Friday, March 21, 2008

Football Culture - Subbuteo,oh,oh,oh,oh

I don't subscribe to most of the rubbish that is said about the decline of society in Britain. I mean all this rubbish about ASBO and binge drinking, also gave the likes of Disraeli and Gladstone a headache, they just didn't have the jargon to know what to call it. However, the new subbuteo is pretty indicative of the rise of the individual and the selfish attitudes that were set all those years ago by Thatch. You might ask am I still blaming her for some of the crap things that happen? Well, yes I bloody well am.

Anyway, what annoys me about the new subbuteo is that kids are encouraged to collect a team of superstars, so there's no more Yeovil, Bournemouth or Plymouth to collect and apart from Gareth Barry and Micah Richards, there's probably no Villa, Man City or Portsmouth, just a team of Galacticos . Let's hope it is as successful for them as it was for Real Madrid.

Subbuteo has been around since 1946, when it was just a set of cardboard men on plastic bases, a bit like its latest incarnation, it probably reached the height of its popularity in the 1980's when there were hundreds of teams produced from around the world including some of the bigger non-league clubs of the time like Yeovil and Blythe Spartans, it also featured in a song by Half Man, Half Biscuit and on t-shirts for The Farm.

However, more difficult times were around the corner, as computer games came out and sales dropped culminating in the sale of the original company and the recent developments.

On a brighter note subbuteo seems to still have enough popularity to fuel a cottage industry of a kind with Zuego, Santiago (see picture) and Astrobase teams being produced in the UK and Italy and leagues continuing across Britain, Holland, Germany and Italy, although I suspect that alot of the players should be old enough to know better.

My own personal memories of subbuteo are playing with my mates, or my ex-nextdoor neighbour, who was in his 30's and who beat me even after 6 cans of Special Brew. He was always Coventry and I was always Villa, so I suppose subbuteo on these ocassions really was about as far away from reality as it could be. I also remember collecting tokens from Match to get free teams. I imagine that at the time Subbuteo were trying to tap the French Market, as I got Monaco, St.Etienne and Auxerre. Needless to say the Anglo-French cup was big in our house.

I suppose next time I'm at home I'll introduce Sean and Nadiya to old school subbuteo, as I still have a fair old collection in the attic. Let's hope that crap like the new subbuteo and Pro-evo soccer fall out of favour and that Zuego can corner the market for football games, although I some how doubt it will happen.

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