Mike Bassett: England Manager (2001)

‘Mike Bassett: England Manager’ (2001) a $$$ success



Intelligent and brilliantly stupid, Steve Barron’s mockumentary, Mike Bassett: England Manager, is one of the most successful soccer movies, scoring over $23M at the box office***. Second division manager Bassett tries to lead England through 3 qualifiers for Brazil and World Cup 17 (analogous to WC 2002). In a comic tone similar to This is Spinal Tap and Monty Python, Bassett’s management and team are beset with problems that are ridiculously scripted and yet realistically portrayed.

Mythic status

Ten years after the films release it has gone on to achieve a kind of mythic status – particularly amongst football fans.

– journalist Rob Sprackling

I think fans love this film because, even though Mike Bassett (Ricky Tomlinson) is a coaching turnip by English media standards, he really is Everyman — or if you prefer — EveryFan.

He’s an average bloke, and he’s loyal — picking a used car salesman as his assistant manager. His use of a human performance lab injures every player on the team. He has to run a training session without any soccer balls. Bassett fails repeatedly but, in the face of nationwide hostility, has the courage to recite Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”.

The movie went on to a successful TV series, and Barron and Sprackling are now working with Fulwell 73 on a sequel. It will be extremely difficult for anyone to match the creativity and humor of the film, but we can certainly hope!

Note that Steve Barron has a long history of success including the Michael Jackson Billie Jean music video, as well as  films I’ve really enjoyed: Coneheads, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Electric Dreams.

9 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 9


*** $23M is my rough calculation; numbers are not available on boxofficemojo.