Bromley blues – heart warming new film charts the world’s worst football club’s worst season
True to its name, The Bromley Boys, opening on June 1st, was filmed in the borough by a cast and crew also largely from the area.
The coming of age love story is set during the real Bromley Football Club’s worst season, when it was the worst team in “the world”, in the late 1960s.
It’s a combination of fact and embellishment based on the novel by the real Dave Roberts.
Gormless teenager Dave Roberts went to every match wearing his Bromley FC scarf, taking along a pair of football boots, in the vain hope that one day they might need to sub him in.
Director TJ Herbert, a Bromley resident, came across the book locally. During filming he managed to track down some of the real people who are embellished a little in the story. He said, “The main characters: Dave, Charlie, Peter, Roy, Derek and Alan Stoney Stonebridge in the movie are caricatures and we were fortunate to have the backing of those real people to be on set almost every day to watch and be a part of the action.
“They are sprinkled throughout the film as supporting artistes.”
FilmFixer manages the film office service for Bromley Council. FilmFixer CEO Karen Everett says, “The production filmed around Bromley in October and November 2016.
“The family home is in Poplar Avenue on the Crofton Heath Estate, described by the production as the quintessential British suburb, offering the perfect original family 1970s ambience. Among the scenes filmed there, one involves an actor on a garage roof, and there were various scenes of newspapers being delivered on a paper round. These were the biggest scenes involving 35 cast and crew.
“After this filming the production made a generous donation to Crofton Heath.
“Rainy football match scenes were shot at Norman Park
“Two scenes were filmed in Kelsey Park, where we see two characters walking along a path, with one pushing a bike, and sitting on a bench talking, overlooking the lake. The production made a donation to the residents group Friends of Kelsey Park.
“A dialogue scene inside a car was shot along Rushmore Hill between Coolings Garden Centre and Pratt’s Bottom.
“And just across in Lewisham on Lamerton Street a boy was filmed kicking a can down the street.”
There’s more information about the local locations in the press pack on the film’s website, where director TJ Herbert adds, “It was very important to film locally within Bromley Borough.
“We were very fortunate to use two local schools: Wickham Court School, West Wickham and Langley Park School for Girls, Beckenham.
“The 15th-century Wickham Court School was a beautiful little school tucked away which was perfect for Dave’s boarding school. With its wood panelled classroom and headteacher’s office, the essence of a strict 1970s public education could be depicted.
“Likewise, Langley Park School for Girls was used for the comprehensive school scene. Built in 1959, both the interior and exterior of the school was perfect and was the closest to the actual Langley Park School for Boys Dave Roberts actually attended just next door, but had been rebuilt in 2011.”
The film also stars Bromley local Ross Anderson, who plays footballer and David’s idol Alan Stonebridge. Ross, who grew up in Bickley, was quoted in the local paper saying: “Alan was a great character to play – he’s a great man who is so down-to-earth and I have actually had the fortune of meeting the real man himself.
“The film appealed to me because of the comedy and also the football element was a big thing.
“I sort of support three teams myself – Arsenal, Bolton and of course Bromley FC.”
Karen Everett concludes, “The film is a brilliant nostalgia trip for football fans disillusioned by the dizzy heights the game has now scaled, and missing the simple pleasure of non-league matches on modest pitches.”