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My mam dies, a house clearance, I discover my old Subbuteo and this old exercise book…

8 months ago
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A few years ago now my Mam died, she had had a good innings as they say.

Afterwards there was the house clearance and I picked up an old exercise book of mine, a hard backed one purchased from the newsagents.

Flicking through I saw my writing from some forty five years ago at least. Not just any writing but whole pages of League Division One fixtures. Names of scorers recorded, as well as half time scores and the minutes the goals were scored in. The names of the goal scorers neatly scribed, as well as bizarrely, the attendance figures.

This was my fantasy football played out with Subbuteo. Games fought out with my best mate on the Grange Estate.

Subbuteo, what a game.

The vivid green felt pitch which we had glued onto a piece of hardboard that my Dad had bought me, meant we could slide it neatly onto the table. No creases to interfere with play, just pristine green felt.

Having two older brothers who were equally obsessed with football, meant that our collection of teams was second to none. We had almost the entire first division.

My oldest brother decided to very carefully paint numbers on the backs of shirts on each player, which meant we could line up in the correct formation, five and six at left and right centre half, with the Number 9 up front. Not only that, but to ensure accuracy of names, the players names were written inside team boxes just in case we couldn’t remember who was number seven for Derby County say. Hence the recording of the names of goal scorers in the book. Genius we thought at the time.

As I flicked through the pages I could see Newcastle United sitting proudly top half of the neatly drawn out league table. Goals for and against, two points for a win.

As we progressed through the exercise book, checking the tables, Newcastle began to close in on the top three. And then lo and behold, final game of the season and Newcastle United are Division 1 Champions. Me and my best mate are both Newcastle fans.

But it was not over!

Halfway through the exercise book we have the FA Cup third round (no idea how we did the draw).

The Newcastle progression from the third round onwards is unstoppable and the showcase game at Wembley is won by the famous black and whites. Attendance a hundred thousand in case you wondered.

The fantasy world of young lads in the early seventies.

Sometime before lockdown, I purchased a new Subbuteo for my son, but it is not a patch on the original.

Nothing could replace my original Subbuteo or the memories that the exercise book jogged.

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