Published in time for the 1986 World Cup, this was the first catalogue to be released by Subbuteo since 1981 after several years where the poster format was deemed better at promoting the full range of products. And a fine catalogue it was too: 15 full colour pages showing off a whopping 636 team kits, along with the usual array of factual information, accessories and team indexes.
For me, this catalogue is better to look at than the 1988 version we covered back in April last year. It’s not too overstyled, it’s got many more team strips to look at on each double page and the pictures are bigger and brighter. True, you get the usual text explaining how Subbuteo was invented and developed and a brief explanation of how the basic ‘flick-to-kick’ concept works, but it fits in nicely with the imagery that captures a kid’s imagination so well.
The three boxed sets are there for all to see, including the World Cup Edition that contained the teams of Mexico (1986 hosts) and Italy (1982 champions). Better still was the International Edition: here you had three teams (red/white, blue/white and Argentina) plus a scoreboard, floodlights, pitch fencing and all the paraphernalia you could ever wish for.
As for the accessories, many were displayed in their green branded cardboard boxes or their clear plastic-fronted cardboard packs. Seeing so many items looking smart in their uniformly designed packaging made you feel like there was a never-ending supply of wonderful whatchamacallits to keep you interested for years and years.
And to celebrate a World Cup year, there was also a photographic trip down memory lane to remember not just the most recent FIFA tournaments, but also the Subbuteo World Cups that were held in the same year. Of more interest to the average collector, however, were the new special edition World Cup Squads that contained 14 outfield players and two goalkeepers, all presented in a bigger-than-usual box. The available squads were illustrated accordingly, providing you with the perfect reference should you decide to purchase the teams for Iraq, Canada or Australia.
With all the team indexes at the back and a pleasing array of flags showcasing the national Subbuteo associations on the reverse cover, there was no excuse for not laying out your pitch and flicking away to your heart’s content. Everything you needed to get you going was contained between the pages of this lovely catalogue. Shame about those floodlights, though…