Tuktuk Day 110

Land Of The Giants – Subbuteo

Today we move on from the Channel Islands and the intricacies of the play-offs to a “New World.” When Covid-19 struck the UK in March 2020 and the country was plunged into the trauma of Lockdown, Derek Air took his Subbuteo pitch down off the garage wall and together with his son, started playing again.  At the time, rather like a dystopian film, he believed they were the only ones still playing the game, but on closer investigation he discovered a rich and vibrant online community of players, collectors, team painters and even stadium builders.  Following the lifting of Lockdown, he decided he wanted to find out more about these people so he set off on a virtual, and then actual, journey across the country and finally abroad, to meet them and bring their stories to a wider audience.  

Land of the Giants:  My Journey Through the World of Table Football takes you on an odyssey where you will meet the players who search for glory on tables at both home and abroad; the collectors who scour the internet, car boot sales, charity shops and collectors’ fairs in search of the rarest of the rare items; the men and women who create works of art in miniature and the stadium builders who wake up one morning and decide to build a replica of a football ground in their spare room. Land of the Giants takes the reader inside the world of the table football and Subbuteo. From the collectors and team painters, to the players and stadium builders, their stories are all here. technological change.

This book is a love letter to a game that was once thought long forgotten, but which is, as you will discover, very much alive and flicking. Yes, a love letter to an old-fashioned favourite, still loved by so many, and a game which refuses to die in an age of technological change.


Derek Air has been playing the game of Subbuteo on and off for fifty years. A former school teacher, he has written a number of articles on German football for the fanzine Halb Vier and produced four series of the podcast Finger Flickin’ Good in which he chronicled the stories of the Subbuteo community both in the UK and further afield. Land of the Giants is his first non-fiction book. A proud Scot, he lives in the Black Country.

Editor’s note: I must admit that I last played Subbuteo as a chronically sick child back in the 1960s and I was surprised and delighted to find the game is a live and well. I seem to remember that there was no official Gillingham Subbuteo team (below) – so I could be Everton or Chelsea (if I lost!) or my beloved Gillingham when I won.

Things have changed a lot, I see, and I am now tempted to buy the official Gillingham 23/24 away (!)kit. Crazy world. Perhaps like vinyl, cinema visits, books and DVDs a cycle is inevitable. The book is available from our friends at Pitch Publishing

I hope you enjoyed Derek’s Journey into a New World. Interesting niche! To be honest, I am struggling to reach £500 for FC Deportivo and Prostate Cancer at £20 or £50 so this is a bit of a test/a trial if you like. I wonder how many of you would be happy to add just £1? I would be very grateful if you would consider a donation however small to support  Prostate Cancer UK  If everybody chipped in £1 I would easily hit my target of £5,000 and the charity would continue to fund their great work. Every single penny goes DIRECT to Prostate Cancer UK. A HEARTFELT thanks, if you can donate. If you can’t you can still help massively by sharing this page about the work of Prostate Cancer. If you prefer to support FC Deportivo Galicia, their link is here


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