When I was nine years old, I had a friend called David Lee, who lived across the road. As with most impressionable kids with friends older than they are, I always wanted to do what he did. David had a Subbuteo set. I can't remember all his teams, but I know two he had : Number 4 (Stoke City) and Number 100 (Manchester United). I loved to play Subbuteo with him, and no matter which teams played, he religiously wrote each scoreline down in an exercise book.
I was given a second hand set with the pitch mounted on a piece of hardboard, by my Mum's cousin, and I began a fascination with collecting accessories and teams. Whenever I went out, I would get a new piece for my set. Teams cost just 50p each in those days, and I soon had quite a collection.
My first league was based on twelve teams found in a boy's football magazine called Score. This magazine has long since disappeared, although they ran a Fantasy League style page, with the teams being made up of real footballers on a regional basis, some fifteen years before it became popular. I remember some of the names of the teams. The ones I remember were Midland Select (who eventually won my first ever league), Northern Town, Thames Southern, Southdown City and Glasgow United. I loved that first league, and played at least a game most evenings after school. I even got my friends interested, taking my little exercise book into school with me.
One of my friends, Adie, decided he'd like to join in, and we decided to create a new league, based on the Central League, which was a real league of reserve teams. The real league had 22 teams, and we took 11 each. I remember such teams as Nottingham Forest, West Bromwich Albion, Burnley, Manchester United, Preston North End and more were involved. Sadly, we stopped playing half way through, to start another league with two other friends, Ian and Peter.
This was my first "real" league, where I had one team against other real players. My team were Keyworth Buteo, and I finished bottom!
I was busy collecting Roy of the Rovers comic at this time, and became obsessed with the teams Melchester Rovers played each week. My next league which lasted three seasons was based on these teams. Melchester Rovers met such famous names as Tynecaster, North Vale, Carford City, Portdean, Stambridge City and Kelburn. I even remember Melchester giving Walford a 7-0 drubbing. I used to love playing with Melchester, and spent hours crawling on the floor in my parents' bedroom (the best carpet for laying the pitch down).
There was then a pause while I did my exams, before my final league was set up, featuring Northcastle United, in their Southampton strip. The players' names were a mixture of invented names and also names of some of my friends. The league lasted two seasons.
I then discovered something called beer. And girls. I'd always heard of these things, and when cars were added, there was no contest. Melchester Rovers and Northcastle United were forgotten. My Subbuteo gear, now being made up of most of the 1970s/1980s accessories and teams were consigned to the loft.
In the early nineties, I decided I wanted to add to my teams again, but decided to try to collect something new. I decided I'd start collecting Italian Serie A teams. I bought Milan, Inter, Torino, Sampdoria, Juventus and Pescara. Some work colleagues were bored at work, so I took my set into the canteen one day. We started a series of challenge matches, each choosing one English team and one Italian team. Mine were Manchester United and AC Milan.
I left that company ten years ago, and once again Subbuteo was stored away. Now, it has re-emerged, after I read the Subbuteo365 website, and the memories were rekindled. I took some pieces to my local pub, and attracted the attention of five of the regulars. They too were closet Subbuteo fans, and we decided to re-create a league. That is the one you are reading about on this website. No longer any need for exercise books from school, all the details can be found on this site. The Westwood Falcons Subbuteo League is alive and well.