It was during an episode of Outnumbered last week, which i’ve recently become addicted to which started this nostalgiafest.
It was a scene when Pete challenges Jake to a game of Subbuteo, to which Jake just looks confused. Poor Jake, he never got to experience the joy of Subbuteo.
It was Christmas 1991, perhaps the greatest Christmas of all. That year, I got my first football top (Man United Adidas) , went to my first football match (Glentoran v Linfield at The Oval) and I got my first ever Subbuteo kit.
I got a pitch, but not just any old pitch, an Astropitch, which didn’t need to be ironed before a match. It came with the goalposts and ball, but not just that, a scoreboard.
From then, my mum used to check charity shops for bits and bobs, be it teams of equipment, such as a stand. Yes, I had a stand.
Mind you, this stand only had about 20 people in it. Neither my mum or dad would buy me the boxes of people (Yes, supporters were sold as accessories) required to fill it, so I had to pretend that all my Subbuteo matches were being played at The Oval.
Of course, a football stadium with only one stand looks a bit silly, so I used empty boxes to pretend that they were stands being built, as was quite common at the time as Premier League grounds were being made all seater as a result of the Taylor Report and in preparation for Euro 96.
I had various teams including Manchester United (91/92 home, 92/93 home and away), Norwich City (92/93 home), Aston Villa, Juventus, Feyenoord, West Germany, Holland, Scotland, England, Italy, Soviet Union and Wales.
There was one tragic incident when I accidentally stood on three Aston Villa players. Thankfully, quick thinking and a supply of blutac meant that they were able to resume their table football careers.
When we were playing, we could multiteam, if there were sides with similar colours. For example, Wales v Italy would become Portadown v Linfield, and so forth.
It is, of course a trivia question, but there is a UK Top 10 single which references Subbuteo in it’s lyrics. Just the one mind.
The answer of course, is ‘My Perfect Cousin’ by The Undertones. The artwork to the single is based upon this reference, where a Subbuteo player wearing a red and white striped shirt, the colours of The Undertones hometown club Derry City, with the band’s name on a pitchside advert while the crowd holds up a banner bearing the name of the song.
Of course, if there was a band doing a similar song today, it would probably go “He always beats me at Pro Evo, as he had a cheat code and I didn’t know”
They don’t know what they are missing out on.