Tuesday, 2 March 2010
Smart boy Kevin was a smart boy then
He always beat me at Subbuteo
‘Cos he flicked a kick and I didn’t know’
As a kid growing up in the sixties, I almost inevitably became an expert Meccano engineer, Scalextric racing driver and Subbuteo table football champ, by a sort of osmosis. I loved my Meccano but Subbuteo was the top game, as immortalised by the Undertones in the above lyrics from ‘My Perfect Cousin’. Subbuteo, whilst still played today, really belongs to the sixties when it evolved from its initial flat plastic figures to the famous moulded plastic ones with weighted bases we know today and I spent hours playing it – usually by myself. I had a 1966 ‘Continental’ set with the usual ‘red’ and ‘blue’ team, both of which became the most accident prone teams in football history with broken arms and legs all round. Playing on the floor where my mother often walked probably had something to do with it.
I remember playing most games by myself in those days and this was no exception. I played both sides and even had a league for a short while but the reds and blues suffered mightily from either my knees or others’ feet. It was worse than the Somme.
Eventually, in a fit of pique over playing with two paraplegic teams, I spent the whole of my school dinner money for a week on a brand new team (team 3 - blue and white striped shirts/white shorts) from a school friend and nearly starved in the process. But even they suffered fractured limbs on my floor field so it was with much relief that I was allowed access to a table top and soon the casualty rate fell dramatically.
At this time I felt flush enough to buy another team - number 6 (gold shirts/black shorts) representing my local team, Watford and then team number 40 (claret and sky blue striped shirts/white shorts) before I gave up the game due to old age. But guess what? The latter two teams turned up in the back of a cupboard recently and they are in their original boxes and in perfect condition. A quick look on ebay suggests that I may have something valuable on my hands. Ha! And my mother thought I was wasting my money – again.