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Mike Bassett England Manager

To the modern game of English football, Mike Bassett ought to be an irrelevance, a lower league journeyman player turned lower league journeyman manager currently working fairly minor miracles at Norwich. So when Lancaster Gate's wise guys prevail upon Bassett to salvage the England team's fortunes - well, could you suspend disbelief? This mock doc sets up its hero as part Graham Taylor, part Private Eye's Ron Knee, but for your average young Michael Owen fan it must look like a vérité-style Walking with Dinosaurs. This isn't really a football movie. Sure, it follows Bassett and his squad through thick and thicker, scraping into the Brazil World Cup Finals despite themselves. This one's about English self-image, going out to that inferiority complex that cherishes gallant failure. The film rollicks in the spirit of bulldogs and turnips, Dunkirk and Arthur Daley, while whizzing through the rare England victory with barely a glimpse of actual play. Perhaps fittingly, the film itself embodies this notion of the second-rate. In the spirit of Kevin Keegan, the film-making is enthused, artless and all over the park.

Release details

Duration: 89 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Steve Barron
Screenwriter: Rob Spracking, JRN Smith
Cast: Ricky Tomlinson
Amanda Redman
Philip Jackson
Bradley Walsh
Phill Jupitus
Ulrich Thomsen
Pele
Terry Kiely
Dean Holness