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Golden Vision, The (1968)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Liverpool. Supporters including Joe Horrigan and father and son John and Vince Coyne watch Everton draw 1-1 with Manchester City.

Joe listens to the football results; his wife feels neglected. The Coynes prepare for a night out. John exchanges insults with his daugher's boyfriend, Syd. John's wife Annie and Vince's pregnant wife Carol stay in. In the pub, John, Vince, Joe, Syd, Brian Croft, elderly Mr Hagan and others talk football. Joe considers Alex Young, the 'golden vision', Everton's best postwar centre forward. The men chant.

Everton players train. Trainer Wilf Dixon explains his programme. He considers football a good career. Alex Young describes his working-class background, from a mining town outside Edinburgh. He played part-time with Hearts while taking an engineer apprenticeship. Players, he says, feel insecure; his own performances are inconsistent. Coaching local children felt worthwhile.

Supporters discuss their jobs. Joe saves his energy for the weekend, Syd finds work monotonous and some workmates common, but lacks qualifications. Mr Hagan collects his pension. 12-year-old Johnny Coyne recites 1939's Everton line-up.

Manager Harry Catterick talks tactics. Children play football in the street, with real-match commentary.

Annie criticises the Coynes' football obsession: Vince had his honeymoon in Sheffield to attend an away match; the men hitchhiked to Milan but forgot their passports. Annie forbids Johnny from travelling to Arsenal, not wanting him waiting in the van while the men visit pubs. Johnny's bedtime prayers start with the Everton team; he belatedly adds his mother.

Everton players travel to the Arsenal match. Captain Brian Labone explains protecting a point away from home. Ray Wilson admires passing teams like West Ham. Labone feels that pressure and hard tackles spoil football, and intends to retire. Gordon West doesn't enjoy games.

Joe and others travel by van, which breaks down. Annie is angry that Vince has gone, with Carol's baby imminent. The Coyne women and Brian's wife Sylvia feel like weekend widows. Brian works all night; leaving, he learns that Carol is in hospital. Travelling by train, Brian arrives at Euston with singing Everton fans.

Arsenal play Everton, drawing 2-2. Everton's players discuss their nerves and wanting to please the fans.

Mr Hagan tells Johnny about Everton's 1906 Cup Final win at The Crystal Palace. The supporters visit a Soho strip club. Brian tells Vince that Carol is in hospital. Vince visits his baby and a grumpy Carol.

Everton director John Moores argues that shouting at football is good for people whose wives and bosses are on their backs. Joe tells John that Everton would always win if he picked the team. Catterick says he can't consider popularity when making decisions. Chairman Jack Sharp defends dismissing managers for poor results. John and Syd discuss the merits of signing Ernie Hunt.

Young explains how he has become hardened to criticism and has had to make sacrifices in his private life. Moores feels that football is broadening beyond a working-class constituency; educated youths now see it as a career. Catterick complains that destructive football denies the public the best of gifted ball players. Moores prefers hooliganism to race riots, and describes the club's business side.

A poorly Mr Hagan tells Johnny about working as a merchant seaman until 1919, going on a hunger march to London in 1922, getting a job in 1933 and family deaths in 1944: his good and bad fortune mirrored Everton's.

Visiting the Coynes, Father Macanally criticises John and Vince for missing Mass. The three kneel in prayer. Later, John and Vince joke about the Father's swift beer drinking.

Match day. Syd, best man at a wedding, criticises the bride's lateness. John disapproves of women at football. At the match, John gives Johnny a rolled-up newspaper when he needs the toilet. Syd rushes the wedding photographer, and ruins photos by moving away as they are taken.

The lads learn that Mr Hagan has died. His wish to have his ashes spread on the ground wasn't allowed, so the hearse drives round the ground during the game. The married couple's car takes Syd to the match. Father Macanally is among the spectators.

Joe fantasises about Dixon asking him to play centre forward during an injury crisis; he scores. He and the crowd celebrate.