• ESA

75 FLICKING CANDLES IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS

Updated: Sep 25

“Subbuteo is not for lockdown, it is for ever”. Mark Adolph, the son of the inventor of Subbuteo, Peter Adolph, summarised in a sentence the spirit of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Subbuteo in Tunbridge Wells on 18 September 2022. About 300 people visited the Forum during the open day: a mix of players and collectors, ex Subbuteo workers, locals of all ages engaged with the beautiful flicking game. The event was organised by Jenny Peterson, Heritage Open Days, Alan Crampton (subbuteopassion.com) in partnership with the English Subbuteo Association.

An interactive exhibition connected the game with the local history. Many locals loved to locate a sticker on the maps to indicate one of the many houses where the little plastic men were painted. Others left their thoughts in post-its. “We dried the figures on top of the TV”. “Countless hours of fun. Thanks mum and dad” are only two examples.

It was great to have a chat with painters and designers of the hobby. Some brought pictures, catalogues and even the very rare Beatles set! Two collectable stands gave the public a sample of classic and modern game. Keith Buckwell proudly shared memories of designing the green and tan stand and almost being arrested for a full scale world cup put on sale on a shop window! The new Subbuteo lionesses set box exhibited by Stewart Grant was admired by many as an icon of progress!

Many people congregated around the ESA banner to ask how to join a club and a few have been put in contact with their local clubs. The two tables with classic Subbuteo and modern table football have been busy all day with people of all ages and abilities having a flick around. The luckiest people had a game with Mark Adolph who also was available to autograph his book “Growing up with Subbuteo”.

Gianluca Zucchelli delivered a speech on behalf of the ESA; he covered a brief history of the iconic game and its revival. Zucchelli announced that the table football World Cup will be played in the very birthplace of Subbuteo, Tunbridge Wells, in September 2024. “It’s coming home”.



A fun day for people of all ages


Interactive maps got populated with original Subbuteo production sites

Mark Adolph plays with Gianluca Zucchelli


From left to right: Jenny Peterson, Mark Adolph, Gianluca Zucchelli, Stewart Grant and (seated) Alan Crampton and Keith Buckwell

New players try the game for the first time

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