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.
News19687 mins Location: Belfast
Flush on wages of £160 per week, George Best ponders money in the game, the pressures of fame and his footballing future.
Documentary197426 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.
Documentary196854 mins Location: Ashington
Terrific portrait of Bobby and Jackie Charlton, pillars of football history, at the height of their playing careers
Cinemagazine19608 mins Location: Linton
Bobby Charlton and his brothers Gordon and Jack meet their father Bert, a miner, as he clocks off from work.
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.
News19645 mins Location: Belfast
A fresh-faced football legend-in-the-waiting is interviewed for the first time and enjoys a kickabout on the local Cregagh estate.
News19683 minsSilent 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 minsSilent Location: Valley Parade, Bradford
Preston's famous 'Dick, Kerr's Ladies' team play local side, Lister's Ladies, at Bradford's Valley Parade ground.
Non-Fiction19212 minsSilent Location: Enfield
Difficult times for women's football, but it doesn't stop the battle of the light bulb makers in North London.
News19783 mins Location: Leicester
Leicester City players meet their new manager who has introduced a brutal new training regime.
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.
News19571 minsSilent Location: Atherstone
A football match with no teams or goals? Atherstone's traditional free-for-all has only one rule - killing is not allowed!
News19592 mins Location: Gloucester
Southern League football team Gloucester City call in famed hypnotist Henry Blythe to take them to a higher plane.
Sponsored film19644 mins Location: Belfast
Baker tries to best baker, as the two distinguished firms compete in a Gaelic football game in West Belfast.
Exiles v Nomads in the Smallest League in the WorldExiles v Nomads in the Smallest League in the World
Sport19805 mins Location: Isles of Scilly
Exiles v Nomads in the Smallest League in the World
Non-Fiction19292 minsSilent Location: Belfast
1928-29 Irish Cup Semi-Final action between Ballymena and Coleraine, from Belfast's Windsor Park.
Non-Fiction19025 minsSilent Location: Liverpool
The earliest surviving Merseyside derby on film catches two of Everton's goals in a 3-1 home win.
Amateur film19667 minsSilent 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.
Non-Fiction19022 minsSilent Location: Burnley
First-ever footage of Manchester United in a tense Edwardian football fixture.
Non-Fiction19291 minsSilent Location: Old Trafford Cricket Ground
Derby Day - Manchester City clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford for the bragging rights of the city.
Liverpool and England footballer Emlyn Hughes gets nostalgic when he takes a team of aspiring youngsters through their paces
Non-Fiction19251 minsSilent Location: Herne Hill
Music hall star George Robey kicks off the action at this international ladies' footie match at Herne Hill, South London.
Amateur film19352 minsSilent 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.
Sport19180 minsSilent Location: Southend-on-Sea
Women munitions workers from the Kynoch and Vickers Maxim factories take to the pitch in Southend during WWI.
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.
Association Football Season Begins: Woolwich Arsenal V. LiverpoolAssociation Football Season Begins: Woolwich Arsenal V. Liverpool
Sport19111 minsSilent 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.
Interest film19313 minsSilent
A load of balls - footballs and cricket balls, that is - are crafted by hand from leather and string.
Non-Fiction197623 minsSilent 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 minsSilent 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.
Supporters' Pitch Invasion and Violence Exeter v TorquaySupporters' Pitch Invasion and Violence Exeter v Torquay
Sport19772 minsSilent Location: Exeter
Supporters' Pitch Invasion and Violence Exeter v Torquay
Non-Fiction19252 minsSilent 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.
Non-Fiction19291 minsSilent Location: Wigan
The short-lived minnows Wigan Borough F.C. take on the mighty Sheffield Wednesday in the third round of the FA Cup.
Amateur film19685 minsSilent Location: Leicester
A daydream at the back of the class takes young Glynn Curtis all the way to Filbert Street.
News19628 mins Location: Cleobury Mortimer
Lionel Martin is just fifteen years old but with eight top football clubs wanting to sign him his future appears mapped out.
Non-Fiction191113 minsSilent Location: Workington
A fascinating compilation of local topical footage from Workington.
Amateur film19497 minsSilent 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.
Newsview Young World: Day in the Life of Sunderland AFC Manager George HardwickNewsview Young World: Day in the Life of Sunderland AFC Manager George Hardwick
News19645 mins Location: Sunderland
A day in the life of stylish “Gentleman George” Hardwick, the new manager of Sunderland Football Club.
Non-Fiction19151 minsSilent 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.
International Association Match. England v. Wales. Played at Wrexham, March 11th, 1912International Association Match. England v. Wales. Played at Wrexham, March 11th, 1912
Non-Fiction19125 minsSilent 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 minsSilent 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 minsSilent Location: Chelsea
Scottish international Andy Wilson plays his first home game at a chilly Stamford Bridge after joining Chelsea from Middlesbrough.
Non-Fiction19221 minsSilent Location: Tottenham
Heading, tumbling, skipping and tomfoolery at White Hart Lane as Tottenham’s first team prepare for the new season.
Non-Fiction19052 minsSilent 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 minsSilent 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 minsSilent 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 minsSilent 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 minsSilent 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.
Exeter City goalkeeper Ian Main studies at Exeter UniversityExeter City goalkeeper Ian Main studies at Exeter University
Sport19806 mins Location: Exeter
Exeter City goalkeeper Ian Main at Exeter University
Non-Fiction19301 minsSilent Location: Upton Park
Great evocative shots from a boggy Upton Park, where West Ham play Tottenham in front of the Prince Of Wales.
Amateur film193015 minsSilent 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.