by James Brown
March 1996

You know that daydream you still entertain about being spotted by a scout whilst playing for a Sunday league football team? Well, this is it. In all its trembling glory.

Sean Bean is the brewery worker, Sheffield, the city, Tony Currie the coach, and the Blades the team. There are nightclubs, strippers, hangovers, training sessions and the contrasting odours of ambition and failure. It's football's equivalent of Rocky, minus the rousing theme tune. If you've ever read Barry Hines' (Kes) football classic The Blinder, then When Saturday Comes will be familiar.

Where the film really works is contrasting the glamour - Emily Lloyd as an Irish factory worker, Man Utd playing Sheffield in the cup - with the betting shop. Somehow the director has managed to make a load of blokes booting a ball about in the mud look like a rustbelt classic. The football action is believable, and the scene where Bean goes to Bramall Lane for his trial is electric. Along with Heat, it's the loaded film of the year so far.

Sex: Yes, on legs, a brunette Emily Lloyd. An old bloke lusting after a tea lady. And a stripper. And for the babes and the benders, there's a big bath scene.

Death: No gun fights, but a mining disaster.

Senseless violence: Bean lands a brilliant headbutt on his own amateur captain.

Verbal abuse: Mel Sterland gives Bean a right rollicking.

Primal Scream lookalike: Yes, Bean's younger brother at school looks just like Bobby Gillespie.

Drinking: Alcoholism, pubs, brewery clubs, rounds, the lot.

Fat goalie: Yes, isn't even watching the game.

Verdict: 8/10


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