I don’t know if I should feel old or not but I remember clearly when The Football Factory was released and how buzzing I was for it, a young impressionable school boy who was already very familiar with the violent side of football having long been into terrace culture at my own club and having seen the notorious Zulu Warriors in action as a young lad. That said the film certainly created a bit of copycat culture with every little posh boy trying to firmly announce “See you you cunt, I’ll cut you first!”
The Football Factory was iconic in many ways, the soundtrack was absolutely spot on, I mean even if you don’t watch the film the soundtrack is worth a listen on its own right featuring the likes of Primal Scream, The Jam as well as The Streets and more it was the music that was shaping a generation as well as having shaped the generation before us. Right from the off there was a buzz, an excitement which saw the stills from police footage before we hear Danny Dyers cockney tones start to narrate.
The film came under a fair bit of criticism at the time of its release, especially given all the little kids that suddenly got mommy to pick them up a Stoney making them feel like they could be Tommy or Billy Bright, having never stepped foot out the suburbs themselves, but these critics missed the true nature of the film. For those involved this was one of the more accurate depictions of life on the terraces and for those looking in the film was able to immerse the viewers in something that they would never usually experience.
The story follows Tommy Johnson (Danny Dyer) who is a member of the Chelsea firm and centres predominately around the build up to a rare match against their fierce rivals Millwall in the cup. We meet the majority of the Chelsea firm, Billy Bright (Frank Harper), Harris (Anthony Denham), Rod (Neil Maskall), Zebadee (Ronald Manookian) as well as meeting the head of the Millwall firm Fred (Tamer Hassan).
We follow the antics of the lads in the Chelsea firm as they fuck, fight and thief but yet form a loyal band of brothers for the most part, that look out for each other and can have a good bit of craic down the pub. We see the childhood a few of them had as well as the lives they lead outside of being a football hooligan. We also meet Tommy’s grandfather Bill (Dudley Sutton) and his best friend Albert (John Junkin) who are intending to move to Australia for a better life.
This one made it into our British quarter of our 100 Films to See Before You Die last week and it really is a classic.