Footie fan? History? Lets blend the two together & voila – We have this 6 part series written by Downtown Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. Shining light onto the origins of football.
A blend of facts & fiction. The English Game brings to attention the deprivation faced by the overburdened, poorly paid workers of the cotton mills factory. One witnesses the sheer determination of these men whom after gruelling hours, 6 days a week in the factory, eagerly await their Saturday game!
It’s 1879, the FA cup quarter final. No working- class team up to date has ever reached this far. This sets tension between the “Old Etonian’s” who claim it to be “THEIR” game (hence their rules).
The Etonian’s star player is toughest tackler, gentleman Arthur Kinnaird (Yes I believe it was Arthur & his wife that Kinnaird college is named after. Bet you didn’t know that mon ami 😛 ).
He’s a top sportsman & hails from the “elite class” of society, scion of a wealthy aristocratic London family that owns a bank. His education is nothing less than Eton and Trinity college, Cambridge.
Football is dominated by the Upper class & when news comes that a Lancashire team Darwin has reached the QF the Old Etonian’s take it as a laugh (An unprecedented event which they know deep down to be a threat).
Owner of the mill, James Walsh has imported two great players from Partick, Scotland – fast as a bullet Fergus Suter & his partner on the field Jimmy Love.
The first match commences & Darwen’s resistance is commendable. Leading to extra time, which as predicted the Etonian’s refuse. One is all too aware this is schemed deliberately as team Darwen would be unable to play a rematch. The social disparity & bias is evidently depicted in this series. Not only are these men privileged, they too are FA board members (how convenient).
Whilst all this occurs there’s more to this drama than just football. Politics slithers its way into everything. Factories demand 10% cuts of wages of the workers which leads to strikes, riots and union meetings challenging the oppression, demanding their rights. Quite a pretty kettle of fish I say.
Fergus wrestles to make ends meet, taking up an offer to join Blackburn in order to save his family from their abusive drunkard father. The team infuriated by this exploitation give him a wide berth, calling Fergus a traitor.
Amidst all of this we witness a softer side to the hardened souls of the Posh tot elites. Delineated through Alma Kinnaird who persuades arthur more must be done for those who suffer. Alma convinces Arthur to do whats right. She’s the one to turn to when it comes to creating order.
Not all is hunky dory in a the life of elites. Arthur and his father’s strained relationship at times takes a toil on his decisions; there’s moments he’s in a pensive state wondering when to take a stand.
One discerns from the beginning the FA board members digging deep to expose team Darwen. Once revealed Suter’s team Blackburn also paid, they deem it their duty to exclude the team from the final…. How utterly convenient.
Blackburn’s manager John Cartwright assembles a line-up of players drawn from other teams, mounting a campaign to be “the first working class team to win the FA Cup”. If the Etonian’s want a fight, Blackburn shall not go down without dragging them too.
I’m not giving any more away. You have to see it for yourself. A little bit of everything thrown in together. So who wins the final? Did justice prevail or once more was it one’s privilege which prevented a fair game?
Check out “The English Game” on Netflix mes chers & tell me what you think!
Au revoir ❤