This 1962 documentary follows a week in the life of West Bromwich Albion football club, and viewed today it’s presents a startling antithesis to the glitz and gilded glamour of modern football. Alongside the footage of arcane training methods we witness ageing footballers receiving careers advice as they make plans for a new, modest life outside of football.
With footage ranging from various daily routines to intimate boardroom discussions, it presents a fairly comprehensive profile of 1960s club football. The film is co-narrated by influential future Arsenal coach Don Howe and a young Bobby Robson is one of the footballers filmed in the changing rooms.
The film was commissioned as the third and final part of Look at Britain, a series of films about working class life sponsored by the Ford Motor Company, and initiated by director Karel Reisz as part of his experiments with a new form of British documentary, Free Cinema.
Unlike the other two films in the series (Every Day Except Christmas and We Are the Lambeth Boys), The Saturday Men is a more conventionally filmed and constructed piece, and was not shown in the Free Cinema programmes at the National Film Theatre. As such, though directed by Free Cinema mainstay John Fletcher, it is not usually included in the canon of Free Cinema films.