Even the best teams have off years. For the Bromley Football Club in 1969, they seem to be having an off-everything. Directed by Steve Kelly, The Bromley Boys is a “based on a true story” film about British author Dave Roberts (Brenock O’Connor), who is just one of Bromley FC’s few devoted fans. Win or lose—really only lose—Roberts’ love for his beloved Bromley Football Club gives this 14-year-old nerd, one of the most awkward coming-of-age stories committed to the written page and now the silver screen.
Dave is a loner in both school and life. At school, he’s the obsessed nerd, who knows way too much about the town’s loser football team. He’s alone at home also. His father (Alan Davies) wants nothing to do with football and has banned its existence within the home. With help from mom (Martine McCutcheon), Dave is able to sneak off to Bromley FC’s every game and practice.
“…a coming-of-age story for Roberts and not a sports biopic about the boy who would be manager.”
Dave does manage to find few friends in the team’s unofficial Bromley booster club. His new friends are four older and equally sad men, going on about everything fans talk about from club gossip, irrelevant facts, and the unrealistic dreams of the championships.
But this year Bromley FC is in trouble. Its chairman Charlie McQueen (Jamie Forman) has embezzled the team’s money to pay off gambling debts. It is rumored that McQueen plans to sell the teams only good player Alan Stonebridge (Ross Anderson) to Manchester or Leeds (whoever has the better offers). McQueen must be stopped.
The Bromley Boys is told in a style akin to A Christmas Story. The film is narrated by the adult-version of Roberts (Alan Davies) and narrates his story of a simple fan to the manager of Bromley FC by the end of the season.
“…fun to watch, but you may struggle to connect with its story…”
Let’s make no mistake. This is a coming-of-age story for Roberts and not a sports biopic about the boy who would be manager. Like A Christmas Story, our tale is a series of singular events in Roberts’ life. He’s bullied at school. He’s obsessed with the club. He falls for the chairman’s daughter—his first love. He impresses the club star. Dave and the booster club scheme to get the team’s current manager fired. He ruins everything and everyone around him. He learns a little bit about himself…and his distant father.
The best I can say about The Bromley Boys is that it’s a very British film. For instance, you do know what version of football I’ve been talking about all along…right? The humour (like that?) is very dry, and every character is either subtly quirky, but in a proper English manner.
It’s not a bad movie by any means, although you might not find it interesting. It’s fun to watch, but you may struggle to connect with its story and characters. I will say, unlike Little Big League, where a twelve-year-old manages the Minnesota Twins to victory, Robert’s story of managing Bromley as a teen seems much more plausible. The Bromley Boys is a light comedic drama, and you’ll have a good time if anything British is your cup of tea.