CHASERS - Whatever club you play for, make CHASERS your second favourite club!

The CHASERS are born... 7.30pm on Wednesday 27th April 2022 The Cherry Tree pub in Wood Lane, Dagenham, RM8 3LJ

Two tables and half a dozen Chaselings!
Gary 'Sergeant Major' Gladwell...
The games continue with Westy in the backgound...

What is it about CHASERS?

All around the UK and Ireland, folks gather in their clubs to enjoy time together flicking little bits of plastic around on a miniature football pitch.

...and since April 2022, so do the CHASERS. Gary Gladwell set about starting up a club, one of several that were set up at lockdown eased, which reflected an unanticipated renewed interest in Subbuteo Table Football. With participants from Chadwell Heath, Romford and South Essex, the CHRSE was nearly born, until some bright spark suggested putting 'and South Essex' in the middle! ??

Chadwell Heath and South Essex, Romford Subbuteo Club

...there is a certain essence that CHASERS bring. The name starts it off. Not one CHASER cares that it's a clumsy anagram. All they care about is that they are a CHASER, and together they are CHASERS!

So what are they chasing?

After finishing bottom of division 2 for the 2nd time in 2 attempts, when there are just 2 divisions, some would say everybody and everything! A little more insight would indicate they might be chasing a dream...

CHASERS in team formation

One of the tournaments hosted by CHASERS

So what is this dream?

No-one really knows, in fact it appears that no-one really cares. The standard CHASER is just happy to be here!

What happens in this dream?

Anyone who fancies getting involved, gets involved. No question about the standard of play they might be offering.

What is achieved in this dream?

Folks feel accepted, encouraged to play and improve if they want to. A safe place to play a game for enjoyment.

At Subbuteofest. Not winning anything, but you can't tell from the pic! ??
CHASERS in team formation...

Notable things that have happened

By May 2023, Sam 'The Chasette' Levy had let in 183 goals and lost 77 games, with a constant grace and a smile on her face. ?

In November 2023 Steven Jackson scored his first ever goal. All games stopped immediately, as every player applauded and cheered! ?

Also, in November 2023, Sam won her first game, winning the player of the week award (and not for the first time!). ?

Solent came to play for a inter-club friendly. There's a certain unique kindred spirit between CHASERS and Solent. ?

CHASERS regularly host open WASPA tournaments, where everyone else wins the trophies! ?

CHASERS Westy and Steve buck the trend and accidentally win trophies at the October 2023 WASPA open .?

Sergeant Major Gladwell developed a special knack of getting everyone's attention when communicating the next round of games, with his trademark "SHUT UP!" ?

The rest of the CHASERS have a dawning realisation that are in fact, the rest of the cast from 'It Aint 'Alf Hot Mum!' ? ?"The folks to entertain yooouu!"?

Adz shows admirable sufferance about being mistaken as the CHASERS mascot by all the rest of the CHASERS.... which is a tad ironic as he is currently top of the CHASERS league! ?

Sam winning one of her 'Player of the Week' awards!
Sergeant Major in full flow!
Steve Jackson receiving his award for scoring his first ever goal! ?
Steve and Westy celebrating unexpected CHASER open wins! ??
A Subbuteo 'Old School' night...
The day Solent came round to play...

CHASERS at Christmas!

The traditional Christmas gathering for 2023, involved many CHASERS, with a few other guests creating an event with a round dozen participating.

The 12 players were put into two groups of 6, Group A or Group B, with each playing 5 games with the other players.

One player from Group A was paired with a player from Group B, to make up 6 Christmas teams. The teams and players are shown below...

Leyton Ornament: Neilberto Sparkos & Train Driver
Stockingham Forest: Sergeant Major & The Reporter
Kiddertinsel Harriers: The Chasette and Adzman
Chestnut City: The Badger & Westy
Plum Pudding Argyle: Down the Wing & The Cat
Queens Park Reindeers: Jelski & Fingers

The Pitches...

The traditional Christmas pitches were set up for this event, featuring...

The Christmas Pitch
No Man's Land
Subbwarts...with the Subbwarts Express
The Stadium of Fingers
Ibiza Beach

The Ibiza pitch was lit by a UV light, and used figures painted with UV paint.

The final pitch for the event was one built by Cayne Matthews, a sturdy normal pitch that could be used by anyone needing a break from the themed pitches that haven't got sturdy barriers to hold onto.

The games...

Adzman and Fingers enjoying a Subbuteoic Christmas in Subbwarts!
Down the Wing and Jelskji with a colour clash!
CHASERS in the Stadium of Fingers
The Chasette cheerfully fending off an attack by Train Driver.
Sparkos and Westy both in the process of setting up simultaneous attacks!
Down The Wing waiting to see what The Badger is getting up to before deciding on a defensive strategy...
No Woman's Land...surely?!
Sergeant Major enjoying the No-Man's Land experience playing with the WWI flat figures with The Cat.
Neilberto Sparkos ready to defend with any figure he chooses to fend off this Adzman attack.
Soldiers from both sides are distracted by a 00-scale game of Subbuteo being played on the sidelines!
Sparkos and Westy preparing for a game of Quidduteo!
Shell doubling up on camera and producer duties!
The Reporter preparing for a game in the Stadium of Fingers. Down The Wing checking the big screen for tell-tale tactics...
Westy and Fingers about to play the first game on the Christmas pitch on...
...perfect newly fallen snow!
The Cat and Sparkos playing a later game on the Christmas pitch on...
...messed up snow!
The Chasette and Down the Wing persevering in the snow. See the video clip of their efforts (also below).
Ibiza Beach - Looks like four players have come on the pitch!
Westy and Adzman in Ibiza!
The yellow team also have a 4-player substitute option!

Other scenes...

Underneath the tree...
Fish and chips eaten, and now for pudding!
Subbuteo decorations on the Christmas tree.

...with an unexpected festive romantic encounter!

The results...

The runners up - Queens Park Reindeers!
The winners - Chestnut City!

Video clips...

A hopeful attempt by Neilberto Sparkos to thread an impossible needle...
Some creditable play by The Chasette and Down the Wing in difficult snow conditions!
Adzman snuffs out a dangerous looking cat Attack with a deft defensive flick!
Shell interrupts The Reporter to tell him there's just 5 seconds to go. Down the Wing sees it out...
Fingers' unsuccessful attempt at a 50-yard one-two, followed by the use of the platform for a 'tippy-toe' shot by Sparkos!
The Badger is stranded with a 'keeper-out' situation. Jelski has to feel hard done by with this spooky outcome!
The goal that decided the final outcome. Potentially offside, and with a dodgy flick. However, it’s a goal all day long according to the FingerFox rules, and a significant credit to the philosophy of play, that neither was called. A medal of commendation to the Sergeant Major for being completely absorbed in the game!

Check out rule 7.1 of the FingerFox rules, which states: “Players will try not to do dodgy flicks and won’t really be too bothered if their opponent does one every now and then… if the other player sees a finger foul, they should have a stern word with themselves for actually noticing and not being sufficiently absorbed by the game!”

In fact, this principle also needs to be applied to offsides, and the FingerFox rules will be updated to reflect this. Essentially: "If a player notices their opponent has a figure in an offside position, they will either flag this beforehand, or ignore it!"
Anyone who has experienced playing in the Stadium of Fingers will acknowledge that free-flowing play can be tricky, and this incident is a perfect example of the philosophy of play triumphing over the limitations of competition.

Adzman uses the Hogwarts Express as a 12th player!
Fingers' goalie saves the ball, literally on the line!
A shot through the small hoop counts as 3 goals. Adzman comes as close as anyone ever has to date!
A great defensive block by jelski, and even better attacking flick by The Badger. Jelski's keeper saves though..
Fingers using up his only life in his game with the Cat on Ibiza Beach!
The screen shots on Ibiza Beach are a little surreal!

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022)

Three days before the tournament we learned of the sad passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

It was right therefore to consider the status of the tournament and reflect on whether it should go ahead. The situation appeared more poignant as several of the pitches used in the tournament feature Her Majesty as a 00-scale figure. Back in 1973, Subbuteo had designed HRH, as part of the VIP Presentation Set (C135), and this figure had inspired many creations in and around the Stadium of Fingers.

She can be seen presenting the FA Cup in the Stadium, standing on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in the Anglo-Italian Pitch, serving sandwiches in pitchside kiosks in Old Subbuteo Town and the Seaside Pitch and doing Crouch’s robot dance in Ken Corner. She also stands next to the Duke of Edinburgh to celebrate the many years they were together.

Her Majesty is featured in a piece of stained glass in the window of the Cathedral of Fingers, holding the FA Cup.

In addition, a team of HRH figures had been adapted to fit into some LW bases, to form the team known as Queen’s Park Palace.

Queens Park Palace

So, the decision was made to hold the tournament out of respect, and out of celebration and remembrance for a life lived full of loyal service.

It was also agreed that Queen’s Park Palace would take part in the tournament, to be represented by several of the players.

Before the games kicked-off, the 22 players stood silently in the back garden, with nothing to be heard save the occasional chirp from a songbird. This peaceful and respectful silence was concluded with a hearty round of applause for our former Monarch - with us in spirit and in miniature, for the sixth Southend-on-Sea Old Subbuteo tournament.

Her Majesty presents the FA Cup to the Lone Subbuteo Figure, receiving it on behalf of all who dreamed one day to hold it aloft!
Her Majesty in stained glass in the Cathedral of Fingers
...serving sandwiches in the 'Lite Bite' sandwich bar in Old Subbuteo Town
...serving pies and general grub in the Stadium of Fingers
...serving baked brie with almonds and marinated mushrooms in Yuppie Corner
Her Majesty with the Duke of Edinburgh, celebrating life, loyalty and good humour.
The Union Jack on Buckingham Palace, lowered to half-mast.
Queens Park Palace lining up on the Anglo-Italian pitch

With 22 players turning up to take part in this year's event, the residents of the Mews had made some extra space available, with David hosting the Ewok Arena at Number 4, and Alex opening up her lounge to host the Subbuteo and the Beast pitch at Number 1. For the first time in SOS OSC history, four households had pooled their resources to welcome the Olds! ?

So it was game on, with all players starting their meandering journey towards one or other of the trophies or medals.

Subbuteo & The Beast and the Ewok Arena in new venues.
The silverware. The Melee trophy on display for the first time.

Group A

The players...

Kev 'The Cat' Dyson
Kyle 'Cobra Kai Kicks' Jamieson
Rich 'Rocket' Roper
'Howzat Dave' James
Jack 'Off Target'
Mark 'Westy' West

The games...

Westy got off to a creditable start by keeping The Cat goalless on the Anglo-Italian Pitch.

Plenty of action in any game involving Rocket, saw him joining The Cat and Westy in the Stadium of Fingers Cup. Off Target joined Howzat Dave and Cobra Kai Kicks in the Scoundrels Cup.

The action...

Cobra Kai getting ready for some kicks in the Ewok Arena. Howzat Dave doesn't suspect a thing!
The resulting formation after Off Target and Westy had been playing for a half!
The Cat and Off Target - Beauty and the Beast - Which one is which? ??
Westy attacking down the sunny side of the seaside pitch...
Off Target trying to work out what on earth to do now to fend off The Cat!
Rocket checking to see if it's time to start blocking Westy's attack...
Nice little move from Westy, who ends up on tippy-toes, reaching over the stand at its highest point to get a shot in!
Off Target, decidedly on target with this shot!
Love the way he asks Westy if he's ready! ?
...Westy duly shepherds the ball round the post.

Group B

The players...

Fabio 'Donald Crowhurst' Bertola
John 'JohnClu48' Ellis
Gerald 'Malts' Brightwell
Will 'The Badger' Target
Andy 'PIM or ACM' Moreton
Malc 'Braveheart' Jamieson

The games...

2 points for a win

Closely contested with all players getting at least a couple of results. PIM played out a bunch of goalless draws, and the goal he did score was controversial! ? (Check the clip below!)

He joined Donald Crowhurst (recovering from an early defeat to top the group) and Braveheart in the Stadium of Fingers Cup. Malts found his true calling in the Scoundrels Cup, where he was joined by JohnClu48 and The Badger.

The action...

Braveheart starting an attack, looking to spring a surprise from the shadowy side of the Seaside Pitch. PIM/ACM looks like he's got this covered though! ?
Malts on familiar territory in between the sticks on the Park Pitch. Braveheart weighs up his option after being expertly closed down... ?
JohnClu48 is politely enquiring how Malts has managed to get all the fog down his end. Gerald explains his sneaky use of Maltese fog magic. John is less than impressed! ?
The fog slowly disperses, but only after Malts has managed to get into prime position. John eventually sees through Malts' best attacking endeavours and defends resolutely. ?
PIM/ACM & Donald Crowhurst on the Anglo Italian pitch. It's a bit of a blurry pic, which helpfully hides creased face lines! ?
The magic of the Hogwarts Pitch reflected in JohnCLU48's expression. It looks like he's absorbed in trying to avoid flicking a figure onto the train train, to meet an untimely end under the Hogwarts Express!
Malts at play! Plenty of chatter; he offers PIM/ACM the use of his own kicking keeper, and helps him use it. Then he gives him a corner when it was clearly his own goal kick. Your Subbuteo experience is not complete until you have played Gerald! ?
PIM/ACM tries out the corner kicker on the Carpet Pitch. Great anticipation in the room, and equally great disappointment! ? Note the use of the corner kicker confuses Malts every time. This time, an attempt to use his right back as a kicking keeper! ?
PIM/ACM scores his one goal of his group B matches. It's controversial! You can decide... ?
The Badger gets straight into attack mode, but is foiled by needing to walk around the stadium to reach his attacker! ?
An action-packed Badger attack! First the goalie saves the ball and then the player. the centre forward then rebounds off the goalie, runs round to the ball, fires in a shot, where the goalie panics, smashes into the post and breaks both his legs! ?
Let's have a quick look again at that fast-thinking centre-forward! ? Remember that in the Stadium of Fingers, all figures are alive, with the ability to make decisions and moves, regardless of the decisions of the player flicking them! ?

Group C

The players...

Carlo 'The Iceman' Lanfredi
Kevin 'Bishop FPV' Golloghly
Tony 'Len Shackleton Jnr' Banks
Neil 'Neilberto Sparkos' Sparkes
Rudi 'Snake70' Peterschinigg

The games...

The Iceman and Bishop FPV progressed philosophically through the group, and then met each other in the final match in the Stadium of Fingers. Here they each won their first point! ??

Snake70, Len Shackelton Jr and Neilberto Sparkos took points from each other and all qualified for the Stadium of Fingers Cup.

The action...

Just before Bishop FPV's first ever game at an SOS SOC event. He's playing the defending champion Snake70! ? Who organised the fixtures?! ??
Len Shackleton Jr and Snake70 playing at The Valley in a right pea-souper! ?
Snake70 & The Iceman. Another one of those blurry pics that makes us look younger! ?
Bishop FPV enjoying at attack in between what was essentially a backs-to-the-wall encounter with Neilberto Sparkos. Sorry Neilberto - missed capturing any of your three goals! ?
In this clip you can see one of Len Shackleton Jr's attackers emerging from the thick fog in an offside position. This has to go down as one of the unluckiest offsides in Subbuteo history! ?
Neilberto Sparkos takes his first ever shot in the Stadium of Fingers. I think we can all agree that whilst the player missed the ball, it definitely had enough power to reach it! ?
Of Len Shackleton, one of his contemporaries remarked: "Once in possession, and few can match his dexterity at bringing the ball under control, the ball becomes his slave. All the skills of inside forward play – dribbling, feinting, correct positioning and accurate passing are his to command."
So has Len Shackleton Jr in this clip! ?
The decisive goal of the game.
Journalist Malcolm Hartley, wrote of Shackleton: "Apart from the adhesive ball control and breathtaking body swerve, Shack could hit a ball!"
So has Len Shackleton Jr in this clip! ?
Bishop FPV's first ever shot in the Stadium of Fingers. Nearly snuck in as well, after sending the keeper the wrong way!
Here's The Iceman's first ever shot in the Stadium of Fingers! Probably got a tad over-excited as the player leapt over the cross-bar and landed in the upper tier! ??
The Iceman hanging on to a 0-0 score-line by the skin of his teeth. Almost misses with the kicking keeper, and then coolly knocks the ball back with a defender! ?
It's all a bit too much for the nerves though, as he promptly boots the ball the length of the pitch ?

The final whistle has gone and the realisation dawns on The Iceman he has won the game 0-0!! ?
Very few players have an unbeaten record in the Stadium of Fingers. Bishop FVP and the Iceman are both in this distinguished club! ?

Group D

The players...

Marco 'Ghigliotti09'
Simon 'HP Lovecraft' Goodman
Stewie 'Youbutteo' Grant
Nigel 'The Hawk' Morgan
Queens Park Palace
Steve 'Fingers' Moreton (guesting)

The games...

A hotly contested group for the top spot, with Ghigliotti09 taking the honours. This was fitting as Marco offered to play against himself using Queens Park Palace, resulting in the likely loss of a point! The Hawk came out on top with our indefatigable Youbbuteo! They both head to the Scoundrels Cup! ?

The action...

Ghigliotti and The Hawk, working out where to plant trees!
In a venue far far away...
Keep it in the fog. The best tactic when playing Youbutteo! ?
HP Lovecraft's long shot, shown in the clip 'QPP 2', below
Ghigliotti09 and The Hawk enjoying a brief moment without the fog in The Valley...
Fingers and HP Lovecraft (blurrily) demonstrating it is just about possible to play over the terracing in the Stadium of Fingers ?

Queens Park Palace...

Her Majesties then played their debut in the Stadium of Fingers, with HP Lovecraft providing the opposition. The match was characterised by HP Lovecraft politely shooting wide of the target and Her Majesties not quite understanding that a blocking flick doesn’t allow one to play the ball!

HP Lovecraft's first shot in the Stadium of Fingers. Just wide though as it would be bad form to score against Queen's Park Palace, while Her Majesty is watching her team play from the Royal Box! ?
A long range effort - but once again, the ball passes the post in exactly the same spot!
Her Majesty has the knack of touching the ball after a long curly blocking flick. Sure a royal prerogative means this should be ruled as an interception? Apparently, the blocking rule is due to be repealed at the next sitting of Parliament…
The curved shooting line was called into action when the Linesman attempted to call Her Majesty offside, however VAR clearly shows she was not beyond the last defender. Interviewed after the game, her Majesty said “One was not goal-hanging. One was merely making good use of the curved shooting line.
Another skilful yet (currently) illegal block.
Her Majesty then appears to lose it and launched oneself into the crowd. A spokesperson for the Royal Household said “Her Majesty has always been a fan of Eric Cantona.” ?
One final attempt from HP Lovecraft. Getting closer, but still managing to avoid a stay in The Tower.

The next game was with Youbutteo in the fog. The first half saw a defensive error from The Lady in Waiting (Kicking Keeper), and Youbutteo was left with an open goal. Showing no concern that he might be about to enter a 'not-so-open' gaol, he slotted it home. The second half was a different matter entirely, with a Royal Hat-Trick in 4 minutes and 32 seconds!

Here's the pick of the bunch, although you'll need the action replay to complete the picture!
OK artist's impression of the action replay...! ?
Action replay! Youbutteo's keeper saved the shot, but Her Majesty was not to be denied! ?

The Hawk was the next player to risk being locked in the Tower when he scored a goal with 'Lady in Waiting' out. To be fair though it was a nice finish so he promptly received a Royal Pardon. The regular royal comeback then ensued with Her Majesties sending themselves victorious! ?

The opener from The Hawk
The equaliser
The Hawk foiled by Great British defence (and as Simon pointed out, an offside player!) ?
Probably curl of the day on any pitch! Chapeau Your Majesty! ?


Stadium of Fingers Cup

Queens Park Palace were represented by Ghigliotti in the 1st Round and by Fingers in the epic QF shoot-out with Snake70

The action...

After a 1-1 draw, Neilberto Sparkos got through 2-1 on shots.
Both players were destined to meet again in the Melee! ?
The first encounter of the afternoon between these two Olds.
Donald Crowhurst keeps out Len Shackleton Jr to win 1-0.
In the shoot-out with Snake70, Her Majesty was majestic in goal! ?
Some shots however were just too good!
This was the closest shave Snake70 had all afternoon. One shot from elimination, but he held his nerve!
Snake70's winning goal in the SoF Cup Final came early!
The Cat foiled by the half-time Smiths Pinger! ??
Here's how to avoid a forced throw-in! ?
A great chance to put the result beyond doubt...
The Cat foiled by the full-time Smiths Pinger! ??
Although there wasn't a massive live on-line audience for this event, these six spectators were engrossed in the Final!

Stadium of Fingers Cup Presentations

Snake70 retains the Stadium of Fingers Cup.
He's now held this from 2019 to 2022! ?
Another award for The Cat.
He'll be needing a new 00-scale trophy cabinet soon! ?

Old Subby Cup

A cracking cup run from Rocket - All close games with goals galore!
Queen's Park Palace were represented by Braveheart in the semi-final.

The action...

The return match between these two Olds, with a different result!
Len Shackleton Jr playing a couple of one-twos with the Death Star! ?
Braveheart representing Queens Park Palace saves from Rocket's rocket!
Queens Park Palace come from behind again to win 2-1
More defending as we head to a shoot-out after a 1-1 draw...

After getting knocked out by Queens Park Palace, Braveheart played with them in the semi-final with Rocket.

The recording got corrupted, so an attempt was made to record the recording using a phone. The coverage below is the result...

The first 4 minutes...
The next 10 minutes...
The rest of the game & shoot-out

Old Subby Cup Presentations

In 2019 it was the S'Fortunato Finger Cup.
In 2022 it's the Old Subby Cup. A meteoric rise for Rocket! ?
Len Shackleton Jr's first event.
Hopefully many more to come!

Scoundrels Cup

Both emerging from goalless mornings, Malts and The Badger clearly perform better after a hog-roast! ?

The action...

A 270-degree curl from Bishop FVP creates a chance. Cobra Kai's keeper parries to the left back ?
Cobra Kai kicks, flicks and hits the post!
After the ball entered the net, the players discussed whether the ball was over the line. The agreed to do a VAR and play on as if a goal had been scored. After the game many interested folk crowded round the PC monitor. The Decision - 'Goal'!
Her Majesty decided to review the VAR decision.
It was a close call, but the temptation to shoot was too strong!
A goal was therefore awarded by Royal Decree! ?
The Iceman takes on The badger, with Off Target (from the badger family), watching on impartially!
After a 1-1 draw, a wing/paw-shake between The Hawk and The Badger, before going to a shoot-out
JohnClu48 was the next player to fall prey to The Badger, in The Valley.
If Howzat Dave has scored here, he would have made it to the Scoundrels Final. This is not easy to do when you are playing the Honorary President of The Scoundrels! ?
A Hawks-eye view of The Hawk, playing in the Stadium of Fingers (photo courtesy of the Goodyear Blimp)
Camera's were operated by Chris all day! Thanks Chris! ?
The Badger does a pitch-long move to open the scoring ?
The Hawk is a tad disappointed with his keeper. ?
The Hawk swoops over the terracing to equalise! ?
Malts pauses during the final. Although, he's not working out his next move - He's working out what he is going to say next! ?
The Badger plans his next attack, unaware that Malts is feeling very secure behind his favourite goalposts...

Scoundrels Cup Presentations

Malts claiming what has probably always been his - The Scoundrels Cup!
The Badger wins silverware (mostly plastic!) in his first SOS OSC event!

S'Fortunato Finger Cup

Off Target was definitely On Target in the shoot-outs!

The action...

If these gents had known their day would conclude on their knees playing on the Carpet Pitch, would they have turned up? ?
It's not easy to play the final of the SFortunato Finger Cup on the grass, while keeping a straight face! ?

S'Fortunato Finger Cup Presentations

This trophy now stands proudly in Off Target's office.
You can imagine the conversations...
Colleague "Before we start, what's with that gleaming trophy?
Off Target: "Did you ever play Subbuteo as a kid?"
After a morning of challenging matches, The Hawk plays in the Scoundrels Cup, loses in a shoot-out in the Stadium of Fingers, and then finds himself in the S'Fortunato Finger Cup, winning the coveted Runners-Up Award!

The Melee

The Melee was first played in the 2019 event, when became clear that something else was needed to complement the 4 Finals, for the Olds that had the misfortune to get knocked out in the various cups, to play one last game.

This time it was a 6-a-side Melee, with all players slotting smoothly into their respective roles, albeit after a brief period of general bewilderment.

Player 1 – Attacker if the ball is in the attacking half

Player 2 – Attacker if the ball is in the defending half

Player 3 – Blocking if the ball is in the attacking half

Player 4 – Blocking if the ball is in the defending half

Player 5 – Goalkeeper, kicking goalie and goal-kicks

Player 6 – Special Teams (Free-kicks, throw-ins, corner-kicks and positional flicks)

Bishop FPV about to block a flick from Braveheart. PIM/ACM concentrates between the sticks and The Iceman waits patiently to fulfil his 'special teams' role...
JohnClu84 pointing out Ghigliotti09 should be doing something!
Ghigliotti09 promptly does something! ?

The teams were chosen with little controversy. It was easy to do as half were stood on one side of the table and the other half were stood on the other side. ?

The controversy was with the figures each team was given to play with.

Apparently, if you're life-long die-hard supporter of Plymouth Argyle, it is not OK to be asked to play against them!

Westy sums the situation up well in this clip. If you are averse to seeing PAFC tattoos, look away now! ?

Some glorious reactions to what would ordinarily be standard Subbuteo flicks.

First Neilbertos Sparkos does a quality curling block. Then Braveheart does a nice midfield curl followed by a clumsy flick. These are probably the most enthusiastic reactions to midfield play in a game of Subbuteo, since it first appeared in the Boys Own Magazine in 1946! ?

This is how to celebrate getting knocked out of all the cups! ?
The Melee Winners.
Left to right: Braveheart, Cobra Kai Kicks, Westy, Youbutteo, Neilberto Sparkos.
The Melee Runners-Up.
Left to right: JohnClu48, Howzat Dave, Bishop FPV, Ghigliotti09, The Iceman.
Melee Grinners!

90-Second Tour

A short clip that was promoted by the English Subbuteo Association

The Line-Up

No doubt soon to be immortalised as a model in the Stadium of Fingers.
...The Badger appears to be keeping a low profile ?

A Summary...

This pic sums up the day. This is the reaction to the wonder block-flick by Neilberto Sparkos.
...all of these players are from the other team! ?
Or maybe this pic sums up the day?
Or the epic dropping of the FA Cup lid? ?
Some folk are not that interested... ?
This is the pic.

Join the revolutions...


Chapter 1

"In the beginning, the world was without table football, and void and darkness reigned.

Then William L. Keeling did create New Footy in 1929.

And the Spirit of William L. Keeling moved upon the surface of the table, and figures were formed upon curved bases.

And there was Table Football…

And Peter Adolph saw the New Footy, and saw that it was good: And Peter Adolph did invent Subbuteo.

And Peter Adolph said, Let there be a green cloth for which to play Subbuteo upon: and it was so.

And Peter Adolph said, Let Subbuteo bring forth the Flat figure, to curl upon the green cloth: and it was so. And Peter Adolph saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.

And there was evening and the morning.

Lo, in 1969, Peter Adolph sold the rights of Subbuteo to Waddingtons. Waddingtons, begat Hasbro, and in 2005, Hasbro did create flat photorealistic card-style figures.

A few years earlier, God did create Adam Lundy and Adam Kilgallon. Adam and Adam did play a game using the Photoreal figures. The game was without goals, and the evening and the morning saw both Adams crowned as the "Disputed Photoreal Subbuteo Champions of the World."

This is the story of the oft despised and downtrodden Photoreal Subbuteo figures.

When they were produced, according to Subbuteo guru, Peter Upton the figures received a lot of criticism from the table soccer community, most notably from existing players - moaning chiefly about playability. They fail to aid shooting and chipping, and cannot be used for long accurate glides, and lack the softer touch when reaching the ball. Comments have also been made about how cheap the product looks.

These comments were borne out when Table Football Monthly reviewed the figures. After a forlorn session, an exasperated Keith Littler explains: "The playing figures are total rubbish!... if you want to play it, particularly if you want to play against somebody, I'm afraid it is misery on a table - It's joyless!"

So, this is the story of the misunderstood underdog, loved by no-one and left in a box with the lid on for so long...too long!

The experiments...

The Friends of Old Subbuteo committed to trying the Photoreal Figures out, in practice, in friendly games in the Old Sods OldSubbuteo Club and the Rochford and Southend Casual Subbuteo Club, where they faired creditably, with a mix of inspired success and dismal failure.

They were also given a run-out in the more competitive TSPA circuit, where the 13th place out of 13 entries was not to be unexpected. However, even in this reputable company, the Photoreal figures were not without promise. It became clear that while the figure were challenging to play with, they have special gifts, and with love and care, they can uplift the soul!

The clips below show some of the unique moves they can make (some legal and others less so!)

The Corner
The 'Lean and Nod'
The Jump Shot
The Penalty Curl
The Double Team
The 4 Player Block
The Volley from the Corner
The Spin Pass
The Spin Pen
The Power Shot
The Long Curl
The Move
Trying some expansive play
More expansive play...
The swerve shot
8 out of 10 shots that expressed a preference ended up in the net!
To get a tight curl, the player has to head-butt the ground! ?
A move on-the-fly foiled by the keeper! ?
More on-the-fly action (with an 'illegal' picking up of a player), which means this goal will be disallowed! ?
The 'Over The Shoulder' Shot

The Disputed Photoreal Subbuteo World Champion

Since Subbuteo released the Photoreal figures back in 2005, no doubt there have been countless games in the living rooms of the world. To our knowledge none of the results have ever been recorded, and no official event has ever been staged.

Therefore, it is unlikely that there is a Photoreal Subbuteo World Champion. To rectify this travesty, a trophy has been made, with the help of 'Jaguar Design and Print' who made a giant figure, which sits on a Subbuteo lamp base, and trophy base from 'Trophiesr4us'.

The legitimacy of this trophy in indisputable, and it will hopefully be a zenith for Subbuteo players everywhere!

The giant photoreal figure plays ok!
Ready for the next game!

Chronicles - April 2022

c2010: Adam 'Puffin' Lundy drew a game with Adam Kilgallon. Each with one hand on the trophy.

April 2022: Fingers beat Puffin, Adam K drew with Fingers. Fingers replaces Puffin with one hand on the trophy. Adam K keeps his hand on it...

April 2022: Fingers drew with Ute, Rocket, JohnClu48, Spudksi. These 4 'Old Sods' all have a finger on the trophy...

Check out the clips from these games (Video by Simon Bodily)

Numbers - June 2022

June 2022: Adam draws 1-1 with Ute, and gets a tenuous finger back on the trophy, courtesy of Ute's 'trophied finger' from his draw with Fingers back in April...

Puffin's 1-0 victory replacing Finger's hand on the trophy for a Puffin wing! ?

Fingers owned by Ute, Rocket, Spudski, & JohnClu48 were prised off, as they were only there vicariously, through their draw with former disputed champion, Fingers!

Surely a showdown beckons between the 2 Adams, to become the Undisputed Old Sod, crowned the Disputed Photoreal Subbuteo World Champion!

After his 1-1 draw with Ute, Adam 'Puffin' Lundy gets a finger on the trophy!
Puffin 1 Fingers 0. Puffin now has a full wing on the trophy!
Check out the goals from the day? (Video compiled by Simon Bodily)
The value of having a firm, but flexible goalie!
Cheeky little lob from a corner! ?
The montage...

The first regular trophy won by the Photoreals!

This was the monthly WASPA event run by Chasers Subbuteo Club (Chadwell Heath & South Essex, Romford Subbuteo)

After a creditable 1-1 draw with Gary Gladwell, with a last-minute curled shot, the chaps went from strength to strength to finish unbeaten, and astoundingly, top of the table! ?

Here they are with their trophy!

2023 - Leviticus

At the February TSPA event, the Photoreal Subbuteo Club High Priest, Adam 'Puffin' Lundy, played once more with Steve 'Fingers' Moreton. This time Puffin lost his wing on the trophy as Fingers' fingers once again grasped it with relish!

April saw a newcomer to the Photoreal Subbuteo Club - Kyle 'Cobra Kai Kicks' Jamieson! Having never played with these figures before, he gamely agreed to a match with Fingers, after they had both got knocked out of the Chasers Spring Open.

During the game Kyle made some spectacular saves. both posts and the crossbar were also involved, and on occasion his keeper saved without any assistance!

For such a spirited first effort, Kyle deserved all the luck, and the game finished 0-0. This means he has a finger on the trophy, with a genuine bona fide legitimate claim to be the Disputed Photoreal Subbuteo World Champion! ?

Admiral Court Care Home, Subbuteo and the Admiral kit

An invitation

Brian asked the Friends of Old Subbuteo if they would run a demonstration Subbuteo session at Admiral Court Care Home in Leigh-on-Sea.

The Friends of Old Subbuteo said "Yeesssss!", and it was game on! ?

Lee turned up after 3 hours kip from doing his night shift at the home ? kitted out in his England 1982 Admiral shirt to match the team he was playing with.

England were playing against Plymouth Argyle...!

The event drew a bit of a crowd, with many residents popping in to watch some of the action.

The game...

Steve (Plymouth Argyle) and Lee (England 1982) played out two halves, and at 2-2 after about an hour, the classic 'next goal wins' principle, from 'the-sun-is-going-down-and-it's-dinnertime' rulebook was enacted! ?

Lee's defence stood firm, ably supported by a 00-scale Mick Mills and Kenny Sansom, and after length of the pitch breakaway move, Paul Mariner scored the winning goal.

Some of the residents got involved in the game with Martin starring at the England goalie (Ray Clemence), and Lena making some quality offside decisions - once by raising her mince pie and once by raising her glass of wine. Both great decisions - no need for VAR!

Getting ready to play...

The early arrivals, ready for a game of two halves, where everyone will give 110%, hoping at the end of the day they will be "Over the moon Brian"! ?
Lee kitted up in the shirt to match the figures he is playing with. Steve had left his football shirt in Sports Direct, not realising Lee would be so into it! ?

Match action...

After a perfect throw-in, Keegan chips the keeper to score England's first goal!
Sansom about to take the throw-in for Keegan to score...
After Robson was fouled, Hoddle scores the equaliser from the direct free kick!
Lee about to score by flicking Kevin Keegan, who will do a lovely chip over the keeper.
Steve a bit late to attempt a save with his keeper... ?
Martin getting ready to play as the goalie - rolling back the years! ?
Martin now taking the throw-in. He's only gone and lobbed it straight to the player's feet! ? Is there no limit to this man's talent??! ??

Back at the home...26th Feb 2022

A return to Admirals Court after the winter lockdown, saw Shadnam playing a 'special teams' role, taking the throw-ins and corner kicks.

Truth be said - she came to Lee's rescue! Lee was playing Mansfield and was 2-0 down to Steve's Plymouth at halftime. The second half saw a spirited fightback, with Plymouth being pegged back to 2-2!

Steve and Lee then played an England (Lee) v Scotland (Steve) game, where the tartan army threatened to run amok!

The final score was England 0 Scotland 3!

A few interested spectators wandered through, and there was also a bit of air-hockey happening, that afternoon, with Brian showing some quality skills with the puck.

Shadnam and Lee teaming up but being fended off by Steve's goalie...
This time the dreaded duo breached the defence. If you watch closely, you can see the first forward head-butting the post, and rebounding to set the ball up for his teammate. His teammate then blasts the ball passed the hapless goalie, and sprints to the corner flag, where he leaps out of his base to do a slide goal celebration! ?
The celebrating player!
Ready for Subbuteo with air-hockey in the background.

Westcliff SVP

Westcliff SVP was created in 2000, and has been involved in supporting homeless people through the Winter Night Shelter and many vulnerable people within the community who need a hand with bills, food parcels, necessities, emotional / spiritual support and other services

In the Summer of 2021, as lockdown restrictions were eased, the Friends of Old Subbuteo were asked to hold a Subbuteo event at their Community Support Hub. The Friends of Old Subbuteo don't need a second invite to arrange a local Subbuteo event, so it was game on!

The event

This was either the first time anyone had played Subbuteo, or the first time for at least a couple of decades!

With two tables set up, there was a chance for anyone to have a go, and with a barbecue being prepared and served by our host and event organiser Daniel, there was a relaxed atmosphere for folks to eat, chat and play, as they wished.

In the end, 5 games were played, some lasting around 20 minutes with others played for nearly an hour! For some (especially Lee), once the playing got started, it wasn't very easy to stop! ? The game with Elliot was a bit of a marathon, and eventually needed settling with an epic shootout.

The games

Lee 2 v 2 Steve (Lee won 1-0 on shots)

Chris 1 v 0 Alex

Steve 1 v 0 Jimmy

Lee 0 v 0 Elliot (Lee won 4-2 on shots)

Graham ? v ? Russell

The result of the game between Graham and Russell is unrecorded. It might go down as a mythical Subbuteo incident - a mystery never to be solved(!) ? ...or, it might be we find this out at the next event!

The action...

Steve on the attack and shoots! In the background Graham and Russell are playing that mythical mystery Subbuteo match
Steve has clearly missed the target , as Lee is taking a goal kick. In the background, is a goal being scored in the mystery match?
Chris and Alex in the foreground, with Lee and Elliot drawing what is to date, a record crowd attendance for a game of Subbuteo at Westcliff SVP!
Half way through their epic encounter, Lee fends off an Elliot attack. Elliot plays in a thoughtful, yet casual style. Lee is more your 'all-action' type of player!
Elliot lines up for a shot on goal...
Lee being goalie while eating cake!
Elliot is more of an Orangina goalie!
The shootout... Elliot blasts this one wide! ?
Lee chips into the roof of the net - first time he's played? ?

Next event is planned for October 2021... watch this space! ?

October 2021

The event

The second event at Westcliff SVP saw several closely contested games, which adopted a variety of formats. Singles, doubles and games purely consisting of shoot-outs were held, to give all a chance to get involved in a way that suited them.

Also, Russell was there, which gave the opportunity to explore what happened in that mythical unrecorded match in the Summer. Apparently both he and Graham had played Subbuteo as teenagers, but with the decades since had forgotten the rules and most of the skills(!). This didn't deter them from playing a game where the rules were agreed on as the game progressed. Russell magnanimously admitted to winning the tight affair 1-0, attributing the victory to a healthy slice of good fortune.

The games

Steve 1 v 1 Chris

Russell 2 v 2 Steve

Catherine 1 v 0 Steve (Shots)

Russell 0 v 3 Nate (Shots)

Nate 4 - 3 Russell (Shots)

Nate 2 - 1 Chris

Nate/Steve 1 - 0 Chris/Russell

Some action between Steve and Russell, with the corner-kicker also being used for goalie drop-kicks ?
Steve equalised to make it 2-2 with Russell, who confirms the ball crossed the line (no need for VAR!)
Russell was about to take part in a shoot-out with Nate. Nate had never flicked a Subbuteo player before, so Russell was adopting a relaxed manner...maybe too relaxed! ?
Nate, as it turned out, was a natural - with a smooth action and accuracy. This was a surprise to Nate, who was amazed as he won the first shoot-out 3-0. It was also a surprise to Russell! ?
The shoot-out rematch. Russell (Spurs fan) missed his first two shots, but nets the third shot against Nate (Arsenal fan)
A relaxed interpretation of the shooting rules, sees Nate allowed to have another go, which was duly buried!
It's getting competitive now, as Nate blasts wide...
The winning shot - Arsenal 4 Spurs 3.
Chris is through on goal, trying to come back from 2-0 down against Nate, who is having none of it...
What proved to be a consolation goal by Chris. Arguably a tad offside, but the ref was too busy filming! ?
Nate, using the 'France 98' throw-in figure.
Chris about to score that controversially offside goal!
The aftermath of Russell's first shoot-out attempt, after his 5 yard run-up from the other side of the room! ?

Nate at the top of the table - Never played before today! Catherine also flicked for the first time, with a 100% record!

July 2022

The event

A relaxed affair saw a mixture of activity, with some singles and doubles matches mixed with some penalty shoot-outs.

The shootouts are proving to be a great way for folks to get involved - not needing to commit to a full match, and still able to have a flick-to-kick experience! ?

Peter, Alex, Chris and Steve shared a few games, then Jamie and Catherine joined in with some penalty shoot-out action...

Catherine kept up her 100% goal-scoring feats. To date, every shot she has ever taken in her life has finished up in the back of the net! ? (2 out of 2!)

The games

Steve 1 v 0 Peter

Chris 1 - 1 Alex

Steve/Chris 1 - 1 Alex/Peter

Shootout goals...

Jamie wins with 2, Alex, Catherine, Steve and Chris manage to net 1, Peter was foiled by the keeper and then hit the post!

Alex scored her first goal - from a corner, but the cameraman was too slow to get it. ? So we replayed it! ?
Chris equalising - He tried not to look too pleased, but we can plainly see he failed miserably! ?
A game of doubles, between Steve & Chris with Alex & Peter. Steve taking the throw-in, and Chris getting ready to shoot 'on-the-fly'! Peter was bamboozled by the last shot from Chris and promptly scored an own goal with the keeper! ??

The result of some shoot-out practice on the other table!

The 5th SoS OSC Tournament was held on 10th September 2019, with a meal the night before in the pie-serving Pipe of Port restaurant. A healthy turnout of 18 Olds created a fun-packed weekend, which included a pre-tournament game of Subbuteo cricket!

The players

Rocket: Last Christmas he experienced OldSubbuteo at the SoF, and has now brought the Old Sods with him!

Puffin: Genius creator - breathing 00-scale life into Harry Potter, and Star Wars figures!

JohnCLU48: A seasoned OldSubbuteo traveller - Always seeking authentic OldSubbuteoic experiences!

Down the Wing: Doesn't know he is called 'Down the Wing' yet, but when your surname is 'Heron', that was destined to happen!

Spudski: Spud, Spudder, Spudderman. making his long awaited visit to the SoF - so overdue and so anticipated by the thousands of 00-scale spectators!

The Cat: The legend of the Flats game - a genuine Old. A multi-national champion who is a true sport - happy to play with everyone on all of the impossible pitches at the SoS OSC events, year after year!

VecchiaGuardia1972: The 'Old Soldier' who returns to this corner of England most every year!

The Craftsman: Current holder of the Sportsmanship award on the English National Flats Championships - never not having fun with Subbuteo!

Barreteo: Has a surprising turn of pace when presented with a shooting opportunity. The thoughts of a bad back disappear as he sheds approximately 30 years in mind and body!

Ute Ubo: Always flickin' and always rockin' - For those about to flick - we salute Ute!

Malts: Always utterly surprised at what can happen in Subbuteo - most frequently used phrase: "I don't believe it! ?"

Gullseye: A mythical appearance at the SoF wearing glam-rock platform boots, to enhance reach!

Forfoxsake: Was there ever a person so OldSubbuteo as Forfoxsake. The benchmark of bonkersness and pure enjoyment...bringing his 00-figures alive in every game!

Ghigliotti09: So happy to play OldSubbuteo with anyone and everyone, and no-one ever gets hammered, despite the talent that flows from his finger-nail!

Youbutteo: Youbutteo - You beauty! - Quality enthusiast - no-one collects with more enthusiasm - no-one!

JLR: Will be making the trip after watching Canterbury City v Corinthian with the other 155 fanatical supporters!

Snake70: So disappointed when the Harry Potter train stopped working during his game on the Subbwarts pitch last year - this is exactly what we should get disappointed about in life! ...This year Rudi, this year!...

Donald Crowhurst: The legendary fabiobertola, always and forever 'Old'!

Before the tournament...

Subbuteo Cricket???

T'was the night before the tournament, when all thro' the house, not a creature was stirring...until the Old Sods turned up for a spot of Subbuteo Cricket!

As ever with the Old Sods, there was Much Ado about Banter. The various clips of the match highlights are shown here...

This clip captures the mood. A ball delivered by Ute Ubo, which Puffin may or may not have fended off. Plenty of (dodgy) opinions are given, and the game stops for a 'Review' as everyone goes downstairs to check the video replay...

A pairs game on the Star Wars pitch

Puffin's unique handcrafted teams of stormtroopers and rebel fighter pilots! ? John and Fingers play for the rebels and Puffin and Gullseye play on the dark side...
A corner is taken from high on a crag near the pod race arena.
Note, for the corner kicker to be used, an attacker needs to be taken off the pitch first.
The keeper has this one covered....
The stormtroopers had a clear shot on goal, but a sharp defensive flick by an alert rebel fighter pilot took the sting out of the shot. the keeper did the rest...
A controversial corner here. According to FingerFox Rules, this should be a penalty, on account of the keeper punching the attacker in the head. However, no attacker has been taken off the pitch to allow the use of the corner kicker. on...!?

Fuelling up...

A spot of grub...
Some nibbles to munch on

The tournament matches

In the Allotments of Don Bosco

Forfoxsake either admiring or fending of one of those 'all too frequent' attacks by Ghigliotti09!
An entertaining opening game between Spudski and Gullseye, peppered by quality and/or comical moments
JohnClu48 taking on the legend that is Youbuteo!
Spud getting into all sorts of bother with the women...
It's another of those pesky attacks by Marco!

On the Anglo-Italian pitch

John and vecchiaguardia find themselves somewhere between Rome and Florence.
Spudski leaning over Westminster Cathedral while Ute Ubo mounts an attack from the Vatican
A kickabout in St Peter's square
John tried a sneaky double-shot. It wasn't successful, but that's not the point...

The view from Big Ben and the Palace

The Green and Tan Stadium

The Green and Tan Stadium braces itself for the chaos that will undoubtedly come from Malts v Forfoxsake!
Rocket has a poke but it's well saved by Gullseye as they share the spoils in this encounter...
This corner needed re-taking, but Jim could've claimed a penalty for handball!
It's as if they're waiting for the miniature figures to play on their own...
Somewhere within the general banter, a game of Subbuteo is being played!

In Old Subbuteo Town

Barreteo sensibly keeps the ball in the middle of the park when playing Down the Wing
The Subbuteioc ritual of the positional flicks at a corner.
First Adam...then Adam...
Gullseye and Snake70 meet in the first round of the Stadium of Fingers Cup
After a tight 0-0 battle, it goes to sudden-death shots...
The fans sitting on the Old Subbuteo Shop enjoy the action...

In the Park

Barreteo v Youbuteo - an epic encounter in amongst the foliage!
JLR and Snake70... Jumpers on trees for goalposts! ?
A close-up of an attack being mounted
This clip needs to be watched a few times for full enjoyment! ?
The attack has caught the defence out!

At the Seaside

The Old Guard keeping a close eye on the antics of Barreteo...
Defence has been turned into attack, as the keeper saves!
Two Old Sods at the seaside!
The Snake and The Cat playing their semi-final...
Spud attacks the Beach Hut End

On the Star Wars pitch

Donald 'Fabio' Crowhurst, gets a rare shooting opportunity against The Cat during his commendable 1-1 draw with the multiple national flats champion!
An all action shot of Youbuteo and Down the Wing, in their epic Star Wars battle. Down the Wing is about to pounce on his keeper to make a dramatic last-minute save!

The clips below show an epic 'shoot-out' between Spud and Puffin, on the Star Wars pitch. They've decided to use the homemade free-kick taker, to chip the ball over the 4-man wall. Also, keep an eye on the missiles that are being pinged across the pitch to put off the player taking the shot... ?

The winning shot! Puffin appears to be distracted by the missile he was getting ready to fire to put Spud off his shot...!

At Subbwarts

An Italian invasion of the Subbwarts pitch, as Fabio and Rudi weave their magic...
Ute Ubo is casting a Subbwarts spell to make the Craftsman score an own goal!
Fabio takes a snapshot and hits the post, or whatever the right hand side of a half-loop is called!?! ?
The figure is lucky that the train loses power momentarily to give it time to get off the track!
The epic Gryffindor Subbuteo figures created by Puffin!
The Craftsman is through on goal against Ute Ubo, and times his shot perfectly, as the Hogwarts Express goes round the back of Ute's goal, obstructing his keeping hand!
Shame about the execution of the shot though! ?

In the Stadium of Fingers

Rocket keeps vigilant as Malts attempts the classic 'lean over the highest bit of terracing' flick... ?
Puffin is wondering how his Stormtrooper figure got sniped mid-flick. Little does he know that Ute can use the Force... ?
Spud and The Fox in the Stadium of Fingers in their Group B match...
Now it's Rocket's turn to try the standard Stadium of Fingers 'contortion flick'...
There's often a point mid-flick where one wonders how far one can lean...
A group of Olds, absorbed in the Stadium of Fingers experience...
Spudski with a useful shooting chance, dealt with nonchalantly by the player formerly (and currently) known as Forfoxsake
Spudski takes the corner, but it's not clear what has happened here...

The group matches results and tables

Group A

After some 30 goals have been scored, twice as many shots saved, and a few blunders and lucky flicks, the group table shows The Cat clear at the top.

With all players picking up points it was quite tight for the qualifying places for the Stadium of Fingers Cup, but the draw specialist Puffin edged the Craftsman for the final place.

Snake70 recovered well after a couple of early losses to end up 3rd in the table.

The Craftsman is duly entered into into the Tournament of Scoundrels ?

Group B

Ghigliotti09 makes it a clean sweep, leaving, a Fox, a Gull and a Spud fighting over runners-up spot, with the expansive free-flowing style of the Fox creating a healthy goal-average and winning through.

Gullseye showed a shrewd Old Subbuteo head on Old Subbuteo shoulders as he amassed 5 points despite only scoring 2 goals!

Rocket and Malts valiantly contested the bottom of the table, with Malts claiming the Southernmost spot on account of Rocket getting a draw with Gullseye.

Both Rocket and Malts however are destined for the Tournament of Scoundrels...

Group C

Both JLR and JohnClu48 achieved infinite goal average! ? ? To be fair, neither player was expecting this at the beginning of the day, but it happened, so they can both make a justified entry into their respective Subbuteo diaries...

JLR however, took the qualification spot for the Stadium of Fingers Cup on goals scored.

Youbuteo had success(!), after his more modest performances at the recent Christmas event, where he acknowledge publicly on his Youbuteo youtube channel that he "lost massively!"

Barreteo and Down the Wing both got off the mark with a draw when they met in Old Subbuteo Town.

The finals

The Stadium of Fingers Cup Final

At 1pm in the afternoon, Snake70 hadn't won a game! In contrast, Ghigliotti09 had won 4!

It appears Snake70's secret is to play other animals, as the afternoon saw an epic cup run, seeing off a Gull, a Fox and a Cat! ?

Ghigliotti remained the favourite though - the current holder of the Stadium of Fingers Cup and reigning national flats champion...

However, the Stadium of Fingers is no respecter of reputations and after a stunning 3-1 victory, the Year of the Snake came 2 years early! ?

The Old Subby Cup Final

The Old Subby Cup, contested by 2 Old Sods.

Which Old Sod would be the Oldest and Subbiest?

This was a tense, serious affair with a strong competitive edge to it - only broken by non-stop banter and incessant bonkerness!

It turns out it wasn't a tense, serious, competitive affair after all! ?

Ute was a true sport in his defeat, and congratulated Spudski on his victory by writing on the tournament sheet "won by a sneaky goal!"

The Tournament of Scoundrels Final

Both players had been here before...

JohnClu48 was here last year, when he lost a close game to Loscao 0-1.

The Craftsman reached the Scoundrels Cup Final in the very first tournament in 2015, where he lost out in a sudden-death shoot-out to Donald 'Fabio' Crowhurst.

For one it would be a glorious victory and for the other it would be a glorious defeat... ?

The Craftsman won through, scoring 2 goals. This was the main talking point during the evening meal, as The Craftsman acknowledges he doesn't score 2 goals in a game...

The S'fortunato Finger Cup Final

The stage: The traditional carpet pitch for the final of the tournament of the Unfortunate Finger.

The players: Vecchiaguardia - in his fourth SoS OSC tournament, and Rocket in his first. Neither player had experienced the carpet pitch before, so this would be a test of nimble knees, and which Old could reconnect with those muscles that used to play on the floor all those years ago.

As it turns out, Rocket tuned in to those formative years, when families were too poor to have a table they could dedicate to Subbuteo, and the living room carpet became the field of dreams!

First time the S'fortunato Finger final has been played outdoors
Standing room only for some of the spectators!
Old Guard is attacking the Patio End, and has the sun in his eyes...
Rocket defending stoutly...
Arguably not a very long clip of the final! ?
Rocket about to launch a counter-attack...

A picture tells a thousand words...

If you take part in an SoS OSC Tournament, and lose your group matches, you play in the Tournament of Scoundrels.

If you get knocked out of the Tournament of Scoundrels, you get to play in the Tournament of the Unfortunate Finger (S'fortunato Finger Cup).

If you lose the final, you win the trophy pictured, and then you take a picture of your trophy and put in on the Internet!

Bravissimo vecchiaguardia! ?

This is Old Subbuteo! ???

The Cup Matches

The Melee

The concept

After a few S-o-S OSC tournaments it became clear that something else was needed to complement the 4 Finals, for the Olds that had the misfortune to get knocked out in the various cups.

The concept of the Melee was created, giving the opportunity for these players to play one last game.

With 18 Olds taking part in this year's tournament, this meant 10 players would be involved in the inaugural event!

All things considered, the event went fairly smoothly with all players slotting into their respective roles with a commendable degree of knowledge, skill and decorum (apart from mostly Gerald…!)

A five-a-side game duly commenced with players taking different roles within their team...

1st half: Team A and Team B each have:

Player 1 – Attacker if the ball is in the attacking half

Player 2 – Attacker if the ball is in the defending half

Player 3 – All defending flicks

Player 4 – Goalkeeper, kicking goalie and goal-kicks

Player 5 – Free-kicks, throw-ins and corner-kicks

2nd half: All players change roles...

In the first half all players were involved apart from Jim (Forfoxsake) Westwood, who was desperately waiting for a throw-in, corner or free-kick to happen. Eventually however, with seconds remaining his team were awarded a throw-in! He lined up the thrower – took careful aim, and then the half-time whistle went! The taking of the throw-in was therefore judged null and void and duly wiped from the record as ever happening! ?

The second half saw our newbie Down the Wing playing an assured role as his team’s ‘Defending Attacker’ (enthusiastically advised by 4 teammates), and with one minute to go, a throw-in was awarded to his team, with Kev ‘The Cat’ Dyson using the mandatory throw-in figure.

After a practice throw-in which went sideways 1 inch and spun backwards off the pitch. Kev threw the ball 12 inches spinning in front of Jonathan ‘JLR’ Lopez-Real’s centre forward. Without missing a heartbeat JLR shot and scored! Four teammates roared their approval. Jonathan was somewhat taken aback at the racket he caused by scoring at Subbuteo, and estimated the noise to be louder than the combined efforts of the 98 fans that attended the Canterbury v Corinthian Isthmian League match the previous day!

A great event, and certainly to be repeated at future SoS OSC events! Naturally the rules will evolve as the number of players vary... For example, someone to do all positional flicks for all dead ball situations... Eventually we should be able to get a game of 11 v 11 with 3 subs!

A clip of some early action from the first half...
The Melee Winners!
Malts, Donald Crowhurst, The Cat, JLR and Down the Wing
The Melee Runners-Up!
Forfoxsake, Puffin, Barreteo, Gullseye and Youbutteo

The Melee Trophy

Inspired by the John Waddington Trophy, famously held by young Subbuteo prodigy Andrea Piccaluga from 1978-1982, the Melee Trophy celebrates the achievement of finding people to play Subbuteo with!

If you turn up to a SOS OSC event, and fail to make one of the finals, then you will play for the Melee Trophy, alongside all of the other 'Olds' who got knocked out of the tournaments. The inscription sums it al up: "It's not the winning or the losing, it's the finding someone to play..."

Here's David 'Down the Wing' Heron receiving the Trophy as honorary captain of the first ever Melee winners.

Action from the Stadium of Fingers

Puffin & Ute Ubo

The first match of the day, and the first members of the Old Sods OSC to play in the Stadium of Fingers.

Puffin and Ute Ubo have played many entertaining matches between them in Old Sods meets, and this may well have been their first game together on the road.

This was a Group A match, which somehow ended 0-0 ?

Rocket corrects the score for the start of the game. Puffin was ok with a 2-0 start...
An early chance for Puffin. Nearly 1-0 after 15 seconds. ?
From the throw-in. Ute intercepts, breaks away and shoots!
An overhead shot by Ute.
...taken by the camera! ?
Darth Vader appears in the stadium and takes a goal kick! ?
A Giggsy style run by a stormtrooper down the wing! ?
Puffin makes a defensive error, make a great save with his keeper, launches a counter attack and hits the post!
When these two play, Puffin allows Ute to flick the odd dodgy flick.
This one was pure skill! ?
Darth Vader hoofs a goal kick 'route 1' style to the Dark Side.
Ute uses the force to save.

Rocket & Malts

Rocket is back for more after his Christmas experiences, and faces Malts, who is trying out his flats team, after locating his goalkeeper that he left behind the last time he visited the Stadium of Fingers!

This is a Group B match. It ends goalless, but Rocket was pressing for the win...

In this clip a nice move ends up with a shot on the fly...

Here's some decidedly ropey defending from Malts, which he somehow gets away with! ?
A wonderful passing move by Malts, going round in circles. In the end his left half does a head stand! ?
Straight after this meandering move breaks down, Rocket does a 'no nonsense' attack!

JohnClu48 & JLR

These two Olds have played in almost all SoS OSC Tournaments. You'd have thought they would have played each other before, but this was in fact their first meeting.

This clip shows a wonderful 'ave-it' moment. John gets bored of his 3 players surrounding the ball, and hoofs it with his centre back, launching the ball and two of his own players down the pitch! All 3 of them go for a goal kick! ?

Then John says "Goal kick?", and JLR says "Yep", like everything was normal...?

Route 1 stuff from JRL. Sometimes the simpler tactics can yield the most reward.
JLR's defender skilfully intercepts a throw-in to start a counter attack. ?
The cameraman checking for offside in case VAR was needed! ?

Spudski & Forfoxsake

This has been a match a long time in the waiting!

Two of the Old Subbuteo legends, both of them scoundrels of the English and the Italian Old Subbuteo scenes, finally meeting for the first time in the Stadium of Fingers.

These clips show some great action, and some show no action at all, as it's the chat between them that features, sometimes more than the actual flicking of the figures! ?

Spud scores his first ever goal in the Stadium of Fingers...Left handed! ?

Spud makes a great tackle! Not legal (even by FingerFox standards), but still quality!.. and a lovely fox-like curl! ?
This clip shows Jim as a great sport. He has the eyes of an eagle, but the heart and mind of a cuddly fox!
The smooth transition between half-time banter and the second half. These two effortlessly show us the way! ?
"The older I've got, I've just got worse...I can have solo games finishing nil-nil...
But I do love it - I always will!"
Some actual flicking action in this clip!
A Spud-attack and resolute keeping from Forfoxsake...
"That was just like a religious experience...playing Forfoxsake in the Stadium of Fingers...and actually scoring. My life is complete."

Gullseye & Ghigliotti09

Gullseye first played in the Stadium of Fingers in 2015 and realised that it can be a challenge to reach over the terracing to flick the players. The next year he arrived at the tournament after digging out his old 1970s platform boots! This prompted the design of the ramped platform along the West Stand, and Gullseye's boots have been safely stored away back in the loft!

Ghigliotti wasn't using platform boots either in this game - he was using flats!...

Gulleye was playing with the Lionesses... ?

Gullseye defending stoutly, until a slight error allows the centre forward in...
Marco patiently working his way through to goal...
Chris having fun with some close-up camerawork - not easy!
Gullseye, gats some possession, attacks, forces a corner and more!
Ghigliotti09 back on the attack.
Unstoppable in this mood!
Chris now having fun with crowd close-ups, and Marco with a disallowed goal...

The Craftsman & Donald Crowhurst

The last time The Craftsman met Donald Crowhurst in a SoS OSC Tournament was the 2015 Scoundrels Cup Final. The score: The Craftsman 0 Donald Crowhurst 1

Finally, four years later there was a chance to address the balance....

The final score in this encounter had to be... The Craftsman 0 Donald Crowhurst 1.

Unlucky Adam! Maybe in the next game in 2023! ?

The deciding goal - early on in the game before Adam had got his defending sorted!
Adam was so disappointed with his players first half performance, he substituted the entire team! ?
Love the way Fabio allows the fourth flick, just so he can do peeping keeping! ?
Firm punch by The Craftsman's goalie!
A lovely little curl and a solid block
Another lovely curl, and a good save! ?

Barreteo & The Craftsman

After some entertaining group matches Barreteo and The Craftsman found themselves in the Tournament of Scoundrels... This was to be a needle match, not because if was their first competitive encounter, but because this was a match between Father-in-Law and Son-in-Law! ?

The Craftsman has been playing for several years and had encouraged his Father-in-Law to give it a go. So... Barreteo's first experience of an organised tournament... Bragging rights were at stake!

A nice early dig by the Son-in-Law, saved well by the Father-in-Law! ?
The Craftsman shoots from distance...
The Smith's Timer went as the ball hit the back of the net!
The Craftsman shoots from distance...
Just wide!
Nightmare defending lets Barreteo draw level at 1-1! ??
Close-up camerawork and a good shot well saved by Barreteo!
The Craftsman scrapes through on sudden-death shots! ?

Down the Wing & Rocket

Unfortunately, whoever was doing the recording forgot to press 'record' until the second half had started. As it turned out, Down the Wing was quite happy with this as he was 2-0 down by then, and was relieved to know that this would not be recorded for posterity!

Rocket on the other hand was slightly disappointed as this meant he would need to rely on his memory for his first ever goal scored in the Stadium of Fingers! ?

Sorry, Rocket!

Rocket's first ever (recorded) goal in the Stadium of Fingers! ?
A smooth run finished off by a rocket by Rocket!
Down the centre against Down the Wing, who saves well!
A last second chance saved well by Down the Wing. ?

Snake70 & Ghigliotti09

These two had met twice before in SoS OSC tournaments.

In 2015, they had played a Group D match on the Anglo-Italian pitch (fittingly!), where the match had finished all square 1-1.

Then in 2018 they had met at the Seaside, in the semi-final of the Stadium of Fingers Cup, where Ghigliotti won 2-1 on the way to his glorious tournament victory! ?

A technical problem with the recording means we just have the 2nd Half! ? We join the action with Snake70 1-0 up!

A chance for Snake70 to make it 2-0, but the keeper has it covered...
Rudi beats the offside trap - A lovely piece of camerawork in case VAR was needed! ?
Snake's piling on the pressure, but Marco's keeper is awake, and up to the task...
This was the decisive 50 seconds of action - Marco's comeback is emphatically snuffed out by Rudi!
Another good move by the Snake.
A well-deserved winner today! ?

Group pics

Funded by...

An application was made to to the National Lottery Awards for All programme, and we were fortunate to receive some funding to hold this event to run for 6 months from January to July 2019. The funding covered the use of equipment, venues and refreshments for the sessions. We would like to thank the National Lottery for their support and encouragement!

Match reports...

3rd Round Report – Session 1

fAABI is excited to announce the results of the first session of Subbuteo, which took place at fAABI’s Head Office in Cavendish Square from 6pm to 8pm. Some matches were nearly too close to call, others were clear victories- but all were exciting to watch nonetheless, providing a great atmosphere for fAABI beneficiaries to unwind and enjoy competing against each other.

The games kicked off with a tense match between the Bolton Wanderer’s (Alan) and Walsall (Ben). Despite Walsall giving their best effort, the match ended in Bolton’s favour- securing a 1-0 lead. Next was Millwall (Bharat) up against Hull City (Steve). After admirable efforts from the defences of both teams, the match ended in a draw at 0-0, which meant it was up to a penalty shootout to determine their fates. Hull City emerged victorious, scoring 2-1 against their worthy opponents. Gillingham (Alan) were up next, against Cardiff City (Bharat). A strong effort from Cardiff City, but Gillingham gave it their best and finished at 1-0. The match between Brentford (Ben) and Oxford United (Steve) kept everyone fascinated, but despite a spirited Brentwood fightback, ultimately Oxford United took home the victory, finishing at 2-1.

The final two games were played as ‘doubles matches’, where Sheffield Weds (Steve & Ben) suffered a disappointing defeat against Luton Town (Bharat & Alan), who called it at 1-0. Last but not least, a match that kept everyone on their toes, with the first appearance of a premier league team in the cup- Manchester United (Steve & Bharat) against Reading (Ben & Alan). Coming too close at times, the audience must have feared a draw- but ultimately Manchester United proved their capabilities and finished with a brilliant goal, leaving the match at 1-0.

3rd Round Report – Session 2

Results of the second session of Subbuteo are in! 

This week, Everton (Alan & Bharat) and Lincoln City (Steve & Jen) kicked us off. The fans witnessed a lot of back and forth, and the two teams ended the game tied at 1-1, leaving their fates down to a penalty shootout – Jen duly stepped up to the mark and delivered the win for Lincoln, emerging with a glorious cup upset! Next up was Tranmere Rovers against Tottenham Hotspur, and much to the delight of some audience members, Tottenham unfortunately lost 1-0. All players are anonymised to protect the guilty! A northern contest was up next, with Preston North End playing against fierce competitors Doncaster Rovers, who won 2-1 In was this match that saw the best goal of the night, with a smooth passing move between Jen and Bharat, finishing with a shot being blasted beyond the reach of Steve’s goalie. Unfortunately this was a consolation goal for Preston and two seconds later the final whistle blew, leaving Doncaster to progress to round 4. The final match was another northern affair between Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers. The pre-match interview with the Newcastle manager resulted in a quote “I would love it if we get to round 4”. Despite Newcastle’s admirable effort, Blackburn secured a 1-0 victory, resulting in a somewhat dejected Newcastle manager!

3rd Round Report – Session 3

fAABI is back with the results of the third session of weekly Subbuteo matches! 

Tensions were high and competitors were strong, but victories were clear…

Chelsea (Alan & Steve) and Nottingham Forest (Bharat & Jen) kicked us off this week. After a long match of back and forth, Nottingham Forest proved their supremacy, and stole the game at 2-1. Next up was Crystal Palace (Alan & Bharat), who suffered an unfortunate 3-2 defeat against Grimsby Town (Jen & Steve). Derby County played against Southampton next, and despite being fierce competitors, Derby County were unable to stand their ground against Southampton, who stood their ground at 1-0. Accrington Stanley and Ipswich Town played the last match of the third session, but our players weren’t to be underestimated… Accrington Stanley secured the last victory of the night, but cutting it close at 2-1.

Join us for Subbuteo next week, where our contestants will continue their efforts to emerge victorious and enter the draw for the 4th round of the FA Cup.

3rd Round Report – Session 4

Results for session 4 of Subbuteo, which took place on Monday 25th March, are out…

Bristol City were up first, against Huddersfield Town. After a tense match, Bristol City scored the winning goal.

Newport County and Leicester City were up next… Another tense match that was ultimately called by Newport.

Fulham were victorious in their match against Oldham Athletic, keeping the 1-0 gap throughout the game. Shrewsbury Town secured their triumph with an epic goal against Stoke City… who were courageous in spite of their defeat.

3rd Round Report – Session 5

fAABI is back with the results of the fifth session of weekly Subbuteo matches! Tensions were high and competitors were strong, but victories were clear…

Unfortunately there were no reporters this week, so all you get are the results!

3rd Round Report – Session 6

fAABI is back with the results of the sixth session of weekly Subbuteo matches!

Tensions were high and competitors were strong, but victories were clear…

This week, Sheffield United kicked us off against Barnet, and a quality move a shot from Jen sealed the win.

Next up was Norwich City against Portsmouth… Alan stood rooted to the spot as Jen saw Barnet through to round 4. Bharat and Ben went to penalties to decide the outcome. Bharat kept his nerve to edge the game, but not before Ben saved a penalty!

By popular demand Jonathan and Steve were asked to play an exhibition match… and came head to head as Fleetwood Town and AFC Wimbledon. Goals-a-plenty ensured with Jonathan staging a late comeback…but in vain!

A draw for West Bromich Albion against Wigan Athletic meant it was left to penalties again for Wigan to emerge victorious thanks to Alan…

Another draw this round for Middlesbrough and Petersbrough United! Just before the penalties, Jen asked what ‘sudden death’ penalties were. Ben duly informed her by winning 1-0!

Liverpool, much to their dismay, were dumped out of the cup with Jen and Alan defeating Ben and Bharat as the Wolverhampton Wanderers on penalties!

The last game was a triple-sided game, with Steve, Jen and Bharat as Aston Villa emerging gloriously victorious against their crest-fallen opponents Jonathan, Ben and Alan as Swansea City.

That completes the matches in the 3rd round of the Cup. The 4th round matches commence…

4th Round Report - Session 7

The fourth round of the cup got under way this week with 6 matches, with teams looking to progress to the last 16.

Steve and Alan representing Bolton Wanderers got taught a lesson in sudden death penalties by Hull City’s Jen and Bharat.

Jonathan’s Oxford United became a little disunited when Ben’s Gillingham scored the decisive goal.

A big upset here with Bharat and Steve (representing Man Utd), equalising late on against Ben and Jen playing for Luton Town, only to lose 2-1 on penalties. Man Utd go out…

A comprehensive victory for Alan and Lincoln City, with a bullet shot from distance finishing off Jonathan’s Tranmere Rovers.

When Jen is in this mood Ben and Jonathan were always going to be up against it. Despite Ben saving a penalty for Blackburn Rovers, Jen and Alan’s Doncaster triumphed 2-1

It’s certainly not grim in Grimsby, with Bharat going 2 goals up against Steve, representing Notts Forest.

A late consolation goal didn’t change the result and it’s Grimsby in the last 16!

4th Round Report – Session 8

The next 6 matches of the fourth round of the cup were played this week with some hard fought games and the odd cup upset.

The Saints went marching in first, with Southampton up against Accrington Stanley. After a goalless game, Alan scored the deciding penalty.

The minnows of Newport County captained by Jen had the edge against Ben’s Bristol City – Penalties did it for Jen, who is rapidly turning into the penalty queen.

A high quality game saw a spectacular goal by Ben’s Fulham cancelled out by some quality flicking by Bharat. Fulham were victorious in the sudden-death penalty shoot-out.

An epic penalty shoot-out saw Jen’s Man City trading blows with Alan’s Blackpool, and after 8 shots each Man City scraped through 5-4.

When Ben was offered West Ham as his team to play for, he politely declined(!) and chose to play instead with Brighton. Alan saw the Hammers through however, after the customary penalty shoot-out.

Steve (playing Burnley) was 1-0 up and comfortable, when in the last minute a foul gave Jen the chance to blast a free-kick passed 3 defenders into the back of the net.

That meant a penalty shoot-out, and that meant only one winner…(!) Watford duly progressed to the last 16.

4th Found Report - Session 9

FOURTH ROUND MATCHES – Remaining 4 games

Leeds Utd with their rich footballing heritage, were represented by Alan. Alan clearly felt at home close to his roots and navigated Leeds through Bharat’s Barnet to progress to the 5th round of the cup.

Jon took part in his first Subbuteo event and got off to a great start with a 1-0 win, representing Norwich City. Ben’s AFC Wimbledon still have to rely on past FA Cup glories.

The real test for any fAABI Subbuteo player a penalty shoot-out with Jen – the penalty shoot-out Queen! Jen’s Wigan prevailed 2-1 against Jon’s Peterborough. Henceforthwith ‘The Posh’ duly exited the cup whilst Wigan look set for a great run.

Here’s a clip of Jen’s controversial winning goal. The ref said “Saved – No goal!”, but VAR said “Hole in the net – Goal!”

The last two clubs from the midlands in this year’s cup played each other in this encounter. In the full size version of the game, it’s been a good season for Wolves, and this is being reflected in our miniature version of the game, with Ben and Jonathan seeing them through against Steve and Bharat’s Aston Villa.


Alan was again representing ‘The North’ when Hull played Gillingham. However he must have got those foreboding feelings when the game went to penalties and he was facing Jen… It was one of those epic shoot-outs, with each player taking 7 shots. Eventually, with the light fading and all small children soundly asleep in their beds, Jen scored the winning goal. Here’s a clip of Alan’s penalty being saved by Jen’s goalie and then the post!

The tale of this match was an ill-timed substitution. Bharat had to go at half time and Steve took his place. Therein lay the tale. After some cracking goals, Ben, Bharat and Steve’s Luton Town were 2-1 up against Jon and Jonathan. It should have been plain sailing but for Steve giving away a stonewall penalty (just to clarify folks, Steve writes all the match reports, so no-one is being vilified unfairly here!)… Anyway, long story short – Steve lets in the penalty and the games ends 2-2. Steve then misses his shot in the ensuing penalty shoot-out, and promptly fails to save against Jonathan. Come back Bharat – all is forgiven!!

So we now have our first 2 cup quarterfinalists, Gillingham v Lincoln City… Joins us at our next session on Monday 3rd June, where we will find who the other 6 quarter-finalists will be. The games to be played are:

5th Round Report - Session 10

FIFTH ROUND MATCHES – Remaining games

This week we discovered who would make the 2018/19 fAABI FA Cup quarter-finals

Alan and Bharat played out this battle of the North, where stoic defences held firm, forcing a penalty shoot-out. Bharat emerged victorious, so it’s not too grim in Grimsby as they progress their legendary cup run!

Steve, determined to see his beloved Southampton win the cup once again, scored early on as a helpless Jonathan and Ben were left watching in wonder at the seer brilliance of play and the Saint went marking in! In a throw-back to the days of McCalliog, Channon. Stokes, Osgood and McMenemy, Southampton were unstoppable. Although Steve reminisced for too long and lost his concentration in the final minute as Ben took a sharp chance to equalised for Newport.

And so it came to pass the game went indeed to penalties, and with the sun shining on the righteous, the Saints finally went marching in to the quarter-finals!

A bad year for Fulham was compounded when they were knocked out by Manchester City, who keep their hopes of an extraordinary quadruple alive! Alan and Steve combined to create a guilt-edged chance which

Alan slotted past an observant (but not diving) goalkeeper held by Jonathan. Jonathan magnanimously acknowledged the quality finish, whilst also musing on his casual goalkeeping…

We offered Crystal Palace supporter Ben the opportunity to play for West Ham, which was an interesting discussion. Suffice to say that Ben chose Watford…

Bharat took West Ham and the game was decided by an entertaining shoot-out. It was also controversial as Bharat was sure he saved a spot kick. VAR was needed as it all happened too fast…

However, the slow-motion action replay revealed Bharat did in fact save the ball, but on the way out of the goal!

A great year for Norwich City was undermined when an own goal saw them lose against Leeds United. Alan offered his commiserations to Ben (whilst celebrating enthusiastically!), as Leeds added to the strong northern contingent progressing through to the quarter finals.

What a game to finish with! Bharat was unstoppable, latching onto lovely passes by Steve. Twice he found the bottom left corner of the goal as Jonathan’s keeper watched on, mesmerised…

With some amazing goalkeeping by Bharat against the ensuing onslaught by Jonathan the game should have been up, but with two minutes to go Jonathan scored what should have been a consolation goal…

And then, with the final kick of the game a Wolves forward hit a lucky shot, ricocheting against at least 2 defenders for the ball to sneak in past a confused Wigan keeper.

Wigan (Bharat and Steve) were clearly unsettled and promptly bottled the penalty shoot-out. Wolves emerged victorious as the only team from the Midlands to remain in the cup.

So we now have our quarterfinalists…

Joins us at our next session on Monday 10th June, where we these ties will be decided!

Manchester City v West Ham United

Leeds United v Wolverhampton wanderers 

Gillingham v Lincoln City

Grimsby Town v Southampton

Quarter Finals - Session 11

Eight teams battled it out in the 2018/19 fAABI FA Cup quarter-finals this week. Four were victorious and four will have to wait for another chance to play in the semi-finals.

An opening doubles match-up saw Jen and Ben looking after the Saints with Bharat and Alan (mainly Alan!) getting close to their Northern roots, playing for Grimsby. It was a midfield sort of affair, with precious few clear cut chances, and the inevitable penalty shoot-out ensued. Jen and Ben emerged victorious and the Saint went marching in to the semi-finals.

Bharat, playing Lincoln city had two penalties after some over-enthusiastic defending by Ben’s Gillingham. Ben’s keeper came to the rescue on both occasions however as Gillingham maintained a miraculous clear sheet! Lincoln also needed to defend stoutly at corner kicks with some close shaves in their own goalmouth, and did so successfully. The penalty shoot-out didn’t bode well for Lincoln though, with the two previously saved attempts. Once more Ben’s goalie did some 00-scale heroics and for the first time in history, Gillingham reach an FA cup semi-final.

Jen enthusiastically offered to play for West Ham, and faced Alan’s Manchester City. One thing Alan needed to avoid was another penalty shootout with the shoot-out queen. He didn’t manage to avoid this however and so it came down to shots! It was controversial as ever with one of Alan’s shots needing to be referred to the Video Assistant Referee. The issue was did Alan shoot before the referee said “shoot!”? The Video Assistant Referee rules in Alan’s favour and the goal stood. The judgement was that he shot after the “Shh…”, but arguably before the ‘oot’…! However you can be your own judge by watching the clip yourself

This was all in vain however as Jen eventually emerged the winner 3-2. Manchester City exit the cup, and West Ham are still on track for re-living former glories!

Jonathan and Jen teamed up for Leeds, playing Alan and Ben representing Wolves. This proved to be a dream team set up for Leeds with some great passing and build up play. Eventually Jen split the defence with a what can only be described as a defence-splitting ball, and Jonathan berried the ball in the back of the Wolves net. This proved to be the winner and Leeds find themselves back in the big time!

So we now have our semi-finalists…

Joins us at our next session on Monday 24th June, where we both semi-finals and the final will be played.

Gillingham v Southampton

West Ham United v Leeds United

Semi-finals and Final - Session 12

The semi-finals of the 2018/19 fAABI FA Cup saw some great action and a couple of stunning goals. The final was end-to-end with a late twist and penalty drama!

Semi-final 1

Gillingham 0 v 1 Southampton

The Mighty Gills of Kent took on the Saints of Hampshire. Steve and Alan (playing Southampton) were aptly pious and devout in the application to the task in hand, and a splendid through ball was converted ‘on-the fly’, leaving the hapless Gillingham goalie no chance. Jonathan and Ben tried in vain to recover, but to no avail, and it was A Wembley destiny for Southampton.

Semi-final 2

West Ham United 1 v 0 Leeds United

Ben, being a Crystal Palace fan requested he play for Leeds rather than West Ham, and joined Alan (our resident Northerner) seeking to relive the glory days of Lorimer, Bremner and Hunter. It transpired that the rumours ‘Norman Hunter bites yer legs’ were mostly unfounded in this match, and West Ham took their opportunity to progress to the final. Some opportune inter-passing between Jonathan and Steve culminated in a fine goal and despite some close attempts at the other end, the Hammers will be blowing their Bubbles down Wembley way!


Southampton 1 v 1 West Ham United (Southampton win 3-2 on penalties)

This time Ben played avoided playing for West ham by teaming up with Steve to represent Southampton. A fine goal saw the Saints off to a great start and by the time Jonathan and Alan had recovered it was nearly half-time. A really promising West Ham attack was developing, but Ben intercepted the ball in the penalty area and shepherded the ball out of play with some deftly placed flicks. The second half became become ever more open with four end-to-end moves happening within the space of 90 seconds. Eventually something had to give and it was Alan’s pinpoint ball to Jonathan’s striker that saw West Ham pull level. The final whistle blew, signifying the 2018/19 fAABI FA Cup would be decided on penalties.

It was tense, with all players scoring their first shots, however it was Ben who broke the deadlock with a fine save, and then an unstoppable penalty kick to win the cup for Southampton! The Saints marched in and burst the West ham bubbles! The Southampton players celebrated early into the evening (but not late as we had to go home!)…

A special thanks to all who took part is the matches over the weeks, especially Jonathan, who volunteered whenever he could make it to referee, coach and play the ‘odd’ match when needed.

The final table of all the games played went down to the wire, with Jen pipping Alan on goal difference. Her prize is to look after the FA Cup trophy until the next time…

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 my brother 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 a 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. My brother 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 along the goal-line whilst just glancing the ball, and then fire in a 'Hail-Mary' 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 my brother 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 foot 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 leaning 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! ?

Update - 2022!

So, 39 years after the season started, the First Division title decider was played, when a couple of the brothers caught up in March 2022!

The temptation to play a game for old times sake proved to be too much, and finally, Southampton and Chelsea took the field to play the final game of the first division, with Saints just needing a draw to end on top...

The rules were played as back then. 20 minutes each way, with no defending flicks allowed until the team in possession crossed the half-way line. This rule needs more consideration. It takes the incessant pace out of the game and creates a more relaxed atmosphere. A chance to step away from the table and enjoy the defensive action, or take a sip or two of a glass of Mackerson...

Oddly, no goals for the first half an hour, until with 10 minutes to go , when Hollins fired Chelsea ahead!

But then with a minute to go, after some intense Saints pressure Osgood fouled in his own penalty area (what was he doing there??)...and he got booked! ?

Channon slotted in the winner, and the Saints have finally marched back in!

An early Chelsea corner, and some nervous Southampton defending...
Another Chelsea corner, but this time a great near post clearance!
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