Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fantasy Nostalgia: Subbuteo 1900

While writing our recent article about football cigarette cards from 1938, it occurred to me that the game of soccer in the UK back then must have been a very colourful one indeed. Like many of you, I've occasionally seen pictures of footballers from the early twentieth century and marvelled at the garish colours and antiquated styles of the uniforms worn in that long-forgotten era.

But the thought quickly came to mind that if football really was so colourful back then, what would a Subbuteo poster from that era have looked like if the game had existed?  It was at this moment that I hatched a plan to create the image you see below:

Click for larger version
To be specific, I tried to create the image of a Subbuteo poster as it may have looked back at the start of 1900. The teams that are featured are from the Football Leagues of England and Scotland during the 1899-1900 season as well as international teams. Not that there were many of the latter; only England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales were playing football at international level until 1902.

Where the kits are concerned, I've used artistic license from time to time where specific details were unavailable for the start of 1900. In those cases, I've used an approximate image based on the nearest kit recorded to that date. In short, this is a very generalised depiction of the kits being worn back in the day.

As for the poster itself, I've kept the styling fairly simple to maximise overall clarity because if the Victorians liked one thing, it was ornate decoration. Don't get me wrong - I like a curlicue as much as the next man, but one can have too much of a good thing.

Anyway, you're invited to click on the image for a closer look at the teams playing at the start of the last century (apologies for small index text, by the way), and if you can't find your favourite club, they either hadn't been formed, hadn't joined the league or were operating under a different name back then. No prizes for identifying any teams in the last category!

(To view the image at full size, left-click on the image above, then when the image appears on your screen, right-click on it and save it to your computer. Once there, you can view it in a graphics package or Windows.)