Mike Bassett

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Mike Bassett
Personal information
Full name Michael Bassett
Place of birth Wirral, Merseyside, England, UK
Club information
Current team
Wirral County
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
?-1975 Doncaster Rovers
1975-1976 Crewe Alexandra (loan)
1976-1977 Crewe Alexandra
1977-1978 Plymouth Argyle
? Hull City
? Grimsby Town
? Darlington
Teams managed
? Colchester United (assistant)
? - 1998 Colchester United
1998-2001 Norwich City
2001–2003 England
Norwich City
Colchester United
2005-2006 Wirral County
2012 Iran women's national football team
2013-2014 England (assistant)
2014 England (caretaker)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Michael "Mike" Bassett is a fictional character played by Ricky Tomlinson. Bassett's first appearance was in the 2001 film Mike Bassett: England Manager. The film takes the form of a fly-on-the-wall fictional documentary (mockumentary) following Bassett as he starts his international management career. [1]

Bassett also appeared in a 2004 ITV British TV comedy series titled Mike Bassett: Manager.[2]

In 2014, it was announced that Bassett would return in a sequel to Mike Bassett: England Manager titled "Mike Bassett: Interim Manager".[3]

Playing career[edit]

As a footballer he played for 14 different clubs in 9 different positions including Goalkeeper.[4]

Managerial career[edit]

Colchester United[edit]

Bassett got his big break after being offered the Assistant Manager job at Colchester United before becoming the permanent Manager alongside Lonnie Urquart (Assistant Manager) and Dave Dodds (Coach).

Norwich City[edit]

Bassett spent three years at Norwich winning the 'MrClutch Cup', beating Leicester City 3-2, before being offered the England job for the 2002 World Cup in Brazil.


Following the unexpected heart attack of the England manager the search was on for his replacement before the 2002 World Cup in Brazil. After an initial search most people who seem qualified for the position have the good sense to turn it down, and so the responsibility fell to Bassett. Bassett set himself out as an old fashioned manager, he played a 4-4-2 and he wrote his team sheets on the back of a cigarette packet. England lost 2-1 to Poland, despite midfield star Kevin Tonkinson scoring the first goal for England. Months later, Bassett announces a squad of 28, including 3rd division York and Plymouth players Benson and Hedges, one of them being 46. Bassett later realising that that was the name of the company on his cigarette packet. England went on to lose to Belgium 3-0. Bassett went from a fan favourite to one of the most hated men in England. England drew their final qualifying game 0-0 with Slovenia, Rufus Smalls skying a late penalty over the bar. England think they are down and out, only for Luxembourg to beat Turkey 2-0, meaning that despite Bassett's ineptitude, England managed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup tournament on goal difference.

Bassett suddenly goes from villain to hero overnight, and the following year England head to Brazil with a new found optimism. The optimism around England's campaign soon evaporated after a 0-0 draw with Egypt, in which England failed to even so much as make a shot on goal. Needing a result against Mexico, Bassett opted to change to an unusual new formation which proves to be ineffective as England go on to lose 4-0. Bassett's last opportunity at saving his job was by beating Argentina - despite the fact that Argentina had drawn one and won one game and had a far better goal difference, England could still beat them into the knock-out stages, since World Cup group placings are decided on head-to-head results and not goal difference. Bassett faces the press before the game, and after facing hammering of questions, he begins to murmur to himself If— by Rudyard Kipling. The poem quiets the press room and England fans around the world, before he exclaims that England will be playing the much criticised "4-4-fucking-2".

Nearing full-time and with the score still 0-0, Bassett decided to give the dice a last throw and send on controversial midfielder Kevin Tonkinson. He immediately scores an even more controversial goal, he runs through the Argentinian defence, chipped the goalkeeper Bastardo, hit the bar and punched the ball in - likening to Diego Maradona's 2 famous goals vs England. This sends England through to the knockout stages, where they overcame Romania and France through goals from unlikely scorer Rufus Smalls, before exiting at the hands of hosts and eventual winners Brazil in the semi finals. After an eventful but successful World Cup campaign Bassett vowed to stay on as England manager for "Four more years!".

After an unsuccessful European qualifying campaign, which included a defeat to Lichtenstein, Bassett is axed by England.

Following on from Mike Bassett: England Manager, Bassett then appeared in Mike Bassett: Manager Series.

Mike Bassett's England squad: The players called up by Mike Bassett for England that were mentioned in the film, or who had their shirt name and numbers shown on camera.

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Berkitt ?(?) ? ? England
12 1GK Lawless ?(?) ? ? England
2 2DF Smith ?(?) ? ? England
5 2DF Gary Wackett ((Captain)) ?(32) 26 1 England Leicester City
6 2DF 'Parksey' ?(?) ? ? England
? 2DF 'Smudger' ?(?) ? ? England
? 2DF 'Macca' ?(?) ? ? England
4 Parker ?(?) ? ? England
8 Robinson ?(?) ? ? England
13 Gormley ?(?) ? ? England
18 Gridelet ?(?) ? ? England
23 Perkin ?(?) ? ? England
26 Ron Benson ?(46) 0 0 England Plymouth Argyle
28 Tony Hedges ?(?) 0 0 England York City
7 3MF Steve Harper ?(26) 26 9 England Manchester United
10 3MF Kevin Tonkinson ?(?) ? ? England Sunderland
11 3MF Alan Massey ?(21) 0 0 England Manchester United
15 3MF 'Deano' ?(?) ? ? England
18 3MF 'Danny' ?(?) ? ? England
9 4FW Rufus Smalls ?(31) 71 52 England Newcastle United
? 4FW Fairclough ?(?) ? ? England

Newcastle, Norwich & Colchester[edit]

Following the England sacking Bassett went to become the Newcastle manager. Only to lead them to straight relegations. He then went back to Norwich, and then to and Colchester in quick succession before getting the call to manage his boyhood club, Wirral County.

Wirral County[edit]

After a terrible start to the league campaign Wirral County and Bassett find themselves in an early relegation battle. Following the accidental loan signing of Ajax goalkeeper Ronnie Van Needlemans, former England midfielder Kevin Tonkinson comes to Bassett, to plead that he signs him. Bassett does sign him, after some persuading, and Tonkinson's arrival helps lift Wirral into a play off spot. However, Tonkinson is accidentally injured by Bassett himself, and Wirral drop down the league table once again. Wirral's last game of the season was against local rivals Chester City, who needed a win in order to secure a play-off spot. Chester beat Wirral by 2-0 but fortunately Mansfield lost 6-1, allowing Wirral to survive on goal difference. At the end of Mike Bassett: Manager Bassett leaves the club in Dave Dodds' hands and sets off to Spain with Karine.

In 2014, Bassett's return was announced with the sequel film to Mike Bassett: England Manager titled "Mike Bassett: Interim Manager". It is unlikely this project will go ahead following a failure to raise required funding.

Mike Bassett's Wirral County squad: Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Serbia GK Laslo Vig
2 England DF Gavin James (sponsor's son)
4 Critchley
6 Trout
8 England MF Wright
9 England FW Carlton Daws
No. Position Player
11 Fielding
12 Caldwell
18 George
25 Netherlands GK Ronnie van Needleman (on loan from Ajax)
26 England MF Kevin Tonkinson

Iranian Women’s Football Team[edit]

Ten years after steering England to the semi-final at the World Cup, Bassett’s returned to the international fold as Head Coach of the Iranian Women’s Football Team. "Unfortunately for Bassett, he unwittingly offends the locals and finds himself doing an Argo-style runner to Ayatollah Khomeini Airport, with a bottle of Chivas Regal in his hand and a fatwa on Harry Redknapp’s head".[5]

England Interim Manager[edit]

Jorgen Mannstein, England team manager and German wunderkind, offers Bassett the assistant manager’s Job, working as an intermediary between the entirely German back-room staff and the English players. Bassett then gets a lucky break when Mannstein jumps ship to manage the Germany national football team, plunging the England set-up into turmoil. Bassett finds himself anointed Interim Manager to take the team through the 2014 World Cup finals.

Managerial Honours[edit]

Norwich City
  • MrClutch Cup (1): 2001

Personal life[edit]

Bassett is married to Karine, and they have a son called Jason who was at the Norwich City U-14s. Jason then left Loughborough University for drama school. Bassett's father played professional football for Preston North End for nigh on 20 years, earning no more than £10 per week.


External links[edit]