Mike Bassett: Manager

Mike Bassett: Manager
Mike Bassett: Manager
Starring Ricky Tomlinson
Country of origin  United Kingdom
No. of episodes 7
Running time 30 min.
Original channel ITV (ITV1/STV/UTV)
Original airing 29 September 2005

Mike Bassett: Manager is a British TV comedy series, which began transmitting from 29 September 2005 on ITV.[1] It is a follow-up to the film Mike Bassett: England Manager, and stars Ricky Tomlinson in the title role Steve Edge as his assistant, and Amanda Redman as his long-suffering wife, Karine. Neil Maskell, known from the Football Factory film, appears as a clubzine reporter.[2]

The series picks up some time after Mike took England to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup (the exact date is unspecified, though in the second episode Mike implies that he lost the England job four years ago, which would seem to set the series during the 2007-08 season). The side's attempt at qualifying for the 2004 European Championships ended in disaster, (including a defeat by lowly Liechtenstein) resulting in Mike being sacked. Since then, a spell at Newcastle ended in similar fashion after getting them relegated two seasons in a row, while his returns to former clubs Norwich and then Colchester fared little better. Mike decides to retire, but at the last minute is offered the manager's job at Wirral County F.C., for whom his father was a player. They seem doomed to be relegated to the Football Conference. Not helping his job is the fact that the chairman is senile, the chief executive is eagerly awaiting relegation so that he can sell their ground and Karine isn't pleased with the idea of retiring in Ellesmere Port rather than Spain.



Episode 1: Football's Coming Home

Axed from England, Newcastle, Norwich and Colchester in quick succession - Mike Bassett heeds the call to manage his boyhood club, Wirral County. After persuading his wife Karine to forego a sun-kissed retirement on the Costa Del Sol, Bassett gears up for a final shot at glory in Ellesmere Port. Things don't get off to a good start however, as the team concedes a goal in less than ten seconds to Torquay United, causing the chairman to have a heart attack.

Episode 2: Going Dutch

After a terrible start to the league campaign it's up to Mike Bassett to try and turn the club's fortunes around, the only problem being that they have no fortune to spend. As a result Mike comes up with the idea (actually Karine does) to do a 'Sam Allardyce' and make a loan signing. But with no money he must use that of his own without Karine knowing and so signs up-and-coming Dutch striker Ronnie Van Needlemans after watching him score several goals on a video sent by his agent. As it turns out Ronnie isn't the striker from the video but is in fact the goalkeeper. Mike doesn't even get a reserve goalkeeper to use, as an argument with the side's regular keeper, Lazlo Vig played by Adam Tedder, results in him receiving a concussion that rules him out for the rest of the season.

Episode 3: Flat Pack Four

With Wirral County firmly rooted to the bottom of the table Mike must find a way to get the goals back from his goal shy striker. This calls for Dr. Moss, a hypnotist who can hopefully get the goals out of him. In the next game he scores a hat-trick... in his own net. Mike Bassett also realises the fact that the club maybe taken over by a cheap Ikea knock off. This calls for Moss again to hypnotise the buyer into making a mockery of Wirral, telling the press people in attendance to see his "Norwegian arse" and therefore get himself chased out of town. Also Mike fights with Scunthorpe United's Scunny Bunny on the touchline.

Episode 4: Return Of The Paralytic Son

With Wirral County looking doomed the fans turn on Bassett wanting results or his head. Not only that but former England wonder kid Kevin 'Tonka' Tonkinson turns up on his door step. With the help of Bassett and a cold shower a drunken Tonka leads Wirral to a 2-1 victory over Wycombe Wanderers despite the death of his wife in a car-llama incident hours prior.

Episode 5: Seven Brothers For Seven Brothers

Following a glorious winning streak reformed alcoholic Tonka has lifted Wirral County out of the relegation zone. Along with his on the pitch brilliance he also causes the relegation rivals Mansfield Town's bus to crash and injure most of their squad. Bassett then finds out Tonka is going on a stag night and to keep his star man off the drink Bassett drinks all his spiked drinks on his behalf ending up drunk himself and in the process injures Tonka when he punches him to the ground putting him out for the rest of the season. Having by this time missed his son Jason's drama school showcase, Mike returns home to find Karine has left him.

Episode 6: Abide With Me

With Karine gone for 2 months Mike's world has fallen apart and with one game to go Wirral look set to go down after a dismal run after Tonka's injury. Mike then finds out that his father threw away the FA Cup final in 1954 for money to help fix Mike's legs as a boy and allow him to play football. With this to spur him on he gets back with Karine and heads to the Wirral County ground. After a passionate speech to players, fans and reporters it's up to Wirral to get a better result than Mansfield Town (barring a ridiculously improbable defeat for York City) or face relegation and even with Tonka playing despite his injuries they stay up. Wirral's last game is an intimidating match versus local rivals Chester City, who need a win in order to secure a play-off spot. In the end, Chester beat Wirral by 2-0 but fortunately Mansfield got beaten 6-1, allowing Wirral to survive on goal difference. After this Mike leaves the club in Doddsy's hands and sets off to Spain with Karine, though a deliberately ambiguous ending suggests that he might stay yet...

Bottom of the final table

Before final match

Pos. Team Pts GD
22. York City 40 -26
23. Mansfield Town 40 -34
24. Wirral County 40 -36

After final match

Pos. Team Pts GD
22. York City 41 -26
23. Wirral County 40 -38
24. Mansfield Town 40 -39

Real life comparisons and differences

Mike's team appears to largely be based on Tranmere Rovers, the only Football League club on the Wirral. They are not mentioned in the sitcom which further suggests they are to all intents and purposes Wirral County.

However, Tranmere are based in Birkenhead rather than Ellesmere Port, where non-leaguers Vauxhall Motors play in real-life. The club colours worn and division Wirral County were playing in during 2005-06 (the season the series was broadcast) also differ from Tranmere, suggesting the comparisons may only be loose.

The match footage for the show was filmed at the homes of Brentford (home games) and Wycombe Wanderers (away matches).

The club selling their ground is taken from the real life example of Wrexham where an old chairman is forced to sell up which meant that a property developer came in a tried to evict Wrexham from their ground, however the fans rallied and beat the property developers and kept playing at their famous Racecourse Ground.

In a similar situation to Mike Bassett: England Manager "predicting" Brazil's World Cup win in 2002, Mike Bassett: Manager featured Mansfield Town being relegated from the Football League at the end of the 2007-08 season, which then went on to happen three years later in the actual 2007-08 season (though Mansfield actually finished second-bottom, instead of bottom as shown in the series). The series also predicted Newcastle United being relegated from the English Premier League, which happened at the end of the 2008-2009 season.


External links

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