Extract from ‘GOT, NOT GOT – The A-Z of Lost Football Culture, Treasures & Pleasures.’ Out this week…
“…….Although accessories such as the dugouts and the ambulance men, the TV tower with mini-Motty, the floodlights and VIP figures (including Queenie handing over a tiny FA Cup) were affordable and always welcome on a Christmas morning, the ultimate prize had to be the Subbuteo stadium, complete with a decent crowd of ready-painted spectators. Unfortunately, they were beyond the pocket of most kids’ parents and you’d count yourself lucky to have a single, foot-long stand with a couple of dozen spectators dotted around it.
While you could buy Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester United teams, your ground was no better than that of the local non-League side. How to construct your own Highbury or Villa Park on a strict budget? Rather than waiting for our parents to win the pools and buy the sixteen stands required to build a complete ground, some of us took matters into our own hands and constructed cardboard stands using large amounts of glue, paint and perspiration.
Then we bought the much cheaper packs of unpainted spectators – fifty per box, all as naked as the day they were moulded – and painstakingly applied Humbrol paint. There were only five different spectator figures and we got to know them intimately as we toiled with the paintbrush.
There was dependable old Fatty in his trilby, a foursquare figure guaranteed not to fall over; Polo-Neck Man, with his arms folded, slim enough to fit in those awkward gaps under the stand roof; Celebrating Man and his equally Celebrating Girlfriend, who added to the atmosphere; while Legs-Crossed Man was always a liability, falling over sideways under the slightest bump or breeze, and taking half a block of his fellow fans with him….”