One of the biggest problems a new player faces is how to get a regular game or two of table football. Sure, there are regular tournaments up and down the country, but these should not replace the bread and butter games a player needs. The ESTFA encourages the development of new clubs and advises all clubs to register with ESTFA (no cost involved!), so that we are aware of all the existing and active clubs out there. That way we can point a new player towards their local club.
Sometimes though, there is no local club available and the new player is lost, alone in the wilderness! The best option is to form a new club and this is not as tricky as it might seem.
All you need is a basic set of equipment (pitch, goals, balls, teams etc). It helps if you have at least two players to start, but I know of at least one club where a full league fixture list was played out with one league player, playing solo! So the first thing is to get your league members. Remember 2 is enough but the ideal number is 8 so make this your target. This number makes fixtures easy to plan and also makes a cup competition easy to run. If you are struggling for players try local groups like scouts, schools, workmates, friends even local newspapers. You would be surprised how many players are out there!
So once you have your players, what next? Well, give the club a name and very often this includes the location of where you are based: Leeds League or Maidstone Table Football Club for example. It is now very important to establish which rules you will play to. There are a few sets of rules available but we suggest using FISTF rules are these are the most universally used rules.
Next determine the fixture list and how games will be played. Try to have a ref for all games as this is good for players and ref to learn the rules. Decide when games will be played and also where. As I said earlier, 8 is the ideal number for a league and below is an example fixture list:
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7
1v2 8v1 1v6 4v1 2v4 6v2 2v8
3v4 2v3 3v8 6v3 6v8 8v4 4v6
5v6 4v5 5v2 8v5 1v3 5v1 7v1
7v8 6v7 7v4 2v7 5v7 3v7 3v5
Repeat with the fixtures reversed
- Try to avoid money at first! What I mean is try to avoid paying for a venue while the club is small, play in each other’s homes if possible.
- Play at least one Cup Competition
- Club together to buy small league and cup trophies. This makes it more exciting and if they are trophies that can be passed on each year it creates a little bit of club history.
- Remember to register your club with ESTFA so that we can expand our club scene.
- Contact existing clubs to arrange inter club matches. These friendly games are a great way for your club players to bond as a team and are also a great introduction to tournament play.
- Send your league/cup/interclub results to Subbuteo England so that we can all share in your news and development.
- If possible, set up a club website and share this information with ESTFA.
- Never rest on your laurels! Players will come and go so try to develop and expand your club, and be proud of it!
- Never forget that the ESTFA is there to help you. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need help or advice.