When several sporting associations suspended all competitive professional matches following the declaration of the First World War the football association were expected to follow suit. Instead the 1914 – 1915 season and the FA cup final continue as normal; the football league was actually suspended at the end of the 1914/1915 season.
This decision met with criticism from the general public who felt that men would rather watch or play football instead of serving King and country. The authorities responded to this criticism by deciding to form a Battalion specifically for footballers to join, creating the 17th Middlesex Footballers Battalion.
The Greater Game is written by Michael Head based on the book They took the lead: The Story of Clapton Orient’s Major Contribution to the Footballers’ Battalion in the Great War by Stephen Jenkins.
The story tells of the 42 Clapton Orient (later known as Leyton Orient) football players and backroom staff who became the first English football club to volunteer on mass for frontline duties in the Great War.
Using a one scene set director Adam Morley transports the viewer from the changing rooms of Clapton Orient (The O’s) to the trenches of the Somme.
The strong, talented, professional cast work effectively with each other to recreate the camaraderie of a team of footballers as they travel from football pitch to battlefield.
I was moved to tears throughout this production as the performances were so powerful, particularly by Scott Kyle’s portrayal of Sunderland born George Scott and the treatment he received when captured by the enemy. Scott delivered a superb performance.
The Greater Game is a raw, heart wrenching production that tells the important unique story of a remarkable football club, it’s players and staff who made the ultimate sacrifice for the greater game.
The Greater Game runs at Waterloo East Theatre from October 30th to 24th November.
We say: “The Greater Game is a raw, heart wrenching production that tells the important unique story of a remarkable football club, it’s players and staff who made the ultimate sacrifice for the greater game.”