Mike Bassett: Manager

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]

Mike Bassett: Manager
StarringRicky Tomlinson
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series1
No. of episodes6
Production
Running time30 min.
Release
Original networkITV
Original release29 September 
3 November 2005

The series picks up some time after Mike Bassett took England to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup. 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.

Prior to the series

The series is a sequel to the film Mike Bassett: England Manager, in which Bassett, having won the Mr Clutch Cup with second tier side Norwich City, takes over England following the previous manager's heart attack. Despite failing to win any of the final three qualifiers, England reach the World Cup finals, held in Brazil. After drawing with Egypt, a 4-0 defeat to Mexico, captain Gary Wackett being sent home for hooliganism and Bassett being pictured in a drunken incident, he is expected to resign, but instead inspires England to victory over Argentina. England reach the semi finals before being knocked out by eventual winners Brazil.

Episodes

Episode 1: Football's Coming Home

It is revealed that Bassett was axed by England after failing to qualify for the 2004 European Championships. He then took over Newcastle, where he was sacked after back to back relegations, before an unsuccessful return to Norwich. Then sacked by Colchester, 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 to turn the club's fortunes around, the only problem being that they have no fortune to spend. As a result, his wife Karine comes up with the idea for him 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 may be 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 (played by Dan Renton Skinner) 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 two 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 took a bribe in the FA Cup final of 1956 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 Pld Pts GD
22 York City 45 44 -26
23 Mansfield Town 45 41 -34
24 Wirral County 45 41 -36

After final match

Pos. Team Pld Pts GD
23 Wirral County 46 41 -38
24 Mansfield Town 46 41 -39

No reference is made to the result of the match involving York City, however with both Wirral County and Mansfield Town both losing they were safe.

References

  1. "Mike Bassett spin-off is just 30 minutes of TV hell - News". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  2. "ITV to make Mike Bassett series - TV News". Digital Spy. 6 October 2004. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
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