The First Team centres around American young man Mattie Sullivan (Jake Short), who’s signed to a British club by Mark Crane (Will Arnett, The LEGO Batman Movie) on the understanding he’s a major US player of our football – or soccer as they call it in the US – when that truth has been stretched rather too much.
He gets on with some members of the team, such as Jack (Jack McMullen) and Benji (Shaquille Ali-Yebuah), but not so with others, such as Petey (Theo Barklem-Biggs), who he first meets in the locker room when he’s all angry and nude.
So, if Mattie is a terrible footballer, why was he chosen? That’s the question he’ll be putting to boss Cesare (Paolo Sassanelli) in the first episode’s closing minutes.
I did laugh when Jack said he usually does his poo in the toilets at work – and sometimes in the disabled toilet for a “treat”, since they’re so much more roomy… I find, anyway. Plus, he’s moved into a plush new flat… two years ago, and still hasn’t put his stamp on it… nor bought any crockery. Reminds me of when I had some work done on my house, and I still haven’t done much to it, even many years later.
There’s also an early scene when Mattie has a physical check-up to see if he’s fit enough to play for the team, yet from a perverted doctor who keeps wanting to cup his balls while asking him to cough… and doesn’t want to let go. This reminds me of the weird guy who once came to our school and did much the same thing. What on earth is there to be gained from that?!
Howvever, on the downside, while this first episode was passable – and far from amazing, it all just felt rather flat. That’s not because I don’t watch football in general, but because it’s just not really doing it for me.
Plus, while I was partially sold this on Will Arnett, he’s barely in it!
I’ve also seen the second episode, and while I won’t spill any beans about the content, whatever you think of episode 1 will be the same as episode 2. Time to put The First Team in the sin bin…
The First Team isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but you can watch it on the BBC iPlayer.
Episodes 1 and 2 Score: 4/10
Directors: Damon Beesley, Iain Morris
Producer: Sam Pinnell
Writers: Damon Beesley, Iain Morris
Mark Crane: Will Arnett
Mattie Sullivan: Jake Short
Benji Achebe: Shaquille Ali-Yebuah
Jack Turner: Jack McMullen
Chris Booth: Chris Geere
Petey Brooks: Theo Barklem-Biggs
Olivia Talbot: Tamla Kari
Cesare: Paolo Sassanelli
Bootz: Marvin Brown
Sports Reporter: Greg McKenzie
Doctor: George Potts
Jourdane: Bronte Terrell
Mrs Achebe: Yetunde Oduwole
Policeman 1: James Craze
Policeman 2: Paul Biggin
Kit Man Martin: Jason Williamson
Pascal: Ossian Perret
Garlic: Bobby Hirston
Caretaker Steve: Jolyon Young
Man in Cash and Carry: James Groom
Boy One: T’jean Uter-Dinh
Boy Two: Tyler Crossinggum
Daniel: Guy Rhys
Delivery Man: Ali Iqbal
Themselves: Sally Nugent, Jurgen Klopp, Jonathan Pearce, Gary Lineker
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.