The History of Subbuteo
After a small advertising campaign in 1946, the first Subbuteo sets were made available in March 1947 by the inventor Peter Adolph. Working from his base in Langton Green, Kent, Adolph`s first sets were available by mail order and contained two dimensional cardboard players, goals and rules. A piece of chalk was also provided with instructions for you to mark out the pitch on an old army blanket, a move which kept down costs and made the sets much easier to post.
Adolph had intended to call the game The Hobby, but was denied a trademark as the term was too general. As a dedicated ornithologist, he then coined the name Subbuteo after a bird of prey whose Latin name was Falco Subbuteo.
The game sold in good numbers and during the early years, other traditional sports such as cricket and rugby were given the Subbuteo treatment and more sets began to appear. These sets remained largely unchanged throughout the 1950`s, the only real difference being that celluloid figures began to replace the old cardboard ones. More sets were introduced that included their own pitches and a range of accessories appeared.
In the early 1960`s a significant change to the game came along with the introduction of a three dimensional plastic figure. After tinkering with the designs, the most recognisable playing figure known as the classic heavyweight came along at the end of the 1960`s and Subbuteo began to enjoy its most popular period.
Most collectors seek out the classic heavyweight figure above all else and it is these players that for many really symbolise the game of Subbuteo.
Sadly, classic heavyweights began to be phased out around the end of the 1970`s. Until this point, all figures were painted by hand but as production increased it became impossible to keep up with demand. The `Zombie` figure was introduced in 1978 and although these were initially hand painted too, the intention was to introduce machine printing to all football figures.
The Zombie was largely unpopular however and in the early 1980`s the lightweight figure was introduced which enjoyed a long period of production until the late 1990`s.
The years between 1970 and 1998 were a golden era for Subbuteo with World Cup Sets being produced and a whole host of accessories hitting the shop shelves. The game was played all over the world and leagues were formed and players participated in organised tournaments with even a world title up for grabs.
However, with the rise of the internet and computer based football games, sales began to tail off until the point where Hasbro, who now owned the Subbuteo name, ceased production. Rugby and cricket games had already been phased out and the France 98 world cup set was to be the last.
There has been some small scale production since this time and we have seen the 2D figure return in the form of Photo-real players and associated items such as socks and cuff-links occasionally appear on the shelves.
Football has evolved greatly over the years: Computer games now dominate the market where Subbuteo once enjoyed a foothold and now we can watch live football free virtually every day of the year. For most of us who grew up with Subbuteo however, the game`s heyday was the golden age.
The oldest of the game subbuteo soicetà you can practice in our store please come …..