Ipswich company launches football game

PUBLISHED: 11:00 20 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:33 03 March 2010

FOOTBALL! A national institution and therefore one topic of constant discussion, everywhere.

Whether it be after-match analysing of the big boys or the little league battles on a Sunday – we love our footie.

FOOTBALL! A national institution and therefore one topic of constant discussion, everywhere.

Whether it be after-match analysing of the big boys or the little league battles on a Sunday – we love our footie.

Upstarts! an Ipswich games company, is never one to miss a topical opportunity and LYNN ABBOTT has been finding out a bit more about their Flip Football – a game that is very much one of two halves.

IF there was ever a case where some folk were going to feel like the poor relations, this is it.

But the previously unknown team, Roughburn Rovers is about to make it to the big time and rub shoulders with the likes of Beckham, Giggs and Neville.

Never in their wildest dreams would the Rovers have ever thought they would venture out of their Ipswich Licensed Trade League (albeit Division 1) and face the mighty Reds of Manchester United.

But they have.

Thanks to Upstarts! – who devised the board game version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire – this side, previously only famous within its own families, will be a national name.

Weighing up the two sides – even though this is only make-believe – comparisons really did show up the privileged against the underdogs.

Take their home grounds, for example. While Man U's home turf is the Old Trafford "Theatre of Dreams", lowly Roughburn Rovers has just moved to Copleston Sports Centre from "The Stadium of Flies" at Woolverstone.

Of course, Rovers in reality is really Newton Road Conservative Club's football team from Ipswich who has put their players on loan to this fictitious side.

The two teams in Flip Football are Manchester United and Roughburn Rovers. It is a simple game played with two packs of cards and to make it a bit more realistic, with some footie atmosphere, there is a CD soundtrack of chants and songs for both teams.

Some of the favourites for the Reds we know include "Ryan Giggs, Ryan Giggs, running down the wing" (to the tune of Robin Hood) and "Glory, Glory Man United" (instead of Glory, Glory Hallelujah).

For Rovers with players such as Vinny Catania, borrowing the Reds' Oo Ah Cantona, after the still loved Eric is a strong possibility as is the chant of Ole, Ole Ole Ole for Roughburn's goalie Ole Hantz.

Making the soundtracks was in itself a major feat of engineering when a dozen young men from Ipswich recorded their homages to the Reds at Gemini Studios in the town.

Despite it not being a full capacity rent-a-crowd, the sounds from this handful of "supporters" were layered and made to sound like the full 70,000 by producers, Native Media of Henley.

John Mariani, director of Upstarts! and a fellow Ipswich-based Man U fan, postman Mick Chilcott came up with the idea for the new game.

David Blades, head of production at the Great Blakenham company and also a member of the Newton Road CC football club, gave them the names and faces of the opposition.

"There really is little to compare the teams in reality," said David. "There is even less to compare their home grounds, lifestyles and fees – but it is all good clean fun," he added.

Of course being a Premiership club does have its drawbacks – losing players through transfer, for example.

But the good news for Rovers/Newton Road is, they don't have that problem and although they take their game as seriously as their status merits, coping with transfer fees has never been a worry for manager Jerry Thorpe.

When Manchester lost Dutch defender, Jaap Stam suddenly it caused havoc for Upstarts!

He left the club for Italian side, Lazio in a £16 million transfer and this in turn gave Upstarts! a mighty headache.

"When we designed the game," said John, "we thought Jaap Stam was the most solid member of the team and the most unlikely to leave.

"Luckily his transfer came the day before we were due to start printing the cards so we were able to put a stop to the production process. If we had printed them and then had to replace them, it could have cost us about £100,000," he added.

Kick off for the Flip Football match, which has been fully licensed by MUFC, is expected in the shops by the October half term holidays and will retail at £12.99.


See how the teams compare.

ONE HALF: Manchester United, also known as the Reds. Each player is worth a mint a minute and between them they drive some pretty swish vehicles – most of them have a choice of which to use each day.

Among the wheels in the players' car park on training or match days are 4x4's, Jeeps and Mercedes.

Team: (with mug shot pics of players)

Goalkeeper: Fabien Barthez,

Age: 30

Signed for United on May 31, 2000 for £7.8 million a British record for a goalkeeper.

Right Wing Back: Gary Neville

Age: 26

Signed a new six-year contract in May this year.

Central defender: Ronny Johnsen


In 1996 United signed him from Turkish league club Besiktas for £1.5 million

Central defender: Wes Brown

Age: 21

Signed a new four-year deal with United in July this year

Drives a X5, 4x4.

Left wing back: Mikael Silvestre

Age: 24

The Frenchman joined the club in September 1999.

Right midfield: David Beckham

Age: 26

The golden boy made his United debut in 1992.

Drives: Several `posh' cars including a black Mercedes with the registration DVB (stands for David and Victoria (Posh Spice) Beckham.

Central midfield: Roy Keane

Age: 30

Signed for United in August 1993 after what was then a club record fee of £3.75 million.

Central midfield: Juan Sebastian Veron

Age: 26

Made his debut for the club in August this year

Left midfield: Ryan Giggs

Age: 27

Joined the Reds in March 1991.

Striker: Ruud Van Nistlerooy

Age: 25

Finally signed for Manchester United in April 2001, almost a year from the day his original transfer collapsed.

Striker: Andy Cole

Age: 29

On February 3, 2001, signed a new four-year contract.

Drives a black Porche with the registration CGLEY


At the moment of going to press, no member of Roughburn Rovers has been able to give up paid employment, secure a sponsor that would provide a car or indeed attract the attention of football scouts from the higher divisions. The team, however, wishes their opponents every success for the future and begrudges them nothing.

Roughburn Rovers (also known as Newton Road Conservative Club Football Club).

With mug shots of each player..

Goalkeeper: Oliver Jackson (known in game as Ole Hantz)

Age: 30

Day job: Regional sales manager for John Smith's Limited.

Drives a VW Passat

Right wing back: Peter Simpson (same as in game)

Age: Veteran

Day job: Paramedic/firefighter at Felixstowe Dock

Drives a Ford Mondeo

Central defender: Lee Batley (same as in game)

Age: 21.

Day job: Office worker

Drives a Ford Fiesta

Central defender: James Crosbie (same as in game)

Age: 18

Day job: Shipping clerk

Drives a Ford Fiesta

Left wing back: Ben Thorpe (same as in game)

Age: 16

Day job: student

Drives: Uses public transport

Right midfield: (player manager) Jerry Thorpe (known in game as Jerry Van Der Liser)

Age: Veteran

Day job: Contractor

Drives a white van

Central midfield: Greg Abbot (same as in game)

Age: 28

Day job: Port worker

Drives a Metro

Central midfield: Guiseppe Cantalanotta (why change for the game?)

Age: 23

Day job: Pizza shop manager

Drives a Metro

Left midfield: Matt Goldrick (same as in game)

Age: 19

Day job: Assistant in sports shop

Drives a non-motor vehicle

Striker: Peter Grant (known in game as Grant Petersson)

Age: 33

Day job: Postal worker

Drives a Yugo van

Striker: Vinny Catania (seemed appropriate for the game)

Age 22

Day job: Hairdresser

Drives a Fiat.


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