The stunning Subbuteo Stadium that Cheltenham Town fans will love

Jason Christopher did not intend for this to happen. A lapsed Subbuteo player who used to play in tournaments, he wanted a desk ornament in homage to the game he used to play.

“I used to play Subbuteo on the circuit when I was younger. Subbuteo paid for me to go all over the place but I hadn’t played for a few years,” he explains.

Even when he was playing in tournaments it had always been his ambition to build a stadium when he retired but that was still some way off. But when lockdown hit he decided to hand build a few pieces for his desk to keep busy.

And we all know that definitely wouldn’t escalate, right?

Using a few bits of card and plastic lying around he built a sign that mirrored those typically seen outside lower league football grounds. Next game a homemade communications tower joined the sign as pride of place on his desk.

Then Covid-19 hit the UK and Jason found himself furloughed and with plenty of time on his hands. Despite being based in Portsmouth – where had already began to play again in the at Havehill Rovers Subbuteo Club (“It was all modern stuff. For the first couple of games I resisted, I refused to play with the giant keepers, but I kept getting chipped”) – he is a lifelong Cheltenham Town fan and his plan was to recreate Whaddon Road in Subbuteo form.

Fast forward nearly a year and Whaddon Road has featured on local and national news, been shared far and wide in Subbuteo groups and on forums, and has bits of detail that make it one of the best Subbuteo stadiums around. In this issue of The Hobby we wanted to celebrate the beauty of intricate detail in stadium builds and Jason’s stadium has plenty of that.

Take a look at the tiny details in this vast stadium project. The consertina-like extending player tunnel, 3d printed stairs leading to the top tier from, tv gantries and broadcast boxes for those sky games.

“Some of it is from, like the stairs in the Main Stand. I’ve made lots from bits of rubbish.”

The remarkable fact about this stadium is that Jason keeps it updated as the real ground changes.

“I like to keep it updated to match the real Whaddon Road. The hoardings are based on the real thing and the scoreboard is quite new.”

He has fashioned the scoreboard using a tiny electronic photo frame and a USB stick filled with lineups, matchday sponsors and player goal celebrations for that match day atmosphere.

What next for Whaddon Road? “I’ve started to paint a fan with each Subbuteo reference number. It looks good but takes a lot of time.”

Thanks to Jason for sharing some of the incredible details in his spectacular stadium build.

Stephen Hurrell
Stephen Hurrell
Stephen is the founder and editor of The Hobby Online and The Hobby by Subbuteo.Online print magazine. He is a giant nerd and specialises in Subbuteo, retro football kits and consumer stories. A journalist and editor of 15 years, he has written about football for some of the UK's biggest publications.

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