Paul Ashworth is obsessed with Arsenal Football Club and he never sees anything changing that, but when he starts a relationship with fellow teacher Sarah Hughes, his loyalty to both will be pushed to the limit.
I think this is the ultimate football fan film, it shows what exactly it means to be a fan. How you feel when your team wins, and how you feel when your team loses as well. All of the emotions which are felt, you just know they are true and exactly how you feel all the time when your in love with your team. The mix of love and hate towards the team and the players which you feel all at once all of the time.
This film is set mainly in the 1988/1989 season (with flashback’s to how he became a fan). Paul is totally obsessed with Arsenal, he is a teacher and also coaches the football team. I have to admit I find the times when he is coaching them the offside trap is hilarious as the Arsenal were well known for the offside trap with all 4 of the defenders putting their hands in the air.
I have watched this film many times now and each time I know exactly how Paul feels having the passion, obsession and love of supporting a team. But hating them at times as well, as they dont just make you happy, they make you mad, upset and just on edge at times too. Its a really hard thing to understand if you have not or do not experience it yourself. Dont get me wrong not everyone will feel that way when they support a club, but I reckon that means they are not a fan as such . . . fan being short for fanatic. My obsession is Newcastle United, and has been for well over 10 years now. It will never really go away, no matter how much it is pushed.
One thing that does annoy me in this film is the woman in it, she really does not get it and doesn’t really want to understand it. This really does irritate quite a lot every time I watch it, even though towards the end she really does want to know the score and how they are getting on in the title decider againt Liverpool at Anfield. In what to this day 20 years later is still one of the biggest upsets. Arsenal being able to beat Liverpool 2-0 on the day they needed 2 clear goals to win the title, against a very strong Liverpool team.
I love the celebration in slow motion between Paul and Steve (Mark Strong), it really does capture how you feel when an important goal is scored. I have experienced a couple of those, most important to me has to be Shearer breaking Jackie Milburn’s all time goal record for the club. What a fantastic moment.
Anyway, I adore this film because I can relate to how Paul feels and now all too well what it is like to love a football club and support them through thick and thin. It really is the best feeling in the world when they score and win games, but it is also so stressful when they do not do well. Or get relegated (which I experienced not too long ago, I never thought that would happen 10 years ago). Just shows how much can change so quickly in football.
Love it, Love it . . . the greatest game in the world. Easily the best football film you will find as well, which I guess are very few and far between.