Green Street (Hooligans) | 2005
Lexi Alexander’s melodramatic film about an American student in the UK finding his manhood through football hooliganism is about as convincing as its geography, but has a terrific cast and gained enough of a following to have generated two sequels.
There’s a little scene setting in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with the John W Weeks Bridge over the Charles River, and the campus of Harvard University, then it’s to London with Matt arriving at Paddington Station, in west London. And this is where it gets a bit odd.
He takes the tube to Bank underground station, alongside the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange in the City of London, EC3 (the historic business core). OK, he’s from Boston and he doesn’t know his way around the city, but why does his London-based sister, Shannon (Claire Forlani), think this is a good way to get to Chelsea from Paddington?
And why is Bank underground station open to the sky?
Matt stays with Shannon and her husband Steve (Marc Warren) – and ex-hooligan – in a very exclusive part of Chelsea. Steve has obviously turned his life around with this very desirable property at 101 Cadogan Gardens, SW3, only a couple of minutes north of Sloane Square.
Steve’s brother, Pete (Charlie Hunnam), is soon taking Matt for a pre-match drink at ‘The Abbey’, the local pub, where the London lads have initial reservations about this new boy (yet seem to have no problem with Pete ’s wibbly-wobbly accent).
‘The Abbey’, far from being near either Chelsea or West Ham’s football ground, is The Griffin, 57 Brook Road South, Brentford. Not only is this way over in far west London, this apparent gathering place for West Ham fans is alongside Griffin Park, the home of Brentford FC.
Never mind, it’s off to the match and the real Upton Park, home of West Ham United. It’s correctly the Boleyn Ground, though no one ever calls it by that name, on Green Street, in Upton Park, E13. West Ham has announced its intention to move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016, so the ground’s days may be numbered.
After the match, Matt is walking – presumably home – north along Rotherhithe New Road, in South Bermondsey, SE16, south of the Thames, when he’s set upon under the railway bridge west of South Bermondsey Station by fans from the opposing club. He’s chased along by the railway arches and threatened with a ‘Chelsea grin’. Fortunately, Pete and the rest of his mates are on hand, and it’s under the railway bridge on Bolina Road at Silwood Street that Matt joins the ruckus and gets his first adrenalin rush.
Unhappy with the way things are going, the disgruntled Bovver (Leo Gregory) heads off to Millwall, home of the firm’s deadly rivals. In reality, of course, he does no such thing. The HQ of the Millwall crew is the Kings Head Guest House, 11 Church Street, in Stratford, E15. It’s been seriously smartened up since filming.
With the big away game at Manchester United looming, Pete and Matt meet up with the other lads at the carpark behind King’s Cross Station, though once inside the station it becomes Paddington Station. Don’t follow their example, by the way. Trains to Manchester depart from Euston.
On the journey north, they get a warning that there’s a welcoming committee waiting for them. Quick thinking Bovver hits the emergency stop button and they pile off the train at ‘Macclesfield, Cheshire’, commandeering a van for the final stretch of the journey. The charming little countryside stop is not in the north of England at all, but is Westbury Station, about 85 miles west of London in Wiltshire.
‘Piccadilly’, Manchester’s main terminus, is represented by Fenchurch Street, the smallest of London’s mainline stations, serving East London and Essex, tucked away on Fenchurch Place, EC3. I don’t know how that went down when the film played in the North.
Matt gets a surprise visit from his rather distant dad (Henry Goodman), and they have a heart-to-heart at the New Moon pub, in Leadenhall Market, the extravagant Victorian covered market seen in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus, and which contains the entrance to ‘Diagon Alley’ in Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone.
A journalist, Matt’s dad takes him to meet a colleague at The Times, where he’s spotted entering the newspaper office and marked as an undercover reporter. The Times operates out of the News International HQ in Wapping, East London, but the entrance seen in the film is 40 Lime Street, opposite the Lloyd’s Building.
Having betrayed the firm, a guilt-ridden Bovver hits the voddy and chooses to get wasted on a bench at the Thames Path West waterfront, alongside Cannon Street railway bridge, against the picturesque backdrop of Tower Bridge.
The inevitable confrontation between the two gangs takes place, for no obvious reason other than its photogenic view of the O2 Arena (the one-time Millennium Dome), on waste ground on Orchard Place, E14.
Matt acquits himself well and, having grown a pair of man-size cojones, is now able to return to Boston and sort out those effete Harvard rich kids.