Top 10: Bad football films

The list-lovin' Dan Ross files the flicks to kick (trust us, there's some true horrors)... 

Guys and Balls

Baker'™s son Eckie is kicked out of his football team after being seen drunkenly kissing a team-mate. Angrily he dares them to play against a gay team, and ends up with only four weeks to build this team and train them.

Stuffed with stereotypes including a trio of leather-clad bikers, a very feminine Turkish deli worker and an extremely masculine "friend of Dorothy," the film also contains every cliché ever used in a sports film. Or coming out film. Or underdog film.

Think a vengeful ex-wife turning up at the match but ending up cheering for her estranged gay husband. Think the gay team playing '˜dirty'™ the way Vinnie Jones got Gazza. Only with a gentler touch.

But I'™m not going to tell you if the underdog inevitably triumphs in a ridiculously symbolic football match and resolves his dispute with his homophobic dad. You'™ll have to watch it and see...

The Goal! trilogy

OK, the first one wasn'™t bad.

Anna Friel'™s Geordie accent was impressive and the football actors were more convincing than the actual Toon players they were recreating.

Kuno Becker

We screamed "NO!" just as loudly

But Kuno Becker'™s journey from zero to hero by way of Newcastle United got steadily worse as the instalments continued, slowly turning into nothing more than extended commercials.

The final embarrassing episode completely ignored the story the series worked so painfully to develop before being punted straight out onto DVD.

The Match

The outlook is bleak for Benny'™s Bar as they aim to win their first match in 100 attempts against pub rivals L'Bistro.

If Benny'™s lose the centenary game they also lose the pub and their livelihood.

It's not short on negative points, with a predictable plot, obvious gags, Neil Morrissey and a host of cringe-worthy Scottish accents in a Highlands-based flick featuring a handful of Scots.

But somehow it is one of the better films in this bad bunch. Yes, even with Morrissey.

Perhaps it'™s the turns of Richard E. Grant and Ian Holm, the cameos of Alan Shearer and Pierce Brosnan or the handicapped coach stepping up to take the deciding penalty, but there'™s a charm to this that just saves it from the Bargain Bin.


To climb the corporate ladder to success, Chester agrees to coach the company's all-girl soccer team with the help of a secret weapon: his fiancee's son.

A potentially chuckle-friendly premise, granted, but this Rodney Dangerfield vehicle is too low-rent to force any mirth.

Its tagline "A comedy with balls" telegraphs a bizarre ambition for a kids film -“ to make as many testicle jokes as possible in 90 minutes. But, moral compass broken, it ploughs on regardless, with sleazy gags that often riff on the cross-dressing theme and even give the occasional nod in the direction of paedophilia.

A disturbing film. And the '˜soccer' is as you'™d expect from a low budget, low quality, girls' high-school flick.

Mean Machine

Method actor Vinnie Jones throws himself into the almost unbelievable role of a hard-as-nails ex-pro sent to prison.

Hated at first, he gains friends in the big house by coaching an all-convict footie team against the prison guards' already-established side.

Vinnie Jones

Well you weren't expecting flowers and niceties were you?

With more Cockney gangster wannabees than a barbecue hosted by Guy Ritchie (oh, he co-produced?) this is a shoddy rehash of 1974 American movie The Longest Yard.

Mean Machine'™s saving grace is that it knows how bad it is, and instead concentrates on having a laugh with the football. Packed with insensible jostling and unsporting challenges, the film perfectly captures that derby day feeling, and it makes the simple, sketched characters work.

Danny Dyer's weak mockney gets pummeled, Jason Statham'™s insane goalkeeper '˜Monk'™ is the star of the show, while Vinnie just went about playing his old Wimbledon game...

She'™s The Man

Essentially an extended episode from a Nickelodeon high-school drama, She'™s The Man sees gurning TV moppet Amanda Bynes justify the the theory that Yanks and football shouldn'™t mix -“ the one that Clint Dempsey & Co have worked so tirelessly at eradicating.

Viola wants to play soccer against the boys, so she disguises herself as her twin brother Sebastian and turns up at his school, with a less-than-hilarious journey bringing about less-than-hilarious results.

With some shocking '˜soccer'™ scenes -“ and the obligatory changing-room difficulties - thrown into the mix, you'™ll soon be wanting Viola's team to face the Mean Machine.

Kicking and Screaming

Worryingly, Will Ferrell'™s tribute to the beautiful game is the highest-grossing football film to have been made, earning over $55 million.

It'™s a shocker, as Ferrell'™s nomination for '˜Worst Actor' at the Razzies would suggest.

Ferrell plays Phil, a man roped into coaching to bond with his son - and teach his ruthlessly competitive father, Buck (coach of the rival Warriors), a lesson.

The results business takes over, however, and just like the boss of a newly-promoted Prem club, Ferrell'™s "let's enjoy the game" mantra is quickly replaced with an exhortation to "win at all costs."

Even for footie fans this is a no-go. For us, bad jokes and a bad script can be forgiven if the match scenarios are engaging -“ either well shot (Goal) or just hilarious (Mean Machine).

But this has neither. Amusing as it is to watch a caffeine-pumped Ferrell '˜bench'™ 10-year-old losers, it doesn'™t make for a good footie flick.

When Saturday Comes

A perfectly bad Brit flick, this Sheffield-based footie film sees Sean Bean play a hard-drinking brewery worker who needs to reassess his priorities if he is to make it as a footballer and a person.

Sean Penn

Penn's film wasn't so sharp

Seeming nearly 10 years too old for the part, it quickly becomes obvious that Bean was only signed up for the accent, as he struggles to bring to life a hackneyed cliché of a character with a pointed script that never deviates from the train tracks.

At least the football sequence is well shot, despite the director having to repeatedly reshoot several scenes because the crowd -“ made up of specially invited Blades fans -“ kept booing Mel Sterland, who had played for the "other" Sheffield team.

Mike Bassett: England Manager

An oddity.

A film that you're just as likely to find in a 'Best Football Film' list (now there's an idea... - Ed.), Mike Bassett: England Manager divides people into two definite camps.

Love football? This will be a guilty pleasure. Hate football? You'™ll want to write to Ricky Tomlinson & Co to ask for your 90 minutes back.

Usually a footie film will have enough engaging characters or an interesting sub-plot that means fans and non-fans can enjoy it equally.

This mockumentary spoofing Graham Taylor'™s reign as boss of the national team has none of that.

It focuses entirely on in-jokes, send-ups and caricatures, and if you don'™t get them, you'™re spending the best part of two hours shaking your head at Bradley Walsh, groaning at the clichéd motivational speech and wondering why they bothered to make a comedy mock-up of the "Do I not like that" doc that was much less funny that the original.

Mad About Mambo

Unsurprisingly John Forte has not been near a feature film since his helming this titanic failure.

Football-mad Catholic lad Danny takes up dance to improve his performances on the pitch and aid both his chances of making it as a pro and winning the girl of his dreams. 

Of course, there are complications. The girl of his dreams is Protestant. Oh, and dating a player from a rival team. And from the footage itself, it would seem that Danny is cack at football.

Not strictly a football film, more a rom-com that flitters between badly-acted footie scenarios and badly researched dancing, and coupled with a predictable story and a worse script, this film is every bit as bad as it sounds.


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