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Subbuteo uncovered; The streaker storms classic football game.

Byline: CARL BUTLER

STREAKERS have invaded the world of table top football.

In a back room behind his shop in mid Wales, Tom Taylor is producing very small -but perfectly proportioned -male and female streakers.

At a flick of a finger, they will wobble and bobble onto Subbuteo pitches the world over.

``It's my biggest selling line,'' saidMr Taylor. The businessman runs the world's only dedicated Subbuteo shop in the border town of Knighton,Powys, with wifeSue,55.

The 52-year-old said he was inspired to make the naked pitch invaders by events at a match at Walsall in 1998 when a streaker ran on the pitch.

``We just thought it was what goes on at a football match. We were thinking `what else can we do?' We had to get a mould made and it was not cheap. But we have sold them all over the world.''

In fact 6,000 of the figures, which sell on the Subbuteo web site at pounds 5.50 a set,have been dispatched to 25 countries,from South America to the Far East,over the past two-and-a-half years.

The web site advertisement says: ``Add extra realism to your game with this streaker set.

``The set comprises a male or female streaker, and a police officer,and rules on how to use these figures to your advantage during a match. The figures stand 3 cm high and are on bases.''

The tiny stripped-for-action characters are being churned out in time for the table-top football World Masters being staged in June at the Scottish national stadium,Hampden Park, in Glasgow.

``If a streaker's on the pitch,play would stop until your opponent flicks a policeman close enough to make an arrest. You can waste vital seconds,'' saidMr Taylor.

The male set's policeman has his helmet ready to cover the offender's modesty.

Mr Taylor, a former West Midlands fireman and lifelong Aston Villa supporter is the biggest producer of Subbuteo accessories since toy maker Hasbro stopped making the game in 2001 because of declining sales.

CAPTION(S):

Small but perfectly formed... the male and female Subbuteo streakers and their law enforcement counterparts
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 25, 2004
Words:356
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