Football on Film
Football and film: two giants of 20th century spectacle. Born just a few years apart, film and the professional game have grown up together, as this fascinating collection shows.
We kick off with some of the earliest games committed to celluloid - including a fledgling Man Utd - tackling the evolution of the game through the 20th century in newsreels, instructional films, adverts and feature films, and revealing filmmakers' struggle to capture the game's thrill and energy. The films explore not only professional football but the women’s game, miners' teams and schoolboy leagues, while giants on display include Geoff Hurst, Tom Finney, Brian Clough, Emlyn Hughes, Stanley Matthews, Denis Compton and the Charlton Brothers. Balls were heavier and shorts longer in the early days, while goalkeepers could expect little protection from marauding forwards from the ref (in his fetching tweed plus-fours). But it's striking, too, how little has changed. Fans then were every bit as passionate as today's. The wider issues are familiar too: big money signings caused concern, while women footballers challenged the male establishment. Times change and players - even teams - come and go, but the beautiful game is much the same as it ever was.
197426 mins Location: Leeds
Don Revie sits in bed talking to the Sunday papers, barks out instructions in a game at Liverpool, calls out the bingo numbers, and Terry Yorath collects his weekly pay packet.
News19684 mins Location: Derby
"The way we're playing I don't want to see an awful lot of them". Typically blunt words from Brian Clough as his team prepare for a visit by Leeds United.
Cinemagazine19619 mins Location: Tottenham
A snapshot of Saturday afternoon football watched by thousands of adoring fans, plus contrasting scenes of Southport and Spurs players in training.
Sport196327 mins Location: West Bromwich
A young Bobby Robson is one of the footballers profiled in this 1962 documentary following a week in the life of West Bromwich Albion FC.
News19683 mins Location: Trafford
Browse through the oh-so-fashionable goods on offer at the George Best boutique. Silken scarves, corded belts, trendy jackets and what’s this? A football icon turned tailor!
The great Stanley Matthews reveals the new range of football boots he helped design exclusively for Co-operative stores in this 1950s advertisement.
Sport19215 mins Location: Valley Parade, Bradford
Preston's famous 'Dick, Kerr's Ladies' team play local side, Lister's Ladies, at Bradford's Valley Parade ground.
Soccer silliness at West Ham courtesy of the 'Ancient Order of Froth Blowers' and pals - including music hall stars and the world's tallest woman.
Amateur film19667 mins Location: Ashbourne
World Cup year 1966 but this is a different kind of 'beautiful game' and in these conditions Geoff Hurst would've certainly struggled to get his famous hat-trick.
News19794 mins Location: Nottingham
Cloughie waves his magic wand and it's the greatest day thus far for the lads of Forest. Their first European Cup victory and the city grinds to a halt in scenes of jubilation.
News19803 mins Location: Wolverhampton
Wolves, 1980's League Cup winners, celebrate with an open topped bus parade that brings back memories of the glory days of the 1950s when the team was unstoppable.
After relegation from the Football League Division One the previous season, Bury FC turn up at Craven Cottage for their first ever meeting with Fulham.
Amateur film19352 mins Location: Surrey
The chaps of 6th Battalion, the Queen's Royal (West) Surrey Regiment, enjoy a game of football while a man cooks a rustic stew outdoors.
News197116 mins Location: Witton
Aston Villa, the must successful cup side in England, have fallen on hard times but the 1971 League Cup final might just be the game that takes them back to the big time.
Sport19753 mins Location: Norwich
Canaries defender Mel Machin attempts to dominate the pitch in this 1975 match for Norwich City at their home ground Carrow Road against West Bromwich Albion.
Sport19111 mins Location: Plumstead
Woolwich Arsenal at home to Liverpool in front of a crowd of 12,000 in the opening match of the 1911-12 season.
Non-Fiction197623 mins Location: Leeds
Back to the bad old days of skinners, as worn by these Man. United troublemakers, being escorted by police dogs along that perilous walk from Elland Road to Leeds railway station.
Non-Fiction197927 mins Location: Leeds
Everyone knows their place in this now familiar weekly football ritual of rowdy working class youth arriving at Leeds, separated from their counterparts by police and fences.
Non-Fiction19252 mins Location: Hammersmith and Fulham
Hats off to the huge crowds that turn out for the opening day of the football season at Arsenal and Chelsea.
Amateur film19497 mins Location: Canton
At Ninian Park, 23/11/1949, the Welsh football team is victorious but perhaps only because the Belgians, according to a report in the South Wales Echo, were “disappointing”.
News19775 mins Location: Leicester
What does it take to manage a football team? Two former players talk of the tough role at the top in a world where players are demanding Ј200 a week in wages.
News19645 mins Location: Sunderland
A day in the life of stylish “Gentleman George” Hardwick, the new manager of Sunderland Football Club.
Non-Fiction19151 mins Location: Shepherd's Bush
Professional footballers answer the call of duty and get in training; many would go on to fight in the Battle of the Somme.
Non-Fiction19125 mins Location: Wrexham/Wrecsam
Action shots of the great Billy Meredith, the ‘Prince of Wingers’, the legendary soccer star who played for Manchester City, Manchester United and Wales.
Amateur film194916 mins Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd
Ninian Park Stadium (1910-2009), home ground of Cardiff City Football Club and used by the national team, is shown here in its heyday. If you can identify the teams, please tell us.
News19716 mins Location: Leicester
On a muddy Belvoir Drive training ground Leicester City players demonstrate the drive and dedication required to reach the top.
Non-Fiction19231 mins Location: Chelsea
Scottish international Andy Wilson plays his first home game at a chilly Stamford Bridge after joining Chelsea from Middlesbrough.
Non-Fiction19221 mins Location: Tottenham
Heading, tumbling, skipping and tomfoolery at White Hart Lane as Tottenham’s first team prepare for the new season.
Non-Fiction19052 mins Location: Manchester
An Edwardian contest between teams representing the English and Irish Football Leagues, with plenty of goal-line action.
Documentary197526 mins Location: Stoke-upon-Trent
From 'Red and White' Rosemary to 'Zigger Zagger' and veteran Fred Trimble, who has been watching the Potters since 1913: Stoke City's fans are a devoted bunch.
Amateur film195814 mins Location: Hereford
At a packed Edgar Street ground non-league Hereford United take on Sheffield Wednesday in a foggy and chilly cup tie.
Instructional film/TV programme193510 mins
Listen to the wonderfully clipped tones of the commentator and the attempt at wit by his companion and you'd swear that Harry Enfield's 90s creation Mr Cholmondley-Warner really was alive and well in the 30s.
Instructional film/TV programme194810 mins
Tom Finney, Tommy Lawton, Spurs and the Chinese team all help explain to young football enthusiasts how to play the beautiful game.
Documentary19378 mins Location: Highbury
Arsenal footballers including Ted Drake, Eddie Hapgood and Cliff Bastin show off their skills in training for this council film to promote healthy living.
Non-Fiction19232 mins Location: Ewood Park, Blackburn
A whirlwind tour of the 1923-24 season opener: Manchester City's Maine Road debut, Blackburn v Chelsea and goals for Spurs against Preston North End.
Amateur film19392 mins Location: Derby
Derby County take on Leicester City at the Baseball ground in April 1939 - the last full season of football before the outbreak of war.
Amateur film193015 mins Location: Chichester
Baggy shorts abound in this footie film from the thirties - where the chaps from Shippams Ltd play various matches, in rain or shine, and win a championship trophy.
The beautiful game, Edwardian style, in some of the earliest ever film of League, international and amateur football
A piece of aged silverware represents the game at its simplest and, dare we say it, most romantic. Our collection brings you giants and giantkillers, long-forgotten clubs and euphoric crowds.