We’ve all been told to prepare ourselves for a digital Christmas, but that’s not stopped one of the world’s most popular toys from updating its range of accessories to come into line with modern-day living.
If like me, you grew up playing Subbuteo you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say that the festive period was one of uncontrollable excitement as you waited for the big man to slide down the chimney and add to your ever-increasing collection.
Items such as the TV tower, an oversized FA Cup, corner kickers and St John Ambulance men were a Yuletide staple and this year Subbuteo is looking to encourage a new generation to “Flick to Kick”, with a radical shake-up of its accessory range to recreate the authentic, modern, big match experience.
Replica Stockley Park
Add drama to your matches with a small scale replica of Stockley Park – the place where the video referee and their chums sit to (usually) award Liverpool a controversial penalty. Its authentic interior comes complete with four VAR match officials, in full kit sat in front of video screens and also a sticker pack of various incidents that can be peeled back and stuck on to the actual screens themselves.
The replica building is available to purchase as a single unit or if you prefer you can buy the deluxe version of the entire industrial estate, including foliage which also comes with 20 figures that you can paint for yourself to make it look like a throbbing metropolis.
VAR Stadium Big Screen
Of course if you’ve got Stockley Park, then you’ll need to keep the fans inside the stadium abreast of what’s going on so for this you’ll be able to shell out on a replica big screen (which includes batteries) to attach nicely to the top of one of your stands.
Switch on and you’re immediately given a menu option so you can choose what VAR incident to check. Once selected, the screen automatically changes to “Check in progress” then it’s up to you to interpret and relay the decision from Stockley before getting involved in a punch-up with your best pal.
Safe Distanced Substitutes
Probably the most radical change Subbuteo has ever made is coming into line with the current social distancing rules. Whether it’s the three or five substitute rule you prefer in your matches, impress your mates with the new-look safe distancing insert that is now available. The set is compatible with any Subbuteo stand accessory purchased after 2016.
If you’re stadium hasn’t been redeveloped, then you’ll need to use a hacksaw to make space in the Main Stand to make your ground COVID-19 compliant. Each set comes complete with off-limit seating already highlighted, plus a bag of subs already wearing face masks that you’re able to place as required. At the time of writing, Subbuteo has advised that spares will be available in case the dog gets over excited chasing after that imaginary insect.
Another quirky accessory you may want to add to your collection is the replica hand sanitiser station. These nifty little additions come with easy to peel backs to make it simple to stick them wherever you feel it necessary.
Each pack contains four miniature sanitisers, but you can buy extras in packs of ten to really make your stadium Covid friendly. Once again, if you’re ground was erected in the 70’s/80’s, you may need to make slight alterations such as demolishing those outside toilets at the back of The Kop. Which let’s be honest, should have been knocked down ages ago.
Led Pitch Surround
You’ve probably already discarded the picket fence for safety reasons and the latest addition you can make to your stadium is LED pitch advertising. Remember, even if you’re ground is only compliant to League One or League Two standards, if you’re playing in a live TV game it’s now compulsory to have illuminated ad boards around the perimeter.
Subbuteo is ahead of the game once again by producing an all singing and dancing LED surround, which comes complete with COVID-19 friendly advertising such as “Hands, Face, Space” and “Thank you NHS” etc. At 250 quid granted it’s a bit pricey, but you want to be able to have the TV networks at your games.
Also, if you’re team is still in the FA Cup, don’t forget early January sees the Third Round draw take place, you wouldn’t want to hook out Man City at home and have to change the game to number 36 down the road because their stadium is already compliant now would you?
* Paddy Power can exclusively reveal that Subbuteo plans to bring out a “Fan-Wall” in early 2021 if spectators are still banned from attending matches.
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