Iconic World Cup
Although historically enthusiasts often met in small groups to play and collect the game, typically in isolation from one another, the ESA has been successful in bringing these groups and clubs together under one large fully constituted national association.
As a result, ‘Subbuteo’ is enjoying an exciting renaissance in its homeland which has been recognised by FISTF in the award of the 2024 World Cup to the ESA.
In homage to Peter Adolph and the heritage of the iconic game of Subbuteo, the ESA has chosen to host this prestigious international event in Tunbridge Wells, where the game was born.
The World Cup offers the opportunity not only to promote this wonderful sport but also to create an enduring legacy. ESA events focussed on young people have shown just how well they take to the game once introduced to it.
It delivers a unique blend of speed, dexterity and tactics that transcends anything an electronic game offers. The similarities to football fires imaginations; especially as modern technology allows the playing figures to mirror exactly the playing strips of today’s favourite teams.
An important part of the ESA’s legacy for this World Cup will be the introduction of the sport to a new younger audience and the creation of clubs where they can play and develop.
In addition to developing new young players, there is a generation for whom Subbuteo holds huge significance as a reminder of their youth. Many are now established in their lives with both the resources and time to rekindle the passions of their younger years. A return by this generation to ‘Subbuteo’ in part explains the resurgence of the game.
For a game that has lacked a high profile for several years, cultural references to ‘Subbuteo’ are surprisingly ubiquitous; from the opening credits of the BBC World Cup coverage, to the lyrics of popular songs. The Subbuteo player on its base is a cultural meme that appears on adverts, shirts, mugs and greetings cards amongst others. It’s even been adapted as a bedside lamp and a bottle opener.
It’s clear that the promotion of the sport and of a ‘home’ World Cup in particular, will resonate with widespread affection for the game and its symbols.