Category Archives: Subbuteo Information

Lincoln Flickers Subbuteo Club

Eastgate 3

The club was formed in March 2010 and is currently based at The Eastgate Tennis, Bowls and Squash Club, Langworthgate, Lincoln LN2 4AD. We meet once every three weeks, usually on a Wednesday night. A full list of meeting dates for the current season can be found below. In addition to annual league and cup competitions we hold a variety of one-off tournaments throughout the year. Everyone is welcome at our meetings, irrespective of ability or level of interest. Click either here or on the ABOUT link above if you would like to submit a form requesting further information.

Links to all the content on the site are listed below. Alternatively, click here.

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Meeting dates for the 2016/17 season are as follows:

Wednesday 28th September
Wednesday 19th October
Wednesday 9th November
Wednesday 30th November
Wednesday 14th December
Wednesday 18th January
Wednesday 8th February
Wednesday 1st March
Wednesday 22nd March
Wednesday 12th April
Wednesday 3rd May
Wednesday 24th May
Wednesday 14th June
Wednesday 5th July

All meetings will take place at The Eastgate Tennis, Bowls and Squash Club commencing at 7.30pm.

The final positions in the Dream Team Tournament held on Sunday 1st May at The Morning Star were`:

  1. Dave Collett
  2. Jez Boothman
  3. John Devaney
  4. Barbara Devaney
  5. Ian Johns (not in photo)
  6. Clare Devaney
  7. Carol Dawson
  8. Reuben Devaney
  9. Ant Chalmers


Finally, if you wish to view this season’s Flickers league results and table, simply scroll down the page to the next item.


Latest News



John and Lou shake hands prior to their historic meeting.

During the week preceding the running of the 1912/13 FA Cup competition the entry list changed at least half a dozen times, with the final change coming literally ten minutes before flick off.

In the end, the entry list was:

Jeremy Boothman – Aston Villa

Lou Bouwmeester – Oldham Athletic

John Devaney – Everton

Ian Johns – Newcastle United

John and Lou had last played one another in 1968, so their meeting in the 1st round was quite poignant.

Results were:


Everton (4) 5 Oldham Athletic 0

Aston Villa (2) 3 Newcastle United 0


Newcastle United (0) 1 Oldham Athletic 0


Aston Villa (0) 1 Everton 0

Matches were 15 minutes each way and the competition was played according to Old or “Advanced” Subbuteo rules.



 Photo taken during the recent ESA Spring Cup competition in Enderby. I’m playing Colin Tarry, with not a hair in sight.

WELL DONE TO JEZ AND ANDY                                                                     

Congratulations are due to both Jez Boothman and Andy Boyer (pictured above) after they both finished worthy runners-up in two separate competitions. Jez narrowly lost the final of the Old Subbuteo English Open Cup in Newcastle under Lyme, while Andy finished second in the plate in a high quality field in an ESA Satellite tournament held in Enderby.


PDF versions of three of the club’s official publications can either be viewed online or saved to your computer by clicking on the following links:

Official Tournament Programme

Shed Cup 2012 Programme

Shed Cup 2011 programme


The third running of the above competition was held at The Morning Star pub on the evening of Thursday 2nd April 2015. The competitors were Andy Berry (Unreal United) and John Devaney (Moston Torpedo), and the results were as follows: 1ST LEG  Unreal United 0 Moston Torpedo 0 2ND LEG  Moston Torpedo 3 Unreal United 0 [Moston Torpedo won 3-0 on aggregate] For more information about the competition and its origins click here.


UK and Ireland Team Championship

The above event took place in Heckmondwike on Saturday 28th March with Lincoln Flickers one of the eight teams involved. It was an excellent tournament, played in the right spirit throughout. Teams comprised 3 players instead of the usual 4. Despite losing all 3 of our group matches, the Flickers were always competitive, not least because Jez Boothman was in fine form. Among his victories was a 2-0 triumph over Andy Boyer who was representing Yorkshire Phoenix B. Ironically, in the play off for 7th and 8th places Jez succumbed to his only defeat of the day, but the two other players in the team both won so it ended 2-1 in our favour. FLATS CHAMPIONSHIP The second running of the club’s flats competition had to be postponed last October because the date chosen was too close to that of the TSPA’s national flats championship. I am now hoping to hold the competition later this year, in May, June or July. However, before I settle on a date I thought it would be a good idea to assess the level of interest in a flats tournament in Lincoln. Therefore, without asking for any firm commitment at this stage, I’d simply ask you to get back to me via the Leave a Reply button (above) if you would be interested in principle in taking part in such a competition. If you would, I’d also like to know if you have a preference as to month (May, June or July) and timing (Saturday from 11am, Sunday from 1pm, or Wednesday evening). Equipment used and rules will be the same as for the TSPA national championship (baize pitch, 25mm “big balls”, celluloid or card flat playing figures) and there will be teams available to borrow on the day for players who don’t have their own.


An article about the club can be viewed on the website by clicking here.


A very brief (37 sec) video containing highlights of one of the club’s first ever open competitions, the 2010 Copa Del Santa, held at our original home venue of The Morning Star, is viewable here.


Read about NewFooty, the game invented in the 1920s which some claim was a direct predecessor of subbuteo, by clicking here.


Our long-delayed ‘old subbuteo’ competition, commemorating the FA Cup tournament of 1912/13 (and coincidentally the club’s fifth anniversary) has been scheduled for Sunday 5th July. Read all about it here.


Information about three lesser known types of subbuteo has now been added to the site, i.e. – Subbuteo Cricket Subbuteo Rugby Subbuteo Hockey

The Longest Postponed Fixture of All Time?

Well, just possibly …….

During the 1960s, John Devaney and Aloysius Bouwmeester were good friends who lived in the city of Elizabeth, just north of Adelaide in South Australia. John hailed originally from Liverpool whilst Aloysius had been born in the Netherlands capital city of The Hague. In 1968 and 1969 one of their favourite pastimes was playing subbuteo table soccer and they were among the founder members of The Charmouth and District Table Soccer League, John as Everton and Aloysius as Leeds United.

In January 1970 Aloysius visited John hoping to play a game of subbuteo, but this proved impossible as all the subbuteo equipment had been packed away in preparation for John’s family’s voyage to England. The two friends found other ways to amuse themselves, and then parted. It was the last time they saw one another – but that is soon to change. On 2nd July, Lou (as Aloysius is now known) will be visiting Lincoln with his wife Sue and staying with John and his wife Laura. So what has all this got to do with a postponed sporting fixture? The answer is simple: at 1pm on Sunday 5th July the Lincoln Flickers Subbuteo Club, of which John is president, will be holding an open competition at The Morning Star pub involving players from various parts of England – plus Perth in Australia, which Lou now calls home. The draw has been carefully arranged so that John and Lou will meet in the first match – forty-five and a half years after their postponed fixture on the other side of the world! If this doesn’t potentially constitute a record for the longest postponed fixture in the history of sport I’d be extremely surprised.

The photo accompanying this message was taken in 1967, and shows John (centre – aged 11) and Aloysius (right side of the picture – aged 12). When they confront one another across the baize on 5th July this year they will be aged respectively 59 and 60, and can be guaranteed to look extremely different than they do in the photo.

It promises to be a memorable and very possibly a highly emotional occasion. Places in the competition are still available.

Season 2015/16 Meeting Dates


Wednesday 23rd September
Wednesday 14th October
Wednesday 4th November
Wednesday 25th November
Wednesday 16th December (Copa Del Santa) – 7pm start
Wednesday 20th January
Wednesday 10th February
Wednesday 2nd March
Wednesday 30th March (please note CHANGED DATE!)
Wednesday 13th April (Copa Libertadores) – 7pm start
Wednesday 4th May
Wednesday 25th May
Wednesday 15th June (50 Years On – The 1966 World Cup) – 7pm start
Wednesday 6th July
Wednesday 27th July

NOTE: Except for the Copa Del Santa and Copa Libertadores, all meetings commence at 7.30pm. The venue is The Eastgate Tennis, Bowls and Squash Club, Langworthgate, Lincoln LN2 4AD.

Subbuteo History


What Is Subbuteo?

Subbuteo is the brand name for a series of games developed by an Englishman, Peter Adolph, beginning in 1947 with a table football game. Other subbuteo products over the years included versions of table rugby, table cricket, table hockey, speedway and even angling. It is the table football game, however, which continues to be synonymous in most people’s minds with the subbuteo brand.

Subbuteo table football was by no means an entirely original game. In particular it shared – some would say “stole” – many of the features of an earlier game known as NewFooty. Invented in 1920, NewFooty, like subbuteo, involved the flicking of small, roughly human-shaped figurines at a ball in order to propel it forward. The flat figurines were inserted into semi-spherical bases (plastic in subbuteo, lead in NewFooty) which had the dual advantage of helping keep the figurines upright and enabling them to be propelled forward, either in a straight line or with varying degrees of swerve. Unlike the other playing figures the goalkeeper was not flicked but was attached to a wire which extended under the goal and by means of which could be manipulated to execute saves.

The emergence of subbuteo spelt the end of the road for NewFooty, partly because NewFooty had never been the subject of a patent, but chiefly because subbuteo proved itself to be a superior game. Whereas in NewFooty the heavy, lead-based players could only be flicked a short distance, and accuracy was difficult to achieve, the much lighter subbuteo figures could be propelled accurately over long distances, and it was also possible to achieve close control of the ball which the heavier NewFooty bases made virtually impossible. Marketed as “the replica of association football” subbuteo became precisely that to whole generations of boys (and the occasional girl) growing up in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.


Subbuteo’s Heyday

By the 1960s NewFooty had disappeared (or, more accurately, been bought out by Adolph) and subbuteo was progressing in leaps and bounds. The first three-dimensional playing figures appeared during the sixties and within a decade it was possible to purchase teams in almost two hundred different colour combinations. In addition, there was an ever expanding array of accessories such as corner flags, spectators, grandstands, terracing, scoreboards, even floodlights. Box sets of various types were also available, from the basic Continental Display Edition which included the bare minimum needed to play the game – two teams, plus goals and balls – to deluxe World Cup Editions. To coincide with the FIFA World Cup in West Germany in 1974 subbuteo produced every schoolboy of the day’s wet dream, the Munich World Series Edition which contained a match scoreboard, floodlights, half time scoreboard, line and corner flags, continental balls, world cup goals, international teams, TV tower, TV camera with cameramen, TV monitor and commentator, referee and linesmen, corner kick figures, throw-in figures, league balls, ball boys, playing cloth, fence surround, club flag, log book and wallet, referee’s whistle, manager and trainer, photographers, ambulance and police set, mascot, coach, reserves bench set, interchangeable goalkeepers, number sheets and reams of literature.

Impressive as these accoutrements might seem it was the game itself that was subbuteo’s principal selling point. Despite numerous attempts by rivals to come up with more attractive alternatives, when it came to fluidity of play and the levels of genuine skill required to master it subbuteo was in a league of its own.



The 1980s saw Subbuteo Sports Games (SSG), Peter Adolph’s company, being taken over by toy manufacturer Waddington’s. Adolph was retained by the company as its managing director but one wonders how much input he had into some of the developments which occurred over the ensuing decade, principal among which was the burgeoning internationalisation of the subbuteo brand, and in particular its table football manifestation. On the face of it, this might seem like a positive step, but some aspects of the way in which it was handled left a sour taste in many a mouth. The world authority which SSG set up – the Federation of International Subbuteo Associations (FISA) – had no elected officials or directors, and was arguably nothing more than a marketing tool for Waddington’s. The World Cups and European Championships it organised seemed to have promotion of the brand as their primary raison d’être, with the actual competitive side of the game of comparatively minor importance. The vast majority of the best players refused to have anything to do with FISA in any case, preferring to establish their own independent associations. Whereas FISA insisted on the use of 00 scale subbuteo equipment in its tournaments many of the sport’s better players preferred the old, flat celluloid figures, which they believed allowed for a more controlled and technically adept style of play. 


A Playing Revolution

Although by the 1980s most countries had two, rival associations, the basic way in which the game was played had altered little. The ability to flick players so that they curled around any obstacles was the pre-eminent, one could almost say the defining skill in both camps. However, curling was achieved much better and more accurately with flats than 00 scale figures which, as has been noted, was a major reason that the majority of subbuteo’s better players preferred to use flats. Not all did, however, and in the early eighties some leading Italian players who favoured 00 scale figures came up with an idea that was to revolutionise the sport. By applying small amounts of household cleaner to the bases of their playing figures they found that they were able to flick them accurately over amazing distances, albeit only in a straight line (i.e. no swerving). Overnight, advocates of the 00 scale figures were able to grasp the initiative from their flats-favouring counterparts, and the game of subbuteo table soccer was altered quite drastically and irrevocably. Soon, teams were being manufactured with flatter, lower bases to facilitate the long, straight flicking game, as well as enhance the ability to chip when shooting for goal. The rules of play altered little, but the new, revolutionary style of flicking introduced by the Italians, and later perfected by Switzerland’s Willy Hoffman, created what was to all intents and purposes a “whole different  ball game”.

Nowadays, the sport – if it can be called that – of table football is played according to various sets of rules, with some people preferring the old “polish free” style, and others unable to conceive of starting a match without having spent several minutes vigorously polishing the bases of their playing figures. Some people derive enjoyment from both styles of play, and it is at least arguable that it is better to have two different versions of table football in existence than none at all. Co-existence is, at present, relatively harmonious, and as long as this remains the case then the game has every chance of surviving, if not perhaps thriving to the extent that its slowly dwindling band of advocates might wish.


Blast From The Past


Me holding the almost microscopic 1968 Charmouth Subbuteo League Knock-out Cup trophy.

My earliest memories of subbuteo stem from watching my dad practising with his original 1940s card teams. That would have been some time in the early 1960s. However, I didn’t actually start playing the game until 1968. We were living in South Australia at the time and the old 1940s teams, balls and goals had long been consigned to the rubbish bin. My friends and I were all fanatical Australian football devotees, and in what in retrospect I can see was most probably an attempt to seduce us with the delights of ‘the world game’, my dad ordered a subbuteo table soccer set from England. Within weeks, the game was the talk of the neighbourhood. My mates and I all loved it, but as for the sport of which it was the alleged replica, forget it. In my own case, I did not develop an interest in soccer until after we had returned to the UK and the game was more or less rammed down my throat. To this day, however, I much prefer subbuteo to ‘real’ football (and Australian football to both).

The Charmouth Road Subbuteo League ran for two complete seasons, 1968 and 1969, and at various times during that period a total of eleven different people took part in some way, including a token girl (who was actually quite good). The first season had five members, with a sixth joining in for the cup competition. These were:

Player Team Noteworthy Facts
Aloysius Bouwmeester Leeds United (league only) From The Hague in Holland. Played with his middle finger. Lost interest in subbuteo midway through the season when he discovered girls.
Charlie Brown Manchester United An avid Glasgow Rangers supporter, so don’t ask me why he chose to represent Manchester United.
Bernard Devaney Liverpool (league only) My dad, and the only member of the league with previous playing experience. Renowned for moving the goals when under pressure.
John Devaney Everton At first I played with my middle finger, like Aloysius, but I soon saw sense, changed to my index finger, and my form improved.
Alf Pearce Plymouth Argyle Our next door neighbour. A Cornishman, Alf had briefly played football professionally for Plymouth Argyle until he suffered a career ending injury. He was built like a heavyweight boxer, and before I got to know him through playing subbuteo he used to scare the life out of me.
Michael Keenan Notts County (cup only) In later life he dabbled in politics, and was at one point mayor of the Adelaide suburb of Unley.

Given his previous experience, my dad was always going to win the league, but he didn’t have things all his own way, and by the end of the season all of us were capable of pushing him. My results against him were a case in point. In sequence they went 0-9, 1-7, 4-4, 2-2, 2-1. The final league table read as follows:

  Played Won Drawn Lost For Against Points
Liverpool 20 15 4 1 74 21 34
Plymouth Argyle 20 12 4 4 48 30 28
Everton 20 10 4 6 53 43 24
Manchester United 20 5 1 14 19 57 11
Leeds United 20 0 3 17 7 50 3

Despite my mixed fortunes in the league I did manage to get my hands on some silverware by winning the inaugural knock-out cup competition in a field weakened by the absence of my dad, who had left home to work interstate. Drawn against Notts County in the semi final, I won 3-0 and then came from a goal behind to beat Plymouth Argyle 3-1 after extra time

Season two was less memorable for me than season one, perhaps because, like Aloysius, I had dicovered the delights of the fairer sex. With my dad still working interstate the way was clear for Plymouth to claim the championship undefeated, while I suffered the indignity of finishing last. I rediscovered my form during the end of season cup competition, however, which I won thanks to a 4-2 defeat of Alf’s Plymouth in the final. A few weeks later my dad returned home and we left both Australian shores and the game of subbuteo behind, at least for the time being.

Cup Final

Action (or, in Alf’s case, ultra-complacent lack of action – no blocking flicks back then) from the 1969 Plymouth versus Everton Cup Final.



NewFooty set

NOTE: Clicking on each image will allow you to view an enlarged version.

NewFooty was invented in Liverpool in the mid- to late 1920s by William Keeling. It was first produced commercially in 1929. Many of its features, particularly the finger-flicking method of propelling the players, were later borrowed/copied/stolen by Peter Adolph, the producer of subbuteo. During the 1950s the two games ran in parallel but subbuteo had more financial resources behind it and rapidly developed larger fan and player bases. Nevertheless, NewFooty is a fine game in its own right.


The 1950s version of NewFooty was played on a pitch of similar texture and size to that of subbuteo, and just as in subbuteo the players were flat and made of card, and later celluloid. The main difference was that, whereas subbuteo players stood to attention, their NewFooty equivalents were manufactured in various action poses (see above photo). Somewhat surprisingly, this did not appear to affect either their balance or the accuracy with which they could be flicked. Just as with early subbuteo figures, the 1950s NewFooty figures could be flicked so as to curl or swerve.

NewFooty bits and pieces

Another key difference between the two games was that the player bases in NewFooty were made from lead rather than plastic, which inevitably restricted the distance that the players could be propelled, but at the same time made it possible to generate some extremely powerful shots on goal. A NewFooty ball was about midway in size between an old style large subbuteo ball and a modern style table soccer ball. The goals were slightly smaller than subbuteo goals. By the early 1960s NewFooty had been totally eclipsed by its rival and went out of business, but it remains possible to purchase NewFooty items via sites like EBay to this day.