Season 8 Episode 25

Episode 349


Sky One Transmission Date:

Sunday 10th April 2005


Directed By

Riitta-Leena Lynn


GS: Eli Knox (Shane Lynch)  Mary Maloney (Amanda Royle)  Kevin Keatings (as himself)



After Harchester lose to Ipswich town, Eli storms into the dressing room and tells the team that a suitable replacement for manager is not on the way so until the end of the season one of them will have to do the job. Fletch, Curtis and Viv all see themselves as the main runners, and Viv puts his mind into action imagining how his contenders would handle the challenge. Beginning with Fletch, he sees him lapping up the glory and posing with a Harchester jersey inscribed with 'Gaffer 11' on the back. For the game, Don sits commentating with Kevin Keatings, and when he correctly predicts the formation Fletch will be using, Karl goes down to the away dressing room to change everything at the last minute.


Fletch loses the support of Curtis who throws off his captain’s armband, to be picked up and placed on by Viv without anyone seeming to notice. The team take to the pitch and Arsenal are the first to score. Viv snaps back to reality and takes Fletch out of the running to be manager, believing he couldn't pull it off and moves onto Curtis. Curtis rounds up the lads into the Players' Lounge to tell them of his appointment and brings along who he calls his first signing - a spiritual healer who will help them mentally on the pitch. When Fletch makes a joke about her techniques, Curtis tells him to leave. When Fletch arrives for training the next morning, Curtis realises the team are already against him in one thing - that he is being too harsh on Fletch. During training, Ryan feels a twinge in his leg but assures Curtis he is fine and tomorrow will wonder how they got by without him. On the night of the match Don voices his opinion that Curtis should not be playing Ryan in this game. Inside the away dressing room, Ryan comes clean to Curtis that he was feeling a twinge in the warm up but Curtis tells him it's too late as he needs him on the pitch and the team sheet has already gone. Harchester and Arsenal stay 0-0 at half time, and into the second half Ryan clashes with Sol Campbell and goes down screaming in pain. The camera flashes to his right leg with the bone sticking out through. Ryan is stretchered off the pitch, clearly in agony at having broken his leg again, and Curtis watches on in despair.


Viv flashes back and knows Curtis would be a disaster. He realises he has to do something and goes to see Eli at the club. There he tells Knox how it wouldn't work with Fletch or Curtis as manager and puts his case forward. The next morning the boys arrive for training to find a new regime waiting for them, including a code of conduct and dossiers on each and every team member. They are sent outside by Scott where the new manager is waiting, and are surprised to find Viv standing there. The team believe it’s a joke and fall about laughing but soon realise that this is for real and Viv is their new manager. At the Grange Jodie visits a broken Don in his room. He tells her his expulsion from the club was a vendetta and she tells him to fight them. Don tells her he is tired and they've probably already replaced him. On the training pitch Viv goes through with each player where they are supposed to be and the training session is a success. Jodie comes over and yells for Frank. The two go into the physio room and Jodie asks him what went on with her dad, reminding Frank that it couldn't have been worse than shagging rent-boys. Frank tells her that at least they went willingly, and informs Jodie all about the shocking truth of Barker and Nicole. Viv tells Curtis that as Ryan isn't fit enough he is going to play Fletch, meaning Curtis will have to go in left wing. Viv later goes to see Caskey, and tells Carl he understands if he needs more time for training. Viv adds that he's taking the lads for a run that evening and suggests joining them would help and that maybe talking to Nicole would too. When Caskey refuses, Viv says doing that will do things to his head as he knows from experience.


Jodie goes to a pub to meet with Nicole. There, she lets Nicole know that managing was her father's life and says he shouldn't be punished just because Nicole is a slag. Nicole says she'd be angry too if she found out her father was a desperate, dirty old man, but reminds Jodie that she is being punished too with Carl leaving her. Jodie goes back to Don, who is staying at her house. She tells him she has spoken to both Frank and Nicole and thinks what he has done is disgusting. She then says all she can think of now is her mom and what she would have done, to which Don acts angrily. Jodie gets upset and runs out on Don. Viv rounds the lads up outside the club's gates and tells them that whilst they've been shut up inside the club the rest of the town hasn't been able to see them, so they are going on a run as a sort of pre-victory parade. At the match at Highbury, Don refers to the current going-ons at Harchester and the appointment of Viv as manager as a circus. In the away dressing room the team huddle and Viv gets them prepared mentally for what is the biggest game in the club's history. The score remains 0-0 at half time and the team are still high on the belief that they can do this. They go out into the second half but are taken down with a goal from Henry. Harchester lose the game 1-0 to Arsenal but are still in with a shot with the second leg still to be played at the Lair. Eli comes into the away dressing room to congratulate the lads on a tough performance, but Viv is still fretting over the goal that wasn't supposed to happen. Eli assures him that he has his belief but Viv begins to worry the lads when he tells them the same mistake has already been made for the next game.




·          The Best: An episode that plays with time and reality is always nice for a change. The last real time we experienced this beyond 340: Gambler’s Ruin was 293: Groundhog Day. It is also great to see Viv become manager, with Philip Brodie continuing to shine (which never actually stopped throughout his time on the show). Jodie, despite always being her dad’s number one supporter, shows that there is a line in how far she is prepared to stand by him and his actions. Jodie and Nicole’s verbal catfight. The team’s run across the town centre.


Logic: The final outcome for the Arsenal game, with Viv in charge as manager, is remarkably similar to how he imagined Fletch’s game going (Arsenal scoring first with Henry). This suggests that Fletch would have been just as good as Viv had he got the job as boss.


·          Quotes: Jodie’s solution to Don’s removal at the hands of the lads is short and sweet: “Fight them”.


Foreshadowing: The beginning of Jodie’s loyalty to Don being tested [350: A Champions League Outing and 351: The Hand That Rocks The Cradle].


·          Continuity: Curtis telling Eli how he can turn the team into the band of brothers they were last year. We get another indirect reference to Jodie’s mother, and Don's wife, being deceased.


Additional Info: Viv's board reads that he is 29 years old (finally a number to put to his ever-doubtful age).


·          What Was The Score?: Harchester lose 3-0 to Ipswich town. They then lose at the first leg of the Champions League, 1-0 to Arsenal.


Soundtrack: Amon Tobin: "Easy Muffin",  Armand Van Helden: "Necessary Evil",  Bees: "Wash In The Rain",  Green Day: "Holiday",  Placebo: "Twenty Years",  Ramones: "Blitzkrieg Bop",  Rare Earth: "I Just Want To Celebrate",  Scissor Sisters: "The Skins",  The Black Keys: "Girl Is On My Mind",  The Chemical Brothers: "The Big Jump.”


Screencaps from 8.25’s original broadcast on Sky One on 10/04/05.

Fletch's dream... Jaws' nightmare

 Or worse... Curtis as Gaffer!



Jaws the boss?! No wait - it's true!

 Nicole's showdown with Jodie



Jodie is appalled by her dad's actions

 Getting close to the fans




It all goes wrong for Viv

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