BT Sport films remembers 'The Crazy Gang' in major new documentary


BT Sport is to premiere the next instalment in its BT Sport Films series, The Crazy Gang, on December 26 on BT Sport 1 at 8pm, with an in-depth look at the extraordinary story of Wimbledon FC in the 1980s.


BT Sport is to premiere the next instalment in its BT Sport Films series, The Crazy Gang, on December 26 on BT Sport 1 at 8pm, with an in-depth look at the extraordinary story of Wimbledon FC in the 1980s.

Featuring in-depth interviews with the likes of Vinnie Jones, Dennis Wise, Lawrie Sanchez, John Fashanu, Dave Beasant, Bobby Gould and other members of the notorious team, the film examines the hard-man, win-at-all-costs side which rose from non-league obscurity to FA Cup winners in less than ten years and left an unrivalled mark in the history of British sport.

The Crazy Gang, the twelfth in the BT Sport Films franchise, brings to life the high-jinks and at-times despised nature of the team who were an anathema to the established world of football where star players, football officials and the media found out that the Crazy Gang were not to be messed with. As this feature length documentary will reveal, they were the team that everyone loved to hate. It is a never-to-be-repeated football story of nomads and misfits who found a family, no matter how harsh the environment, and in doing so found themselves. As Jones says in the film: “We were a lot of misfits, a lot of throw outs. A lot of not wanteds. You either grew a backbone very quickly or you dissolved as a man.”

Jones, who made more than 300 appearances for the team in two separate spells, was known for being one of the main influencers of the Crazy Gang, something he discusses in the film. “People say me, Wisey and Fash were [leaders], but it was nuts when I first went there. Make no bones about it, Wally was the leader and Bassett encouraged that” said Jones, referring to former players Wally Downes and then Manager Dave Bassett.

Known for his aggressive style of play alongside Dennis Wise in the team’s midfield, Jones’ belligerence echoed on and off the pitch. New players were tested to the extremes, mentally and physically, by the most intimidating dressing room in football with stories of shocking brutality. “We set fire to Corky’s (Alan Cork) car once, only because Harry (Dave Bassett) wouldn’t give him a raise, they said it would be better if Corky lost his car, so we set fire to it in the car park - third party fire and theft. The best laugh we had was when we had a big punch-up at Chelsea... there were 21 players in the centre circle all throwing punches and everything. We loved the fact that everyone was calling us the ‘Crazy Gang’” says Jones, who has since made a career in Hollywood as an actor.

Sam Hammam, who famously purchased the majority share in Wimbledon in 1990, also features in the documentary and says in the film: “I didn’t know football, I didn’t know how to behave – but nobody at the club knew how to behave. I would encourage those things. I would participate in those things and later we were extremely successful in the Premier League and still there are millions of stories that were happening all the time.”

Grant Best, senior executive channel producer, BT Sport, said: “Through BT Sport Films, BT Sport is committed to bringing sports fans the back stories behind the sports, teams, athletes and events that resonate with them. The Crazy Gang is a footballing story of contrasts, surprises and extremities of men who discovered themselves and others who lost themselves within the football club. The film does not romanticise their behaviour which at times was unacceptable, ugly and a little bit crazy. It is partly a social study that attempts to understand why they behaved in such a way as well as telling a remarkable story.”

BT Sport Films that have already aired to date include:

  • Silver Lining (a study in the dynamics of sporting relationships and the contrast in emotions between Great Britain’s London 2012 Olympians – and husband and wife - Gemma Gibbons and Euan Burton)
  • Football Outposts: UK & Football Outposts: Europe (Arsenal fan, author and ex-EastEnders star Tom Watt embarks on journeys to various British and European football outposts. From Arbroath to Accrington Stanley and Gibraltar to Iceland, Tom witnesses what it takes to be a football fan at levels of the game)
  • Mike Hailwood: An Ordinary Hero (focuses on a unique and legendary career of a man who in most circles within the world of motorsport is regarded as one of the most naturally gifted motorcycle riders in history)
  • Cornered (The film follows the story of Johnny Greaves, a 100-fight veteran of the professional boxing game who has won only four fights. A journeyman who lives by the motto: have gloves, will travel)