My Derry: Gerry Anderson - Subbuteo
For years senior football didn't exist in Derry. Now it’s back again. Well, for most of the year. But that’s not enough for them. These people want it all the year round.
So what do they do when the season ends? Subbuteo. That’s what.
Grown men playing on little tables.
Have you ever seen the like of it...?
This is a BBC clip of the Subbuteo scene in Derry in 1987... when there was no Subbuteo to be bought in the shops in Derry, and a small enthusiastic bunch of players, sent one of their number to London to search for teams...
You might think: "How quaint, do you think those kids in the background still play?"
Have faith - the Subbuteo scene in Derry lives on! ?
Martin Bradley: “We decided, some time just at the end of the actual football season, that we needed something to keep us going to fight off the withdrawal effects in the summer. "
"So, for some reason we forgot about the World Cup, and somebody suggested that er… we play, or organise a Subbuteo competition for the Supporters Club.”
“We decided that we would play it on a league basis. But the big difficulty was getting teams. There were no teams to be found in Derry. For some reason – we don’t know why – the sports shops in Derry, the toy shops in Derry had stopped selling it."
"I had one set. An old Derry City team. The last Derry City team to be bought in Derry. And er, we sent one of our members, Gino Martin to London on a scouting mission. Scoured the city, and eventually we got a telegram sent back. ‘FOUR TEAMS FOUND. ON THEIR WAY.’ ”
Gerry Anderson: “I must say I’m very impressed by the state of the ground. Could you explain how you keep it in such pristine nick?”
Martin Bradley: “Well, if I could just…this actually is a ground which has not been too well kept.”
Gerry Anderson: “Is that a replacement ground?”
Martin Bradley: “This is…Well it’s a spare ground. We would normally use it as a training ground. Although we don’t like to train the players too hard, because we’ve seen what it can do to them. Now that pitch is in such good condition, because of the very kind attentions of our ground-ladies – we don’t have groundsmen we have ground-ladies”
Gerry Anderson: “What is their function?”
Martin Bradley: “Well, their function is actually to iron the pitch, whenever we need it.” We are at present putting it out for contract. We’re trying to get contract cleaners in on it. Ah, Mrs McGinty and Mrs Waugh are not too pleased at the minute, in that they haven’t been allowed near this. But, we feel that it’s gone too far that it might damage their irons.”
Gerry Anderson: “I can see some of your problems… These human players – are they fit?”
Martin Bradley: “Well, unfortunately Gerry, they’re not that fit – because they refuse to knuckle down to the training schedule that I set them.”
Gerry Anderson: “Does it require a high degree of fitness?”
Martin Bradley: “Well, from the waist up – yes... most of them are dead from the neck up...”