The Subbuteo story: how a war veteran-cum-egg-collector invented Britain’s legendary tabletop favourite

Subbuto David Baddiel Frank Skinner
(Image credit: PA)

This feature first appeared in the July 2021 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe now!

It’s a scene that couldn’t be more 1979 if it were Alan Sunderland’s perm voting Margaret Thatcher into power. While a bulbous cathode-ray TV screen flickers in its wooden cabinet in the background, five young men are crowded around their domestic table, animatedly flicking figures across a green cloth.

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Gary Parkinson is a freelance writer, editor, trainer, muso, singer, actor and coach. He spent 14 years at FourFourTwo as the Global Digital Editor and continues to regularly contribute to the magazine and website, including major features on Euro 96, Subbuteo, Robert Maxwell and the inside story of Liverpool's 1990 title win. He is also a Bolton Wanderers fan.