WHO ARE YA? Rachel Gibson, Business Development Manager & FootieBugs Trainer at FootieBugs Ltd


Rachel Gibson, FootieBugs Trainer at FootieBugs Ltd

1) Who are ya?

Rachel Gibson, former Goalkeeper for Aston Villa Ladies 1998 -2006

2) Who do you support?

Aston Villa

3) What was your first game?

Villa v Norwich, standing the Holte End on a crate…Villa won.

4) What do you do for a job?

Business Development Manager. I sell the FootieBugs franchises and run the coaches training.

FootieBugs, through its children’s football based activity programmes promotes individuality and encourages this by building confidence and self assurance. We also ensure that children enhance their core skills by playing and learning together with their peers.

As such, the FootieBugs children’s football based activity programmes are designed age appropriately offering a clear step by step activity based programme that can be accessed by all. Together this encourages children to maximise their knowledge and understanding, their eagerness to participate and be part of a team and above all enables children to develop to their full potential

– See more at: www.footiebugs.com/what-is-footiebugs

5) Have you played/worked for any football clubs?

I played for Aston Villa Ladies.

6) How did you get into it?

I started playing at primary school and a friend played for Villa and told me to come along to training, so I did.

7) What do you get out of it?

Fun and the enjoyment of playing, making good friends.

8) What advice would you give someone wanting to follow in your stud marks/footsteps?

Never stop believing.

9) If you could do it all again what would you change?


10) Who’s your footballing hero?

Iker Casillas

Find out more about Footie Bugs



My brother and I had this in the 1980s. The players are exactly as I remember them but the box and packaging doesn’t look like the edition we had. Oh well, the mind plays tricks and it was a long time ago.

Actually, that would be right, as ours was the Palitoy edition.



I can remember the white plastic insert that held the players, and the plasticky velour 5-a-side pitch with side walls.


The diving goalkeepers were ace, and if you really twatted the player’s head with the flat of your hand (which made the player’s foot strike the ball in a pivot motion) you could boot the ball hard and fast, turning it into a offensive weapon against your opponent. This probably led to tales being told and my brother being sent to bed with the game being confiscated, as it was usually him that tried to inflict pain on me (being the youngest and less well-adjusted and “sporting” in his game-play as a result!).


Pretty sure that ours had the red team, probably Man Utd, and the black and whites, Newcastle Utd:


Early versions of the set contained:

  • 4 ‘Red’ players
  • 4 ‘Blue’ players
  • 2 Goalkeepers
  • Ball
  • 2 Goals
  • 2 Goal bases
  • Pitch
  • Pitch surround
  • 6 Metal brackets for pitch surround
  • Rules

Peter Upton’s page, where a lot of these images come from, describes the game:

The red box All Star Super Striker  is the set I owned as a child, and it was sold under the Palitoy logo. As mentioned on the previous page, this set had an rules sheet that gave instructions for both the diving goalkeeper and the old standing one. As the sets above show, this is because the “All Star” game was released in both “Striker” and Super Striker” forms, which was something I was not aware of as a child. So perhaps the Striker version didn’t have a long shelf life. The only difference between the two sets seems to be the goalkeepers, and although the complicated mechanism of the diving version would have been more expensive to produce, I can’t really see the reasons behind having two sets at this point.

 Either way, these Palitoy boxed games are a new deluxe version of the earlier sets, and various enhancements have been made to the standard playing pieces.

The pitch is the moulded version with fence surround from the Wembley Fast-Pitch edition, but this has now been covered with a felt-like playing surface. The box calls this a “Super Texture” pitch. This texture slows down the Wembley pitch, and is a big improvement. This is also a great pitch for five-a-side Subbuteo, although mine has been over-used and the surround is now badly cracked.

The big advance in this set is with the outfield players. At first glance they may look the same, but they are now bigger, have more detail and cute individual touches. They can be right or left-footed Their arms come in different poses, and can be glued at different angles. The shorts and shirts and legs are all separate pieces, and the kicking leg is now fully rounded (whereas the inside of the leg on the earlier figures is flat). The final artistic flourish is the head of the player, as this has a choice of facial expressions, and a variety of hairstyles (all rather 1970s) which come in brown or black. The eyes and eyebrows are hand-painted.

In addition to this, these outfield players are now produced in accurate club strips, including badges and trim. The two kits in the box set are Manchester United, and Newcastle United.

The game is fetching a lot of money online now, if you’re lucky enough to find an original 1970s/1980s example. Like most of my childhood things, our game is long-consigned to the bin or charity shop, along with Escape From Colditz, which is also worth a tidy sum.

Hipster goalies – Chris Woods

From the GK Union page, “Chris Woods“:

“With a career spanning over 22 years in top flight football and an impressive 43 full England appearances to his name, this Lincolnshire shot stopper was well respected in the professional game and amounting to an impressive 603 career matches under his belt.

Woods’ career started at Nottingham Forest back in 1976 but with very limited opportunities he soon moved on to QPR and then Norwich City where he clocked up over 200 appearances for the Canaries. A move in 1986 saw Woods move North of the border and he destination was Glasgow Rangers where, over 5 seasons, played 173 times winning the Scottish title and League Cup in his first season. During this time a record was achieved in that Woods played a phenomenal 1196 minutes of competitive football without conceding a goal. This record was later beaten by Van Der Saar at Manchester United in 2009.

Woods headed South once again and in 1991 he transferred in a £1.2million deal to Sheffield Wednesday to join Trevor Francis and his team.

In the 1995-96 season, Woods was replaced by Kevin Pressman in the Owl’s goal and after a loan spell at Reading he made the trip to the States to play for Colorado Rapids. Woods eventually retired from top flight football in 1998 after spells playing for Burnley and Sunderland.

After a distinguished playing career for both club and country Woods took up the post as Everton’s Head Goalkeeping Coach where he remains today. With his connections across the pond, Woods is also the Head Goalkeeper Coach for the USA National team.”


Chris Woods, Nottingham Forest, Top Trumps


Winning the Milk Cup with Norwich City (I was there to see this)


With Rangers