Daydream Believers: Barnsley’s beautiful game.

We were hopeful of giving the people a film to be proud of but the reaction has been nothing short of staggering.” New movie, ‘Daydream Believers’, mixes football and social history for the inspiring story of how a football team made a town believe again.

A decade on from one of the biggest political disputes in 20th century Britain, the Town of Barnsley – decimated by the year long Miner’s Strike of 1984 – began to believe again.  That belief was sparked by Barnsley FC.

Now, thanks to a crowdfunded feature-length film; ‘Daydream Believers’, people can relive one of the most incredible achievements by the town and it’s football club.

The debut production of GRAFT Agency tells the story of how Barnsley Football Club’s promotion to the Premier League, for the first time in their 111 year history, brought joy and belief back to a town that was in the midst of economic ruin.

 (Image; former striker,  Jan Aage Fjortoft, talking to Sky)

After having its sixteen pits closed by the Conservative Government, more than 30,000 people were left unemployed with a further tens of thousands of people impacted. Poverty in the town soared as, naturally, the club’s attendances plummeted. 

Barnsley F.C. kept on fighting in the second division and when Danny Wilson (below) was appointed player-manager in 1994, things began to change.

A squad of players that were brought together from non-league, Premier League reserve teams and the club’s academy went on to play football likened to that only seen on the beaches of Rio.

Against all the odds, they achieved promotion to the Premier League in 1997.

The films director, Chris Johnson, said,

“We are blown away with the response we’ve had so far since its premiere. 

It’s been eighteen months in the making and we were hopeful of giving the people a film to be proud of but the reaction has been nothing short of staggering.”

Described by Henry Winter of The Times as 

A remarkable story of fighting against the odds – on and off the pitch.”, Sky Sports also had big praise for the documentary, as broadcaster and journalist Russ Taylor said the film is “A perfect account of social history.”

Johnson added, “The fact that almost 1,300 tickets were snapped up to make a complete sell-out goes to show how fondly this period in time is remembered in Barnsley.”

“But, this isn’t just a film about Barnsley for Barnsley F.C. supporters, it’s a very emotional sports film that documents one of the biggest and most devastating political events of the 20th century as well as a club and its town battling against all odds.”

Simon Lindley, former bass player with exit calm, and producer of the film’s soundtrack, said It was a very emotional and glorious time for our area, everything seemed to burst into colour for two years. The film really has that feeling, it was happening, it’s been an incredible experience making this, it means an awful lot to us all, as I’m sure it will to many who see it.”

The film is raising funds for The Tiny Hearts Appeal at Barnsley Hospital, and after completely selling out its seven consecutive nights of screenings at The Lamproom Theatre in Barnsley, the GRAFT team now have their sights set on showcasing the film nationally after its glittering reviews.

Daydream Believers is released on DVD  late 2018, and can be pre-ordered at

Below; The GRAFT team; Matty Goodwin, Liam Swann, Jamie Walman, Chris Johnson, Simon Lindley, Mike Eccles, Liam Dyson

#ZineAndHeard – A perfect movie for a positive World Cup year. Also for TheZineUK story. Having started with Pete Doherty at Soccer Six, covered I Believe In Miracles (Nottingham Forest film by Jonny ‘Svengali’ Owen) and being part of SoccerSixFest over the years.

With 90 Minutes‘ in the wings (trailer music by MOSES), South Yorkshire band, The Blinders (born in Barnsley FC’s Premiere League year of 1997) heard on the 2018 World Cup ads, plus music x football art phenomenom, Bands FC taking flight!

In our current state of affairs, we need all the Daydream Believers we can get.

This film is another great achievement for Barnsley.

Additional Words: Matty Goodwin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *