In case you haven’t read Part 1, focusing on Playing For Keeps, it can be accessed here.
To be fair to When Saturday Comes, it may be a fucking turkey of a film (unlike the magazine of the same name, which is brilliant, but then we’re biased) but there are no jarring kit anachronisms like the Gerard Butler vehicle covered previously. There are, however, more than a few niggly football-related errors (more than a few which would come under the remit of our other blog).
Here, Jimmy Muir (Sean Bean) is a park footballer who works in a Sheffield brewery and at the weekend he helps to ensure that its products are consumed. His younger brother Russell worships him and has a massive programme collection, though their father is a right layabout, squandering what little money he has in the bookies.
Jimmy’s unnamed Sunday League team play in a yellow and black Mizuno template, and the two opponents we are shown have the same, in red and white and blue and white. Forgive the image quality, but in the top picture below you’ll see that the red and white team have their back four numbered acceptably, 2-4-5-3. Despite being a striker, Jimmy is like Gary Lineker in that he never wears 9.
He has 10 here, marked by 5, but his own team’s 9 appears to be playing right-back. That is entirely possible, we’ll accept. You’ll also notice that the goalkeeper, in purple, is wearing Umbro’s 1991-92 template (his lack of attention is about to lead to a soft concession).
Just as Jimmy begins to take notice of the new accountant at work, Annie (an Irish immigrant played by Emily Lloyd with a questionable accent – the decision to make her Irish was because he north-of-England accent was worse), he is noticed by Ken Jackson (Pete Postlethwaite), the manager of the real Sheffield non-league club Hallam FC. Handily, he is also Annie’s uncle.
Jimmy is signed up on a £12-a-week part-time contract and continues his goalscoring ways. Presumably, the team are in what was the real Hallam kit of the time, so the sideline gear is authentic too. There’s another purple Umbro goalkeeper shirt, worn by Hallam’s opponents, but this time it’s the 1992-93 vintage with pink pinstripes and a turquoise neck.
Ken is rather fond of his managerial gear, though – he wears it to Bramall Lane when he manages to get Jimmy a trial with Sheffield United, with real Blades legend Tony Currie running the rule over him for fictional manager George McCabe.
Then, Jimmy fucks things up by going to a friend’s birthday party the night before his final trial and gets drunk with minimal persuasion and sleeps with a stripper. Annie is pregnant by this stage and dumps him, a fight at work leads to his dismissal and Russell dies in a workplace accident – thankfully unaware that his father had sold his most valuable programme, of a 1904 Sheffield United game.
Jimmy resolves to improve and calls to Ken’s house, where he has at least jettisoned the jacket but still has his other gear on. In a sub-Rocky training montage, is back in full manager’s gear as he drives alongside the running Jimmy.
There is just under a half-hour of the film left when Jimmy is signed by Sheffield United and, seemingly, there is an injury crisis as he goes straight into the matchday squad for an FA Cup quarter-final tie at home to Arsenal.
The only recognisable name, apart from Jimmy’s, is that of former Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United defender Mel Sterland, who plays himself – the rest are all shouts out to people working for Sheffield United at the time.
We’re not shown much of the game – Jimmy doesn’t get on – and the Arsenal kit is the correct away kit for 1994-95. Is it picky that we take issue with the number font and the fact that they’re wearing 1-11 rather than squad numbers? Yes. Do we care? No.
However, as our friend Jay from DesignFootball pointed out, the referees in domestic cup competitions still wore black kits at this time, so Arsenal should actually be in the third kit they wore at Anfield in the 94-95 Coca Cola Cup. It’s such a situation which led to Manchester United wearing their third at Wimbledon in 1994, the Dons forced to switch from navy to red.
Sheffield United win that but then lost the next game at home to Leeds, which means it’s a league tie, which means it’s a universe different to the one where the Blades were relegated in 1993-94. Leeds too suffer from the wrong numbering and perhaps should be in their away kit but there was a lot of red in the 94-95 Sheffield United kit, as well as black shorts and socks.
When the goal above is scored, the stadium announcer is Martin Tyler. When Jimmy listens to the radio before the next game, the reporter is Martin Tyler. When a match is televised, the commentator is Martin Tyler.
Jimmy has managed to get Annie back and his father has apologised and replaced the sold programme, but he is feeling a bit disillusioned by the fact that he’s not starting for a professional side after just a handful of games. His chance is coming, though, in the FA Cup tie with Manchester United.
The FA Cup semi-final.
At Bramall fucking Lane.
We know that film producers are often limited by circumstance, but still. Here, they were able to piggy-back on the fact that Sheffield United met Manchester United in the 1995 third round (the third year in a row the clubs met in the competition) and action shots are from the real game. The giveaway is the fact that Man U’s numbers on the third kit which was very new at the time, changed from the correct yellow to black in the close-ups.
The metaphysical chicanery is even used for the goal to put the visitors 2-0 ahead, with the shot of the ball going into the net taken from Eric Cantona’s goal below, even though the penalty area is rather sparsely populated for a free kick, which it was supposed to be in the film.
By now, Jimmy has been given his chance, wearing number 16 despite the fact that only three subs were permitted in the competition.
He gets a goal to make it 1-2, and then they equalise. Sterland, who had needlessly told Jimmy minutes beforehand that he had no business on the field, lumps a ball forward from defence towards the penalty area:
Jimmy flicks it on:
And then, having broken a land-speed record, Sterland is there to turn the ball home:
Inevitably, Jimmy wins a last-minute penalty and scores it, and the film ends. We’re not told how they did in the cup final or if it took place at Wembley or Bramall Lane.