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A photobook revealing the present-day culture and idiosyncrasies of the largely unseen sporting world of Subbuteo.
A photobook revealing the present-day culture and idiosyncrasies of the largely unseen sporting world of Subbuteo.
284 backers pledged £10,575 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Subbuteo. For most, an iconic manifestation of the 1980s and 90s, now a nostalgic throwback. A competitive table football game where kicks were flicks, the collective height of the team reached 33cms and an entire World Cup could take place on the kitchen table. However, for a small but significant group of Subbuteo fanatics, the beautiful game never died out.

In the Box documents a serious sporting world that few realise is still out there and yet it exists with the same sincerity and fervour as any other sport. 

This photobook guides us through the bizarre yet fascinating oddities of the sport which is thriving across Europe today. Included are images of the euphoria, passion and dedication of the world's top Subbuteo players as well as quotes, providing personal insights in to why Subbuteo means so much to them.

Travelling to various tournaments across Europe including World Cup compeitions in Palermo, Sicily in 2011 and Manchester, UK in 2012, the World Masters in Bristol, UK in 2010, the 2011 Italian Championships in Tuscany, the 2012 European Major in Mons, Belgium, and the Cardiff Grand Prix in 2011, photographer Tom Groves has captured with illuminating clarity and humour, the spirit and substance of the sporting world of Subbuteo. 

Through Kickstarter, the aim is to self publish 1000 hardback copies of the book and eleven special editions. The special editions will feature a signed copy of ‘In the Box’, a hand-painted ‘World All-Star’ Subbuteo figurine, a 'Team Edition' of the Subbuteo game and an editioned pigment print, all of which will be housed in a bespoke clamshell box.

Printed by the world renowned EBS print house in Verona, Italy, the book, designed by Thomas + Thomas, will feature a fabric hardback cover, replicating the feel of a Subbuteo pitch.  

Tom Groves, from Bristol, UK, started his photography education on the HND course at Filton College, Bristol. Since then he has been developing his own photography whilst working in the production department at Magnum Photos, for small photographic start-ups setting up exhibitions and exhibition spaces, and finally for three years as a studio assistant and print technician for Martin Parr, before going freelance in November 2012.

Risks and challenges

As with all projects, setbacks can occur every now and then. Printing a book is a complicated process which is why I have opted to work with EBS in Italy. EBS are one of the world's top photobook printers and have been highly recommended by a number of colleagues have who worked with them and been delighted with both the quality and professionalism of the service they provide.

I will do my best to ensure that all rewards are delivered within the stated delivery period but please do keep in mind that the dates provided are estimates and will depend on the printing process.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $8

    A warm and massive thank you for your support.

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    Pledge £10 or more About $15

    You will receive a 6x4” postcard-sized print featuring one of the images from the book thanking you personally for your contribution.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £20 or more About $31

    A Pre-ordered signed copy of 'In the Box' is yours!

    Be one of the first to own this original photobook at the special pre-order price. A green sticker inside the book will distinguish your pre-ordered copy from the main print run. Free shipping to any UK address.

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    Pledge £45 or more About $70

    You will receive a Pre-ordered signed copy of ‘In the Box’ plus a 7x5" signed pigment print featuring one of the images from the book (+ free shipping to any UK address).

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $155

    You will receive a Pre-ordered signed copy of ‘In the Box’. For pledging £100 you will also get a 12x16" signed and editioned pigment print featuring one of the images from the book, to be selected by the photographer (+ free shipping to any UK address).

    The 12x16" prints will be editions of 11.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About $387

    You will receive a Pre-ordered, signed copy of ‘In the Box’ and a special acknowledgement in the back of the book. For pledging £250 you will also get a 20x24" signed and editioned pigment print featuring one of the images from the book, to be selected by the photographer (+ free shipping worldwide).

    The 20x24" prints will be the largest available size and editions of 5.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £400 or more About $619

    You will receive the limited edition box set and an acknowledgement in the back of the book. This special box set includes: a Pre-ordered, signed copy of ‘In the Box’, a hand-painted ‘World All-Star’ Subbuteo figurine and a 'Team Edition' of the Subbuteo game - containing teams, a pitch and a 12x16” signed and editioned pigment print (+ shipping worldwide), all of which will be housed in a bespoke clamshell box.

    All box set prints will be editions of 11 and selected by the photographer.

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    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,547

    Pledge £1000 and you have yourself a friend for life! You will also receive a full portfolio set of all images included in the book, signed and printed at 12x16". As well as this you will receive a Pre-ordered, signed copy of ‘In the Box’ and a special acknowledgement in the back of the book.

    All portfolio sets will be editions of 11.

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Funding period

- (30 days)