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A WORLD OF TABLEFOOTBALL - Foosball in Great Britain


I would say Tornado is table nr.1 in the UK.
Yet you will find no regular Tornado leagues there.
But many tournaments are organized, and players come from all over Britain.
From the results obtained at these tournaments, the players get ranking points.
There is one official ranking list for Tornado, and one for Garlando.
All this is supervised by the BFA, an independent members association.
The BFA has also a terrific web site :

There is one Garlando Oxford student league,
with 7 divisions and about 50 teams (6 players each)


Tanny Iqbal,
England’s Tornado player nr.1
One of my very best personal friends
died quite unexpectedly on 3rd September 2002.
He was only 43 years old.
We will never forget you Tanny!

England swings …

The Rainbow Snooker Club in Manchester is THE PLACE TO BE if you want to meet the top players from the North.
It is not the nicest of places, dark and grubby.
Yet, when the players welcome you, (and especially with Jimmy behind the bar) you feel a whole lot better.
Two Tornado tables waiting for you, in mint condition - cleaned by Tanny Iqbal himself!
On Friday and Sunday night you’ll have to cue to get a game, and make sure you win , else you’ll be on the waiting list again.
Easier said than done!

Near London, in Ealing to be precise, you are bound to run into the best pros from the South. They visit “The Grange” most Friday nights.
Also two Tornado tables there, in excellent condition of course.
That’s a very nice place where you can enjoy a hot meal if you like.
I’ve been there on several occasions.
Tournaments are held there quite often, and it’s especially worth the trip in summer because part of the event will take place outside on the garden.

Also the Scotsman, Southall (Thursdays)
The Bush, Bristol (Thursdays)
The kelly Arms, Kingston on Thames (Tuesdays)
These are all Tornado places.

For Garlando, you can go to :
The Hat and Feather, Bath (Tuesday)
The Purple Turtle, Reading (Wednesday)
The Chetwynd, Nuneaton (Fridays)

At the Café Kick in Clerkenwell, London
On Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night a lot seems to be happening on three René Pierre (French style) tables. With Victor , the bartender challenging everyone - Quote : “English players are no match to the French”

These are just the places I have heard of, there will be many others of course!

The Federations :

BFA : Bar Football Association.
The Bar Football Association was established with the aim of promoting the popularity of Table Football in the UK.
Chairman : Rhys Roberts
Vice Chairman : Dave Ziemann
Secretary : Boris Atha
Treasurer : Tanny Iqbal
And also a number of “Working Groups” to help support the system.
The BFA allows all brands of tables and is strictly non-commercial.

The tables

Tornado :

I first met a Tornado table in Manchester, and it was NOT love on first sight!
When you’re used to a Belgian type of table, with a lot of control, Tornado feels like ice-skating. You can’t get a ball under your player, let alone make a shot.
It took me about five years, but now I have one at home and things will change!
Still I’m not fond of those two extra players at the back.
On the other hand, I have to say that everything is possible, provided you practice enough (and it’s never enough…).
The beauty of the ball rolling in straight lines, not waggling about.
The perfect balance of the players and the rods that seem to never break or bend…
It all adds up to ONE HELL OF A TABLE !

Garlando :

The glass top Garlando is what you find most in the English pub.
The main purpose of a glass top is keeping drinks from being spilt over everything. It also prevents the balls from being stolen or lost.
It does not improve the quality of the game…
Furthermore, these models usually have telescopic rods.
On the world market, Garlando ranks certainly in the top 3.
From Italy to Australia, from the UK to Canada…
You find them everywhere!
Hardly in central Europe though…
European players tend to prefer tables that offer more control.
The Garlando used at the tournaments (Oxford etc.) have the straight-through rods and no glass top. They still are extremely slippery and difficult to control.
The recent World Championships in Austria, with € 25.000 prize money, has drawn a lot of attention to the new Garlando WC table, a model designed with also non-Garlando players in mind.
This new Garlando-World-Champion allows everything you can do on Tornado, only the rods are quite lighter here.
High precision on angled shots. Boris Atha is already this table’s nr1 fan!

Apart from Tornado and Garlando, that together account for the majority of soccertables in the UK. Some more tables are scattered over the country …

Fas :

Italian table, slippery surface, usually with a glass top/telescopic rods.
Little control, game based on speed rather than control.


Spanish table, the players have two legs, and the playing surface slopes to the midfield.

Bonzini :

French style table, metal players on chromed, heavy rods. Small synthetic grips.
(For tournaments players often put on larger grips) Bonzini offers a good control.
Not too many in the UK, mostly in the London area, two of them in a sport shop!

René Pierre :

Only one place in the UK (as far as I know) : Café Kick , Clerkenwell, London.
French table with metal players . Good control.
Chromed, telescopic rods , that turn rather heavily.
Synthetic grips.

Soccer 2000 :

Excellent Belgian table. Lots of control = THE front pin table!
You can find one : The Rising Sun, Sheffield Road, Barnsley, South Yorkshire.


Scotland is know for its fabulous whisky, the lochs and the highland games.
When I was in Scotland a few years ago,
bag pipe music filled my ears, and Glenmorangie filled my glass..
I didn’t see many foosball tables I’m afraid…

Yet there must be some Fas, Garlando, Bonzini and Roberto Sport tables around.
I have not heard about big tournaments or regular leagues there.


I was once invited to a FAS tournament at the Queens’s University in Belfast,
unfortunately I couldn’t make it.
No regular leagues to my knowledge.
Tables : Fas, Garlando, Bonzini and a few Tornados.
Hope to visit Ireland shortly , just waiting for the next invite!