Old Sods play a test match...

On the eve of the 2019 SoS OSC tournament, the Old Sods check out the Stadium of Fingers, which is set up for some end of summer Subbuteo Cricket.

Ever open to inspiration and unable to avoid the temptation to play a 00-scale test match between England and Australia, the inaugural Old Sods Subbuteo cricket match commences...

This clip shows the first ever piece of footage of the event, featuring Spudski bowling to Ute Ubo, watched on by Puffin, JohnClu48 and Donald 'Fabio' Crowhurst'...

Here we witness Ute Ubo's first ever 'Old Sod' runs, with a cleverly-placed streaky edge for a boundary. Note all the slips are on the leg side for this left-hander! 🙄

As Rocket steps up to bowl his first over, Spud reminds the gathered ensemble of the importance of banter-esque sledging and the gold standard to aspire to...😂
A slomo of an early wicket. Things can be bit quick in Subbuteo cricket for the naked eye, but here it was clear to all - Fabio is definitely cleaned bowled by John!!
All the Old Sods were fairly inexperienced newbies as far as Subbuteo Cricket is concerned. Here is Fabio's first delivery. Spud playing down the wrong line!
Fingers tries out a reverse sweep and a scoop shot against Fabio's bowling, with varied success...
Rudi arrives and starts his lesson in Subbuteo Cricket. First lesson - keep a close eye on the game!
Fabio getting the hang of this game, with another wicket, dismissing Down the Wing! Then Puffin humbles him with a lofted drive for four to long off...
Puffin is now getting his eye in, with a lovely square cut - the most cultured shot of the game! The Old Sods are collectively impressed - Good shot Sir!
Finger's bowling a bit of spin, which is erratic at best. Puffin 's eye is in, but he's done all ends up around his legs.
Fabio comes in to bat. Fingers shows no mercy, with unplayable spin... until Fabio hits him for six. The only 6 of the game...
In the end, the only way Fabio was getting out was by another Italian. Rudi - getting the hang of bowling...
Fabio carefully explains Subbuteo Cricket rules, tactics and nuances to Rudi, with the Olds Sods in their element.
Only watch this if you are ready - A painful experience of trying to retrieve the ball from a slip fielder's cup, while leaning over the East Stand in the Stadium of Fingers...
Ute Ubo enjoys his bowling. Fingers enjoys his batting. This contest should therefore have been well-matched. It wasn't...! One of them celebrates and one is decidedly sad...
"When you're ready" says our Italian batsman. Followed by "I wasn't ready! as the stump cartwheels across the pitch!
Ute Ubo bowls to Puffin. A wicket is claimed, but the umpire (who clearly needs glasses) doesn't give it! 🙄
Ute Ubo gets a little careless with no slip cordon and fails to spot the 'fly-slip' who Rocket sneakily placed into a catching position!
Back to bowling, Ute bowls a tidy over, taking out John's leg stump, leaving Australia nine wickets down in their 2nd innings.

Hat-trick ball

One close-up video clip was taken for a hat-trick ball...

Ute, was having a purple patch with the ball and had already dispatched two fine Old Sods back to the pavilion...First Puffin, and then Fabio...

The hat-trick ball was fended off by an Older and Wiser Sod (Rocket), playing a solid forward defensive shot.

Even so, the ball nearly found a way through...

The last wicket to fall...

Fingers, tries to nullify the devastating Ute Ubo bodyline bowling, by taking a long stride down the pitch.

The tactic fails miserably and Australia are all out, beaten by an innings and 25 runs!

The Old Sods then strolled back to the pavilion to watch highlights of their game.

Suffice to say there was some plentiful sledging of the umpire with some suggested visits to the opticians...

The Story…

This is the story of the unfinished season...

One day in 1976, three brothers decided to play a Subbuteo league - the youngest not yet 10 years old...

They had 12 teams between them, who competed for the league championship and the FA Cup...

Southampton, Chelsea, QPR, Man Utd, Watford, Norwich City, West Ham, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Arsenal, Spurs and Man City.

Then more teams appeared, so in 1977 a 2nd division was needed. The top 6 teams formed the new first division (apart from Watford, who seemed to be lost for a few years!? 🙄), where they were joined by Everton, Hibs and Plymouth.

Leeds Utd were added to the second division. This belonged to the three brothers' Dad, who decided it was time to join in...

The seasons continued until 1983, but this season remains unfinished - just 4 games were left needing to be played...

The teams progress through the divisions from 1976 to 1983

The Trophies

Division 1 Cup: 1976 So'ton; 1977 Soton
Division 2 Cup: 1977 Liverpool, 1978 Everton
1978 So'ton; 1979 Chelsea; 1980 Chelsea
1979 Darlington; 1980 Liverpool
Division 3 Cup: 1979 Newcastle; 1980 Watford

Subbuteo produced a limited range of trophies. This one is the rare intact 3-handled League Cup. One of the holy grail accessories for 21st century collectors. In mint condition it could be worth up to £200. "The rarist by far of all Subbuteo trophies" (Subbuteo Emporium) "The League Cup is now the most sought-after trophy on the planet." (Subbuteo Online).

As this one was used for the Division 3 Cup and has tippex on the base, it is devalued by approximately £199... 🙄

FA Cup: 1976 Chelsea; 1977 Soton
1978; Hibs; 1979 So'ton; 1980 So'ton

The 1983 Season...

Division 1

Newly promoted SV Brudges losing their opening 2 games...
The table needs updating to reflect all games played...
At the top of the table, one game remains unplayed - the championship decider between Southampton and Chelsea
With Chelsea's goal difference at +9 and Southampton's at +10, all Chelsea need is a win to take top spot.
QPR are relegated, but the second relegation place was controversial with Hibs and Norwich having identical goals for and against (both 13-17). However, as Norwich won their encounter 4-3, Hibs are relegated.

The top goalscorer of the season is currently Southampton's number 11 (Bobby Stokes). Chelsea's number 9 (Peter Osgood - even though he had left by then!) could become the top scorer if he nets a hat-trick in the final game!

Division 2

Newcastle and Plymouth were mid-table after 1 game following their 2-2 draw
The final table is awaiting the last game to be played between Sheffield Wednesday and Watford...
All games have been completed, apart from Watford v Sheffield Wednesday. With Blackpool already champions and promoted, both Sheffield Weds and Watford need to win this game by 5 goals to overhaul West Ham. It looks unlikely, but who knows,,,?

Cambridge Utd end up rock bottom, relegated to division 3 along with Aston Villa.

Top goalscorer in Division 2 is currently Watford's number 9 (Luther Blisset), although Sheffield Wednesday's number 10 (Brian Joicey?) could yet overtake him...

Division 3

An opening 1-1- draw between Cork Hibs and Man City...
The final table still needs filling in...
Spurs and Man City are still to play, with Spurs still with a chance for promotion. If they get a draw then four teams finish the season level on 12 points. Balleymena's goal difference is +8, Cardiff's is +5, and Nice have +3. Spurs' goal difference is currently +9, so a draw is all they need to win the championship!

Northampton and West Brom are relegated to division 4

The division 3 top goalscorer is Ballymena's number 4 (Terry Kingon?), and he should stay there unless the Spurs v Man City game is an absolute goal fest!

Division 4

Borussia Mönchengladbach get off to a flyer and Coventry City get off to a disastrous start!
The table hasn't been updated yet, probably waiting for the whole season to finish first...
All games have been completed, with three teams ending up on 10 points. Hartlepool, with a goal difference of +6 are promoted to division 3 as champions. Millwall's goal difference of +3, pips Borussia Mönchengladbach's +1 to grab the runner's up spot and promotion.

Arsenal are relegated together with Coventry City,

The division 4 top goalscorers were Morton's number 7 (Andy Ritchie) and Bournemouth's number 6 (Billy Steel?)

Alliance Premier League

Hot Shot Hamish and Mighty Mouse get off to a great start!
The final table still needs filling in...
This was the first season of the new Alliance Premier, and with all games completed, the 8th Southend are promoted as champions, and Princes Park bag the runners-up spot, despite their neutral goal difference.

Melchester Rovers appear to have ended up bottom of the entire league! 😲

The top goalscorer golden boots are shared between the 8th Southend's number 11 (Pete Osborne), and Princes Park's number 9 ('Hot Shot' Hamish Balfour)

The FA Cup

It's not entirely clear why there was a need for a preliminary round, with 48 teams in the 5 divisions.

Surely a first round of 16 games would have reduced the teams to 32 to compete in the second round?

It appears West Brom beat Sheffield Weds in the first round, although whoever Southend High beat has faded away over time. ...although this should be work-outable if anyone wants to spend the time...
So just the final remains...
Southampton, the three times winners versus Arsenal, who have been relegated from division 4.
It's all set up for a famous cup upset!

Bookings and Sendings off

The foul rule played in these games, was if a figures hits another figure before hitting the ball it was judged a foul. Obviously a foul because the player smacked into an opponent before playing the ball - a clear foul!

Apparently, this is a 'back' in Subbuteo rules, but these three brothers and the Dad didn't know this rule at the time. They played the foul rule as it clearly should be played if the figures were real people. I mean can you imagine if a football player runs up to an opponent and kicks his legs away, and then the referee says "go back to where you were" and then waves play-on??? 😲

So, using this (more realistic) foul rule, there were plenty of fouls. If a player committed two fouls in a game they were booked, and a third foul meant they got sent off

The dirtiest player of the season? The 8th Southend's number 11 - Pete Osborne...

A Match Report

As reported in a conversation with Vikash Ramnath on a Subbuteo Forum

That was my thought as well Vik!! 😃

However, the old 3-tier stadium does make for interesting incidents. I was playing 90+ on Wednesday evening. We are still trying to finish off our 1983 seasons and we were playing a third division match between Cork Hibs and West Brom (my brother was West Brom, who were already relegated).

Cork Hibs were also playing their 9th and last game of the seasons and were destined for mid-table mediocrity, win lose or draw. So the game was played more for inspiration than points, and for the first time for probably 15 years we had reached half time 0-0 – not easy to do when you play 20 mins each way. There were loads of chances and close-shaves, but it seemed like the goals and goalkeepers were having a charmed existence.

For example, I was trying to pass back to my goalie from the edge of the defensive area, and because it’s too much hassle to walk round the table and lean over the 3 tiers, I leaned over from behind the goal turning my hand 180 degrees to play the ball back with my left hand holding the goalie’s rod.

This body position apart from looking ungainly and feeling uncomfortable, also lends itself to a certain lack of subtlety that such delicate flick demands. Essentially, I ended up blasting the ball back to my goalie who promptly punched the ball straight into the west stand for a thrown-in! 😲

Later I was attacking with the ball by the corner flag with my lone attacker on the goal line with 2 flicks left. 90+ was tying me down with defensive flicks, but to do these flicks he had to let go of his goalie in order to play them. As there really wasn’t anything on I went for the old ‘flick the player up the sideline whilst just glancing the ball, and then fire in a shot from 2 inches from the corner flag before my brother could take his defensive flick’ option.

I was astounded when this actually came off, but even more astounded when my brother’s unattended goalie pushed the shot round the post!! 😲😫

The match carried on in this general chaotic vein until 90+ scored what we thought at the time was the winner, in the 38th minute. It was one of those impossible to read shots where the player is 6 inches outside the shooting area and the ball 2 inches inside it. He was just able to lean over the 3 tiers to get right behind the player and caught the ball just right, slotting it inside my left-hand post.

He then played 9-0-1 for the last 2 minutes and 50 seconds! 🙄This tactic appeared to have worked with 7 seconds to go. He had just taken a goal kick that ricocheted off one of my players, and the ball had ended up right in my defending left hand corner arc. We both applauded the realism of such quality time-wasting tactics and we mentally prepared to play out the game by faffing around the corner flag. 🙁

My left back then played a blinder. First he curled 25 yards (00-scale!) and just touched the ball with his head (the ball was still nearer the touchline than the player). Then he did one of those ‘180-degree-tight-curl-right-around-the-ball’ type of flicks 😎 and ended up in the corner right next to the ball, with only one option of passing to the goalie. He kicked it hard to make sure it reached, forcing the standing goalie to boot the ball up the pitch whilst it was on the move. At this point my brother’s spidey-sense made him turn and head for his goalie.

A midfield player played the ball on through a tight gap and the ball ended up in the shooting area, with his players all around it. My only player with sight of the ball was 5 inches from the half-way line and slightly on the other side of the pitch to where I was flicking. So, on the tippiest of my left toes and with my right root in the air, I had to lean as far over the 3 tiers and across the pitch as I could. My finger just reached, but it was total guesswork in aiming for the ball. From where I was learning over the West Stand I had a great side view of this player catching the ball perfectly and seeing the ball blast inside my brother’s hapless keeper inside his right-hand post. He was initially stunned, and then when the full-time whistle went one second later, he just fell to the ground in a state of dejected hysteria!! 🤪

I love the effect this stadium can have on what is otherwise an orderly pastime! 😂

The games commence...

Euro 2016 Report – Week 1

Flick O’Rooney scores goal of the championship!

A fun-filled start to the fAABI Euro 2016 was had by Jon, Erica and Steve, with the moment of the evening being a sublime chip over the keeper from close range by the famous Northern Irish Subbuteo figure Flick O’Rooney. Erica (playing for Northern Ireland) was facing an impossible situation with the Ukrainian keeper (played by Jon) bearing down on her star striker who then fashioned remarkable chip over the despairing goalie, who was heard to mutter “Я не вірю в це!”. (“I don’t believe it!”)

All matches were hard fought, and yet humorous affairs, full of much mirth and some skill. Two potentially career-ending injuries were suffered by the players, with an over-enthusiastic shot by Jon resulting in the ball flying into Erica’s front teeth, whilst Jon suffered a groin injury as a Welsh player was flicked with a little too much vigour and hurtled off the table.


Romania (Erica) 0 – 0 Albania (Jon)

[Albania win 3-2 on penalties]

Slovakia (Jon) 0 – 0 Wales (Erica)

Ukraine (Jon) 1 – 1 Northern Ireland (Erica)

[Ukraine win 4-1 on penalties]

The games progress...

…6 action-packed evenings later…!

Final Results

Many thanks for those who turned up to take part in the final week of the Euro 2016 Subbuteo event.

We saw Wales reaching the final, where they finally succumbed to Germany 3-2 on penalties!

Also many congrats to Erica for topping the players’ table (by quite some margin!)
We hope to flick again to celebrate the World Cup in 2018…!

The idea was born

In 2013, a few casual conversations around shared hobbies and interests resulted in the Friends of Attend Acquired Brain Injury (FAABI) exploring the idea of holding some Subbuteo events for its community of beneficiaries and carers.

A demo event was held with the ABI Job Club clients, and their thoughts were invited on whether a series of Subbuteo evenings would be welcomed by ABI survivors. The overall impression they offered was that it would be worth promoting as a pilot.

FAABI then approached Paul Lamond Games (distributors of Subbuteo in the UK), who kindly donated teams, goals and balls for the pilot sessions. The refreshments were covered by a donation by ITV, for the use of the Stadium of Fingers in the creation of their FA Cup video, shown on ITV before the FA Cup Final between Man City and Wigan.

The concept

The Subbuteo evenings are an opportunity for participants to spend some relaxed time with fellow table football enthusiasts, playing a few games and sharing a drink and nibbles. The evenings are open to all – those who have never played Subbuteo table football and want to ‘give it a go’, and those who used to play the game when they were younger. Standard of play is irrelevant, but a cheerful disposition is mandatory!

Six consecutive Tuesday evenings, between 6.30pm and 8.30pm between 9th July 2013 to 13 Aug 1013.

Trying out some midfield play...
In a shooting position...

The games

The final table

The champion

Jen Chandler

"Before my accident, I was 18 and I had just qualified as a horse riding instructor. Two weeks after receiving my qualification, I was in a car accident and suffered a serious head injury.

I stayed in hospital and rehabilitation for nine months. I remember feeling absolutely devastated but I just knew I had to rebuild my life.

With lots of support I eventually got work in an office and then started to look for ways that I could socialise again.

I heard about Friends of Attend ABI (FAABI) and decided to give it a go, first by joining their discussion group. Then recently I came to FAABI’s Subbuteo evenings.

I had never played Subbuteo before, however having been to FAABI before I knew that it would be nothing but fun.

Initially I simply saw it as a social thing where I would just come in and chat to other people about the games. However, I started playing a few matches myself and found that I really got into it. I’ve always been a competitive person and Subbuteo bought that side right out of me! In the end, I ended up winning the entire competition and was very happy about this!

Overall, I think FAABI is fantastic. Because of FAABI, my confidence has grown and it has given me something to look forward to every week. My life now is very different to the life I had before but the most important thing is that I feel like I am living."

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