Museum of Plastic: Yorkie Special Editions

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It’s somewhat depressing that this is the form in which the majority of people will have encountered Subbuteo in the twenty-first century. There’s a more detailed look at the ill-advised series of sets these things came from over at Peter Upton’s excellent site, but the short version is that they’re basically the worst thing ever to happen to the game.

Still, as they’re among the most common pieces of flick-to-kick car boot sale fodder you’ll see these days, it’s worth knowing what they are. They were the bonus material offered with Yorkie easter eggs in the mid-2000s (thus achieving the unlikely feat of being the worst thing in a box that also contains Yorkie chocolate), and allowed you the opportunity to play a penalty shoot-out or free-kick game on a small, crumpled piece of nylon pitch with absolutely awful cardboard cut-out players that were absolutely useless for trying to kick a ball with (and even worse for trying to save a shot with).

I can slightly see the merit behind trying to introduce collectable “real life” players into the game – even though it’s totally at odds with the fun of collecting nicely-painted full teams, it’s something of a precursor to the Ultimate Team approach that’s dominated recent FIFA games, for better or worse (in this writer’s eyes for worse, but it’s hard to deny its popularity). But the Yorkie giveaway packs didn’t even have that – just a couple of generic players, meaning that the sets couldn’t even be used as a fun way of starting youngsters off collecting the main sets.

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