain gravitas I liked.

2. Southampton 1976-1980 - DB was (and still is) a Southampton fan so we went to quite a few games at the Dell. I loved their kit from that era, the variation in stripe thickness seemed a radical idea at the time. The picture below is from this Subbuteo blog and features a hand painted reproduction. It's a hundred times better than any original team. Not sure if I owned this or had to settle for the wider striped follow up but Southampton v Fulham formed the basis of our most regular matchups.

3. West Ham United 1976-80 - Much like the Saints, I had a soft spot for West Ham dating back to my introduction to football with the 75 FA Cup. This kit was another favourite and my version was machine painted and managed all three chevrons.

4. Brazil 1970 - Classic seventies Brazil style kit failed to improve my ability to win games. In the words of Feargal Sharkey "He always beat me at Subbuteo, 'cos he flicked to kick and I didn't know". (Photo taken from the Evil Vince Photography blog)

5. England 1966 - I had an England '82 kit that I liked a lot, but the classic red World Cup winning shirt had greater prestige. This picture is from the Old Subbuteo UK site which sells hand painted teams to order. There are some lovely examples on there, including both Ally and Nazi teams from "Escape to Victory". Trying not to be tempted into buying one!

So I got through all that without once mentioning Half Man Half Biscuit's "All I want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague away kit". I'm not sure if the kit below is the home or away (TOFFS suggest it's the home kit) but Subbuteo never made a copy. I did spend a lot of time looking at unusual foreign teams for interesting colours though, but they were never available in the local newsagents when I went to look.

Just for good measure here's the song too.


Anonymous said...

They used to do a catalogue of world teams at one point (assuming mid eighties) - I spent hours and hours looking at that. My favourite was the moment when they let you buy World Cup squads, 1986 probably, and you got a 22 man squd (perhaps 16?). Anyway, with this the old 'trodden on/bionic glue leg' left-back issue became a thing of the past, even if all games were France v Germany.

If I ever get rich there'll certainly be a subbuteo room in the mansion.


Chopper said...

Yes, the catalogue was a thing of beauty. I did the same.