Just discovered this thread - brilliant!
Subbutteo was huge for us as kids - over the Summer, there were eight of us, and we used to have two pitches going, and play two groups of four with the top two going into semi-finals (as per the 1980, 1984, 1988 Euro Championships). .
The lad who used to host the tournaments (his parents were both out at work) was a subbuteo fanatic, had all the equipment, and was absolutely brilliant at the game itself, playing as Italy. He was able to employ catenaccio (sp?) to deadly effect and invariably won each tournament (advantages of being host!!).
Indeed, subbuteo also introduced a player that could be employed for corner kicks only, which essentially put the ball into the area, via the aerial route. This lad was able to perfect scoring direct from corners, and the only way around it was to hold your keeper in a hover at the near post angle with the cross-bar as he took the kick.
Two particular memories - my 'flicking style' was called into question as I was accused of pushing so I was forced to redefine my game, which affected perfromance
and secondly the summer of 1978, in the aftermath of the World Cup, when subbuteo introduced the new Argentina team to their catalogue and everyone, and I mean everyone, bought a set!!
Wonderful wonderful memories - the innocence of it all - thanks to the OP.