Subbuteo Table Soccer was popular in Northern Ireland in
the 1970's and 1980's, when we were part of the United Kingdom
Subbuteo Association. Our National Championships were sponsored
by Subbuteo headquarters and the winners representing Northern
Ireland at the British, European and World level. The main
clubs were in Belfast, Rathcoole, Ballyclare and Bangor. Regional
Opens were added to the fixture list in the mid-eighties and
the association expanded further to Comber, Strabane, Coleraine
A famous line up survey the Subbuteo theatre. From
left: Sir Alex Ferguson, Dave Bassett, Graham Taylor,
Billy Bingham (bad hair day) and Brian Clough
With the formation of FISTF (The federation of International
Sports Table Football) in the early nineties, the sport had
a more global aspect and several of our members played in
foreign open events. In 1993 & 1994 we hosted two FISTF
International Opens in Bangor which attracted top players
from the UK & Ireland, mainland Europe including Austria.
By 1996 however, local interest in the sport had declined
and there was no further activity until 2002, when some former
players decided to enter a team for the FISTF World Cup in
Birmingham. Following this, a National league and Organisation
was formed called Northern Irish Table Football Association
(NITFA) , National Opens organised and clubs developed in
Belfast, Ballyclare and North Down areas. There has also been
a renewed interest in players travelling to foreign events.
recently the National Championships took place in Dunmurry
on which an interview was carried out by Michael
McNamee for Radio Ulster. The Championships had almost
20 competitors that day and could have been more but for some
players who unfortunately were unable to make it. A great
turnout considering where the game was a few years ago.
The biggest Subbuteo event
in the province since 1993, the Belfast International Grand
Prix, will take place on Saturday 14th May in W5,
Odyssey. Some of the World's top players will be
in attendance and there will be a penalty-kick side event
for the general public to join in the fun.
More information can be found
on the Northern Ireland Table Football Association website
mentioned below. If anyone wants to get involved, you can
email one of the Club organisers listed on the site.
For more information on the development of the game in NI
go to www.nitfa.org.uk.
You can also let YPAM know if you are still playing Subbuteo
or perhaps share your memories of playing the game when you
were younger. Send your comments via the form below.