A tour-de-force of football movie magic – over the course of 89 minutes of screen time, there are many hilarious scenes that England fans can truly relate to. Mike Bassett is the manager of Norwich City and, having won a minor cup, is catapulted into the top job, because no-one else wants it!
Parts of the film were actually made at the old Wembley stadium just weeks after its closure and weeks before the demolition of the most famous football stadium in the world. Director Steve Barron (Coneheads (1993)) takes us into the world of Mike and his motley crew – assistant manager Lonnie Urquart and coach Dave Dodds, played by Phillip Jackson and Bradley Walsh respectively – as they take on the most coveted of management jobs. After a truly surreal qualification, England finally make their way to the Brazil World Cup finals.
Their group also includes Egypt, Mexico and the old adversary, Argentina. There, we see Mike continue in his hapless ways, and tempers reach boiling point with hilarious results including a changing room rage full of expletives it left me doubled over and with stomach cramps for two days, never has the rewind button so nearly been worn out. The film has shades of Graham Taylor’s reign as England boss, and we even have Martin Bashir following Mike from his inception as Manager, to the World Cup.
High point? It has to be striker Kevin Tonkinson’s attempt to recreate a jacuzzi, with disastrous results. There’s a little homage to a famous World Cup moment but I won’t spoil it for you, get the DVD and you will be quoting some of the best lines until you have no friends left! Here’s just one for you: ‘They did it in ’74 they did it in ’78, can they do it again? Yes, looks like the Scots are going out at the first round! Ethiopia 2 – 1 Scotland’.