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The Snooty Ushers Ultimate 11: The Best Football Films

It is FA Cup Final Day!

Following an incident packed season, Dave and James, The Snooty Ushers resident football experts are settling down to watch the culmination of world football’s oldest cup competition.

Not only that, they have chosen to celebrate this great day by putting together their Ultimate Football Film 11.

Given the recent goings on at FIFA, we thought about boycotting the FIFA endorsed Goal! trilogy, but it turned out that the films were SO bad that they didn’t make it into either of our lists anyway ūüôā

Like the game itself, the team selection was not without controversy.  We have done our best to justify our choices








So, without further ado, here you have The Snooty Ushers Ultimate 11…


11.  Bend It Like Beckham (Dir, Gurinder Chadha, 2002) 

The story of a young girl from a strict back ground who loves football but is forbidden to play.  She joins a local womans team and so they are making their way to the top of the league.

James Says: Parminder Nagra is the star of this film, although it’s most well-known as the film that launched Keira Knightley onto an unsuspecting public. It’s a shame¬†Nagra hasn’t had much film work since, she really was great here. The story of an 18-year-old girl from a Punjabi Sheikh who is forbidden from playing football by her family, it’s an enjoyable film with something to say.



10.¬†There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble (Dir, John Hay, 2000)

Jimmy Grimble is a 15-year-old misfit, he is constantly being targeted by the school bully, he isn’t sure about his mum’s crazy new biker boyfriend and has a crush on a classmate, but cant seem to find the courage to form the words, let alone speak to her. ¬†Jimmy loves football and is a huge Manchester City fan, he also loves playing football, but has to make do with a place on the bench with the school team. ¬†That is until he is given a pair of old boots that once belonged to a Manchester City legend…

James Says: ¬†A film that IS feel good. ¬†Ray Winstone and Robert Carlyle bring the goods in supporting roles. I saw this a few times on Channel 5 when they used to show UEFA Cup football, and I’m not sure why it isn’t more well-known.

Dave Says: This is a delightful little film, as James says, I am surprised it isn’t better know. ¬†Jimmy’s story is wonderful about how he defeats his lack of confidence, but Robert Carlyle brings some really weight to his Coach, a man looking for redemption after blowing his own shot at the big time. ¬†If you havent seen it, please seek it out.



9. The Class of ’92 (Dir, Ben and Gabe Turner, 2013)

This is a documentary which focuses on the amazing Manchester United team of the 90s. Focusing on 6 players from the 1992 Youth Cup winning team, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville and Phil Neville.

This film tracks theses 6 players through to their incredible Champions League triumph in 1999, which rounded off a unique treble win in the season 1998/99. ¬†Securing full access to all 6 players and featuring contributions from Danny Boyle, Tony Blair and Stone Roses’s bassist Mani, this is a wonderful insight into this great group of players.

Dave Says: ¬†I am not a Manchester United fan, not by a long shot, but as a football fan it is hard not to have a huge sense of admiration for what this team achieved. ¬†Not only did they win an unprecedented treble in the most dramatic fashion, but they didn’t by bring through players from the youth team. ¬†I really enjoyed this, the players get on so well, which helps the film flow and the fact that the events as still fresh in my memory made this a nice piece of nostalgia. ¬†A must for all true football fans.



8. United (Dir, James Strong, 2011) 

Based on the true story of the aftermath of The Munich Air disaster, focusing on the efforts of United’s assistant managers attempts to rebuild the team following the tragedy.

James Says: This was a BBC film, but was released internationally in cinemas, so I’m including it on my list, which is why Jimmy McGovern’s¬†Hillsbrough¬†didn’t make the¬†top XI.¬†Based around the Busby Babes and the Munich air crash, David Tennant plays Jimmy Murphy, the Manchester United assistant manager who missed the trip to Belgrade¬†due to international commitments, and who helped rebuild the team while Matt Busby (Dougray Scott) recovers from his injuries. Jack O’Connell plays Bobby Charlton and Sam Claflin as Duncan Edwards, and are both great as young footballers with the world at their feet, and although I wanted to see more of Dougray Scott, Tennant is fantastic, bringing an understated performance about a forgotten member of one the most successful football teams of all time.



7. Marvellous (Dir, Peter Bowker, 2014) 

A heart warming story about Neil Baldwin, a man who¬†overcame learning disabilities to be Stoke City’s kitman, was a close personal friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury and Tony Benn, and just live a thoroughly marvellous life.

James Says:  Toby Jones plays Neil, who turns up a few times to comment on the story, as does Lou Macari. The best thing I saw on TV in 2014 (and was released internationally as a direct to DVD movie, so it counts!

Dave Says: Despite my friend and fellow ushers insistence, this remains untouched on my Sky planner.  This undoubtably would have been higher.



6. Mean Machine (Dir, Barry Skolnick, 2001) 

This is a remake of the American Football film The Longest Yard (Dir Robert Aldrich, 1974), and focuses on former England Captain Danny ‘Mean Machine’ Meehan, who has been banned from football due to betting offenses. ¬†During a drinking session which sees him assault 2 policemen, he finds himself in Longmarsh Prison.

The Prison Governor is a huge football fan and has his own semi-professional team made up of the prison guards, he blackmails Meehan into training the cons and putting a team together to take on the guards.

Dave Says: ¬†I love this film, in fact it came top of my own top 11. ¬†I think this is Vinnie Jones’ best performance and reunited a lot of the people involved in Guy Ritchie’s Lock Stock and Snatch. ¬†It is great fun on every level and the football scenes are well shot and the balance of comedy and tragedy is well handled. ¬†Jason Statham turns in a great performance as The Monk, despite the awful Scottish accent, and David Hemmings eyebrows alone are worth a viewing and please, don’t be put off by Danny Dyer’s presence, he has a minimal role and he gets plenty of abuse.



5. When Saturday Comes (Dir, Maria Giese, 1996)

A factory worker is scouted by a local non-league team before realising his dream and playing for his boyhood heroes Sheffield United, all set against the back drop of industrial Sheffield.  Bleak and Brilliant

James Says:¬†Yes, I know I have ranked this too highly! It’s my list and so this goes in here. Sean Bean is a brewery worker who¬†gets spotted playing for his pub team by scout Pete Postelswaithe. That’s enough for me to watch anything! Sure it’s a film you’ve seen a million times before, but I love it!

Dave Says: This finished 6th on both mine and James list, but due to the positioning of others this has finished in the top 5.  It is bleak but it plays to every boys dream of getting the chance to play for your heroes.  Sean Bean is great in the lead and the wonderful Pete Pothelswaithe adds some real class.  I agree with James.  I love this.



4. Shaolin Soccer (Dir, Stephen Chow, 2001) 

A former Shaolin monk reunited his 5 brothers following their masters death to apply their superhuman martial arts skills to play football and in turn bring Shaolin Kung Fu to the world

James Says: This and Kung Fu Hustle (2004) could be my favourite martial art films, and this is genuinely funny. A group of monks reunite to play football and bring their way of life to society. Part of a series of films (including Hero) Miramax bought and released after the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon at the turn of the century. A quality film, so enjoyable.

Dave Says:  Absolutely bonkers and great fun.  Takes martial arts and football and blends them together.  Stephen Chow is a talented film maker and no mistake.



3.¬† Gregory’s Girl (Dir, Bill Forsyth, 1981)¬†

Gregory is an awkward teenager playing in his school football team. ¬†They are not doing very well, so the coach holds trials for new players and everyone is surprised when Dorothy turns up and wows everyone. ¬†She immediately takes Gregory’s place up from with him being moved to Goalkeeper.

Gregory is besotted with her and does his best to get her attention, with hilarious results

James Says: An absolute classic, John Gordon Sinclair plays Gregory (nailing the awkward teenager role) who just wants a date. He gets replaced in the school football team by a Dorothy (Dee Hepburn) who becomes the object of his affections. A genuinely funny and warm film about unrequited love.

Dave Says: A totally beauty of a film. ¬†Any boy who has suffered unrequited love with find something to recognise in Gregory. ¬†Heart warming, funny and wonderful. ¬†Still as funny today as it was in 1981. ¬† The best character in the whole piece is Gregory’s worldly wise 10-year-old sister Madeline. ¬†Please check this out, ignore the hair cuts and enjoy this lovely little film…Arriveaderci Gordon!



2. The Damned United (Dir, Tom Hooper, 2009)

Based on the brilliant novel by David Peace, this is a largely fiction account of Brian Clough’s ill fated managerial appointment at Leeds United in 1974.

James Says: The film¬†of the Brain Clough’s short reign as Leeds United manager is full of Clough’s one liners (“I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the country. But I’m in the top one.”) and has Michael Sheen on top form. Tim Spall is fantastic as Clough’s long time assistant Peter Taylor. This is the story of Clough being desperate to prove himself as better than the previous manager, Don Revie (Colm Meaney, star of Aaln Partridge: Alpha Papa, check out¬†Investigating the iPlayer!) and how his drive leads to obsession and self-doubt. Even Brian Clough had self-doubt!

Dave Says: ¬†This is a brilliant adaptation of an even better book. ¬†Brian Clough remains one of the biggest managers ever to have graced our game, and here he is captured wonderfully by Michael Sheen. This doesnt shy away from shining a light on the more unpleasant areas of Clough’s life. ¬†There are some great support from Timothy Spall, Jim Broadbent and Stephen Graham.



1. Escape to Victory (Dir, John Huston, 1981)










This is the story of a group of allied POWs who are held in a German POW camp during WWII.  They are forced to worked together as they are made to play a group of German guards, all the while forming a daring escape plan.


James Says:  There could be no other choice. A group of POWs are told to play a game against the German team. Sylvester Stallone plays the American soldier desperate to escape, who persuades Michael Caine to turn the match into an escape plan. A bit of The Great Escape, mixed in with a little Rocky. A glorious film with a great ending. Oh, and the fact that Pele, Bobby Moore, Ossie Ardiles, John Wark, and a series of international footballers are in it as well make it my favourite football movie.

Dave Says:  I literally have nothing else to add to what James has said.  The perfect football movie and while not my personal no 1, I think it is a worthy winner.



Mike Bassett: England Manger (Dir, Steve Barron, 2001)

James Says:¬†Ricky Tomlinson plays an inept English manager who gets the national team job simply due to his nationality, can he lead the team to glory in the World Cup? There’s a Gazza-clone, a Stuart Pearce/Vinny Jones type, and some good football based jokes, but…there’s a reason this is number 11. There’s a sequel in the works. Joy.

A Shot at Glory (Dir, Michael Corrente, 2000)

Dave Says: ¬†The story of a fictional small Scottish Football team and their heroic run to the Scottish Cup final. ¬†It’s mostly terrible, but features the dubious acting debut of Rangers, Scotland and Question of Sport legend Ally McCoist.

Purely Belter (Dir, Mark Hermon, 2000)

James Says:¬†Based in Newcastle, this is about a pair of teenager Toon fans who look for a way to get season tickets. I went to see this due to Alan Shearer being on the poster, which¬†was one hell of a¬†misleading piece of advertising. The director also made¬†Brassed Off¬†and¬†Little Voice,¬†but this really isn’t in the same league as those two. There was a better movie to be made of the idea as they turn to crime, but it¬†wants to still be a feel good comedy and comes off as a disappointment.

Fever Pitch (Dir, David Evans, 1997)

Dave Says: Based on the book by Nick Hornby, with the main character being loosely based on himself, this tells the story of an Arsenal fan and how the teams amazing title win of the 88/89 season affected his relationship.  Nowhere near as clever or charming as it thinks it is.  Still, it is a decent watch


So there we have it folks, we hope here at Snooty Usher Towers, that this has provided a welcome distraction. ¬†As always, we would love to hear from you. ¬†Have we missed anything? ¬†Let us know through our various social media outlets. ¬†Please see below for Dave and James’ individual 11s.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the football x


James’ 11 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Dave’s 11

1. Escape To Victory                                                   1. Mean Machine

2. Marvellous ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 2. Gregory’s Girl

3. Shaolin Soccer                                                         3. The Damned United

4. United                                                                        4. Escape To Victory

5. The Damned United ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†5. The Class of ’92

6. When Saturday Comes                                            6. When Saturday Comes

7. Gregory’s Girl ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 7. Shaolin Soccer

8. Bend it Like Beckham ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†8. There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble

9. There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† 9. Fever Pitch

10. Purely Belter                                                            10. A Shot At Glory

11. Mike Bassett: England Manager                          11. Mike Bassett: England Manager

About Snooty Usher Dave

Favourite Film : Ghostbusters (1984) Worst Film: Left Behind (2014) Guilty Pleasure: Pitch Perfect (2012) 40 year old family man from Hamilton, Scotland. I have settled in Gateshead with my wife and 2 beautiful daughters. Worked as a Cinema Manager (or glorified usher) for 14 years, now I run a chicken shop. Love Sport especially Football and Tennis. Love comic books, especially DC and particularly Superman. I own 58 Nicolas Cage films.


4 thoughts on “The Snooty Ushers Ultimate 11: The Best Football Films

  1. Where is Goal? A film showing Newcastle with a winning team what more could you want?


    Posted by Ross | August 8, 2015, 20:05
  2. Can’t believe you didn’t but Goal , Goal 2: Living the Dream or Goal 3 on there. Just shocking!


    Posted by Ross Jobson | May 21, 2016, 10:17


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