STARRING: Nicky Bell, Liam Boyle, Stephen Graham 

Like the England football team, movies centred around ‘the beautiful game’ tend to promise much but deliver little.

An exception to the rule is this offering about hooliganism, isolation and unrequited love that is more subtle and cerebral than your average footy film.

 It’s 1979 and all young tearaway Carty (Bell) wants to do is join a bunch of thugs called The Pack, who get their rocks off by beating up rival fans at football games.

His way in is new mate Elvis (Boyle) who would rather have Carty all to himself.

When Carty befriends leader of The Pack, John (Graham) an emotional and tragic standoff is inevitable.

What could have been another drab coming-of-age yarn is elevated to something far more engrossing thanks to some pitch-perfect performances.

Graham is at his bristling best as a merciless yob but the real star is Boyle, who is hugely enigmatic as the frustrated, pining Elvis.

Sure, the storyline is predictable and the fight scenes lack punch but a cracking soundtrack and some fine visual touches from director Pat Holden ensure that Awaydays is one football film worth shouting about.

Good for: Footy fans.

Pierre De Villiers