FourFourTwo's 14 best football films... ever!
14. Purely Belter
Back before its name resembled an email address, Newcastle United's St. James' Park was the backdrop for a tale of two working-class Geordie lads trying to raise the cash for a season ticket to watch their favourite team.
Embarrassingly poor Alan Shearer cameo aside, this film is packed with the wit, humour and language that made the Viz such a hit, the two boys giving performances that make their characters impossible not to like. And while the protagonists are believable, there's nothing irrelevant about their mission either: every modern football fan can relate to the Geordies' yearning for a time 'when you didn't have to be loaded to watch football'.
13. Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait
Like a big-screen version of the Sky Sports PlayerCam, A 21st Century Portrait follows Zizou on and off the ball during a single match playing for Real Madrid against Villarreal.
To non-football fans, 90 minutes of a balding Frenchman mooding, brooding and trudging about sounds like a pretentious arthouse nightmare. To the scarf-wearers and rattle-wavers, it's glossy, mesmerising footie-porn that makes you think you're not far off being as good a player as the French great. Until he gets the ball, obviously.
12. Bostock's Cup
A little-known TV film from 1999 that featured the former members of lowly Bostock Stanley (Tim Healy, Nick Hancock, Ralf Little et al) reminiscing about their famous FA Cup victory 25 years previously.
Filled with the sort of humour for which the lower leagues and park football are renowned – a gay physio, the 45-degree sloping pitch and a player nicknamed 'Shoes' because he once turned up for training in a new pair of shoes – Bostock's Cup is a classic that should see Ant and Dec on the bench for a night.
There are, unfortunately, no plans to repeat the film, although the players did turn out for a charity match and apparently Nick Hancock bagged the winner...
11. Escape to Victory
Winner of the 'so bad it's good' category, this film did surprisingly well at the box office. Surprisingly because it's perhaps the most ludicrous idea for a football film ever.
Michael Caine watches on as Pele, Bobby Moore, Ossie Ardiles, several Ipswich players (don't ask) and Sylvester Stallone – yes, Sylvester Stallone – play British and American POWs obliged to play in a soccer match against the German national team in Nazi-occupied Paris. Need we say more? Well, we will.
Legend has it that Stallone wanted to score the winning goal of the flick. The problem was, he played a goalkeeper. Naturally the script was rewritten for the match to go to a penalty shootout so that Sly could step up and save the day.