Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
Seán Crosson
2020 December
Football and Popular Culture
(Forthcoming) “I know it’s just football, but it’s important to us”: British Sports Cinema and the Football Film.
In Press
Optional Fields
football, film, Britain
This paper examines the place of the football film in British sports cinema. Though a less prominent feature of British cinema than American, the British sports film has had a long history with some of the most important figures in British film choosing sport as a subject of their work, including Alfred Hitchcock. Among the sports featured has been football which would appear, at least on one level, to offer an obvious parallel with the feature film; the average length of the feature film and a football match, at 90 minutes, is about the same. Indeed, directors have attempted from the earliest days of the cinema to capture football in fiction film, with varying degrees of success. As part of this paper’s investigation I will engage with a number of central issues, including a consideration of what we mean when we refer to ‘sports cinema’; how it has featured in films that have emerged from Britain; what have been the distinguishing features of these films, particularly in relation to the dominant Sports Cinema as it has developed in Hollywood, and what role has football played within them. In terms of this final aspect, I will be looking in particular at a number of films by British director Ken Loach, whose 1998 film My Name Is Joe provides the title for this paper: “I know it’s just football, but it’s important to us”. The apparent paradox contained within this remark by Joe Kavanagh raises a question that is central to my consideration of the football film: How can something that is ‘just football’ be so important? While recognizing the limits of the representation of sport in film, Loach identifies the important role football plays in British male culture, providing a crucial space for male association and community building.
Grant Details
Publication Themes
Humanities in Context