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Gallery Page 3

C191 - Three Bouncing Balls

I missed out on these in my younger days, I had to make do with giant brown plastic ones that were way out of proportion to a real life ball. If the same player / ball was used in real life I hate to think how big the ball would be, you probably wouldn't be able to kick it as it would weigh about the same as a mini cooper. I think I read somewhere that these foam high bounce balls were produced to coincide with the indoor edition which is odd in my opinion. Having played alot of indoor football I was always led to believe that 'over head height' was a foul, so a high bounce ball seems a bit of a strange thing to have in indoor football? I suppose it was those funny guys at Waddingtons having a bit of a laugh. Anyway, I couldn't resist having a go with these new balls, so carefully opened up the back of the packet to remove one. They are actually quite good. I did notice that they do a marvelous job of removing all the fluff from an Astropitch and saves getting the Dyson out. The balls can be de-fluffed at half time ready for the second half using the 'material for keeping the ball in the back of the net' which.......

Material for Keeping the Ball in the Net

... is possibly the cheekiest Subbuteo 'invention' ever. The wonder 'material' is infact just double sided sticky tape in fancy packaging. This leads me to a bizarre story. On Blue Peter they always constructed Tracy Island and other things using sticky back plastic, the trouble was sticky back plastic was quite a new thing back then and no one stocked the wonder material, you couldn't get it for love nor money, but, to those in the know, down at your local sports shop there was packets of the stuff in the guise of material for keeping the ball in the back of the net that made literally hundreds of Blue Peter things.

C133 - Interchangeable Goalkeepers
(Featuring 'Butch')

Being a bit of a goalkeeper in my time, I've always liked this set. Where most people used to just shove any goalkeeper in the goal, it was a major decision for me as to what colour or type of goalie I should field in my important games, so set C133 was really up my street. When I started collecting again this figure kept cropping up in the older sets, I don't remember him at all, but he's one hell of a bruiser and twice the build of the standard crouching keeper.

Club Flag (with names of famous clubs)

I think this was the forerunner of those miniature football kits in famous club colours that you see hanging from the rear view mirror or in back windows of cars today. Legend has it that the designer of the interior of the VW Beetle was a Subbuteo enthusiast and incorporated a special holder for the club flag into the dashboard design. In the years since the flag went out of production and the introduction of less inanimate club mascots, industrious Beetle owners have taken to filling the redundant flag holder with water and popping a flower in it, starting a whole new cult status in carefree flower power motoring. I still use the holder for its original purpose, here's a picture of me driving proudly to work in my Beetle with an original 1960's Subbuteo flag sporting a name of a famous club, which I chose and applied the sticker supplied for the famous International side, South Rhodesia.

1978 Scoreboard set Z / C115

I have several of these in varying conditions, but this one, ex shop stock from 1978, has the red World Cup teams from '78 not the usual Munich '74 ones as well as Italian club sides from the top two divisions of the period. Still has the little lights in original sealed packet.

1960's Subbuteo Poster

Typical post war Britain Poster by Subbuteo reflecting on all the good in life that can be had by owning a Subbuteo set. Father comes home looking as fresh as a daisy from his job as a ventriloquist (although he still has that Daddy's home and I've just smashed the front door in with my garden axe expression on his face). He only just makes kick off and doesn't have time to remove his tie or the puppet, which looks just like a small real life boy. He and the puppet immediately save a shot from his elated son who has brought a girl home from school for tea. Father shouts 'great save' without moving his lips. Mother stokes up the fire with splinters of wood from the front door while Jack Nicholas Junior hysterically laughs in a similar fashion to what you'd expect from a character out of a Steven King novel...his new found friend looks on adoringly, but she senses he may be more interested in Subbuteo than catching a movie tonight.

Subbuteo Dicer

Just like it says on the box, it really does add sparkle and variety to your dice games. After using one of these excellent devices, you'd never go back to using old fashioned dice ever again. I'm surprised that modern games still come with dice that you have to manually throw.

Hasbro Playing Surface

When I left playing Subbuteo in 1979 the pitches were made of felt, they did the job they were supposed to do and never let you down, except when you tried to wash them. When I returned to collecting in the 1990's Astropitches had been invented which were fantastic, but the felt standard pitch had been replaced with a nylon one. Your average Subbuteo Historian will argue the fact that the change over to nylon was due to the increasing costs of producing the felt ones and the extremely high ratio of reject cloths that were produced per batch (felt making is quite an art I'm told), but I think it may have been just a bit of a ploy to include these in starter sets to get you to go out and upgrade to the Astro for the extra thirty quid. The nylon pitch doesn't lay very flat, creases easily and is hard to iron flat again, it also creates quite alot of static electricity. Using a patent pending system of my own which I can't reveal, but does involve innards from two old defunct floodlights plus the material for keeping the ball in the back of the net, I can harness the static electricity from the nylon pitch during an average twenty minute game to power my house completely for the evening including a constant hot water supply via this environmentally friendly system.

Ref number 321, England Away

No page is complete without a roundup of repaints. This one, an England away was a replacement figure in an otherwise mint set. The seller obviously thought I wouldn't notice the careful repaint. Not only have the outers been painted white, the inners have had a coat of red gloss. I think the original figure was a standard number 1.

Ref number 3, West Bromwich Albion

A blue molded generic converted to a nice West Bromwich Albion.

Ref number 42, Chelsea - Rare late 70's version

Complete with white trim to shirt and shorts and a number six on the shorts.

April 2003 update: Paul Eyes from America has pointed out that the club badge, which I'd totally missed, is actually quite a good replica of the real Chelsea Football Club badge. Sadly, I have to agree with him on two counts, firstly that I didn't spot it and secondly that maybe we both need to get out more! Even worse I think he has a black eye (the Chelsea player, not Paul Eyes!) I think I can speak for both of us in saying it's a sad demise of a good man who can see apparitions on repainted Subbuteo players.... after a glass of good red wine I'm sure I can now see the French cockerel badge in there somewhere?



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