By James Somper
A football fanatic has spent hours painstakingly recreating the most iconic moments in World Cup history – using Subbuteo figures.
Paul Ridler, a lifelong West Brom fan, first started building football scenes using the retro tabletop figures in 2016 in homage to his great grandfather, former England footballer Billy Bassett.
Each detailed miniature pitch takes the 41-year-old between three and four days to create and he now even has football devotees from all over the UK clamouring to purchase them.
To celebrate the World Cup, Paul, a design technician, has spent hundreds of hours creating exact replicas of famous moments from previous tournaments – including the Maradona ‘Hand of God’ from the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, and Bobby Moore lifting the World Cup in 1966.
Dad-of-two Paul, from Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, said: “I had my childhood collection of Subbuteo figures just lying around and I thought it would be interesting to use them to make a model of my great grandfather Billy Bassett.
“He was something of a legend for West Bromwich Albion, and also played for England in the late 19th century.
“When I posted the result on social media once I’d created it, it got a huge reaction.
“I got 200 likes on one picture and people started asking me to do specific scenes.
“It inspired me to start Subbuteo Legends where I recreate the more significant moments from football past.
“Now I’ve even got an order book – it’s a part-time hobby that’s just taken off.”
Each scene takes Paul between three and four days to set up depending on how many figures are needed.
He only makes each scene once in order to make them as unique as possible.
Paul said: “Each person that has one knows that that’s the only one out there.
“It’s a really painstaking process, there are loads of little processes you need to go through like getting the layers of paint on and the skin colour as well as the fine details.
“I use lots of pictures to make sure it’s all accurate and to get the right squad number and type of kit.
“Doing kits from the 70s and 80s are the hardest as there aren’t that as many pictures. I often have to use YouTube or ask questions on Twitter to make sure the details are right.
“In the future I’m planning on doing what I want to do rather than be under pressure making them for people.”
And despite his collection depicting some of the most iconic moments in World Cup history, Paul is clear which scene is his favourite.
He said: “Of course as an England fan, my favourite World Cup scene is of Bobby Moore being held up by Sir Geoff Hurst and Ray Wilson whilst holding aloft the Jules Rimet World Cup after England’s 1966 win.”
Ever the optimist, Paul hopes the 2018 World Cup could also see a few more memorable moments created.
He added: “I am hoping this World Cup creates many memorable moments that can be recreated as Subbuteo Legends – maybe even a England win perhaps!”