Who Is The Best Fictional Captain Of All Time?

Who Is The Best Fictional Captain Of All Time?

In recent weeks we've asked for your choice of the best goal scored by an Irishman in an international, and your favorite fictional coaches. Previously, we've also taken a look at the best fictional rivalries and some famous Irish sportsmen in fiction. Today, we want to know who you think was the greatest captain in the history of film. TV and literature.

There's one simple rule to abide by - the candidate cannot be a direct depiction of real-life sportsperson, but they can be loosely based on one. For example, Gerry Bertier from Remember The Titans doesn't count because he was very much a real person, but Derice Bannock is fine because his real-life counterpart was Dudley Stokes.

Let us know your choice with a Facebook comment or tweet in reply to this post and we'll count them up and announce the winner. If your pick doesn't appear below, feel free to name another and we'll add them to the tally.

To get us started, here are some of our all-time favourites.

John Colby (Michael Caine) in Escape to Victory

A gruff, no-nonsense leader in the traditional British mould, Colby was a former professional with West Ham before war broke out. Player-manager of the Allied prisoners' side, he goes against his conservative instincts and orders that the original goalkeeper's (played by Irish midfielder Kevin O'Callaghan - one of a load of Ipswich players drafted in to make up the numbers) arm be broken to allow the untested but vital Hatch (Sylvester Stallone) to play in goal. Naturally, the plan pays off, as does the near-suicidal decision to go back out for the second half when they could have made an escape through the showers at half time.

Charlie Conway from the Mighty Ducks

The spiritual leader of the Mighty Ducks and protégé of coach Gordon Bombay, Conway (Joshua Jackson) selflessly benched himself to allow star player Adam Banks to play after returning to the team. He became team captain by the third movie and plays a predictably central role in the movie's climax.

Gary 'Wacko' Wackett in Mike Bassett: England Manager

A nutter in the style of Terry Butcher-meets-Charles Bronson, Wacko was never far away from committing GBH on the field and eventually ended up in jail when he joined the England hooligans after England's disastrous start in Brazil.

Ivan Drago

Look, he was a captain in the Soviet Army so he totally deserves his place here.

'Cap' Rooney from Any Given Sunday

Played by Dennis Quaid, grizzled veteran Rooney was much-beloved by Coach D'Amato, but lost his place as the Miami Sharks' starting QB to the brash upstart and huddle-vomiter Willie Beamen. He regained his place for the playoffs but was creased while scoring a first half touchdown. The fact that he stayed on the sidelines to graciously support his understudy more than qualifies him for this list.

Peter LaFleur in DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story

LaFleur (Vince Vaughn), owner of the lovable but decidedly crappy Average Joe's gym, gathers his loyal regulars together and enlists the help of wrench-throwing drunkard Patches O'Hoolahan (Rip Torn) to win a Vegas-based tournament to raise the money to buy their hangout back from Globo-Gym's White Goodman, played by Ben Stiller in the most Ben Stiller fashion imaginable. As with pretty much every sports movie ever made, LaFleur has a crisis of confidence, one which only, eh, Lance Armstrong can resolve

Derice Bannock in Cool Runnings

As we mentioned above, Bannock more than qualifies for the title of greatest fictional skip, since the team in the movie was loosely based on the real deal from Calgary '88. An inspirational leader, Bannock rounds up the team after learning that his father was approached by Irv Blitzer (John Candy) to bring bobsled to Jamaica back in the day.

John Black of Harchester United

There was something of an outcry a few days ago when Black was omitted from the top 10 Harchester United players in history, so we've decided to redress this somewhat by recognising the fact that he quite literally took a bullet for his club - he was shot and killed when an FA Cup Final assassination attempt intended for Luis Amor Rodríguez missed its target.


Here's some bonus footage, helpfully entitled "Dream Team - Harchester United Collection Of Deaths".

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly

The captain of Castlerock College's victorious Senior Cup winning side of 1999. That accolade proved to be the pinnacle of his sporting life, but it hasn't stopped him from comparing himself favourably to every half-decent player since.

Danny Meehan from The Mean Machine/Paul "Wrecking" Crew in The Longest Yard

Vinnie Jones' ex-professional football player-turned convict was of course based on himself - just  kidding, it was a British rehash of Paul "Wrecking" Crew, played by Burt Reynolds in the 1974 American football comedy the Longest Yard. That film was remade in 2005 with Adam Sandler in the lead role, thus excluding it from the list.



Roy of the Rovers

A true sporting hero for millions of kids in the pre-internet age and architect of some of the most improbable victories in sports fiction, Roy Race was captain and later manager of Melchester Rovers from 1958 until, well, until 2001 when Match of the Day magazine, the last publication to carry the strips, was wound down. Monkey Dust did a fantastic but very NSFW parody of Roy which you can view here.


Yer Man from the Barry's Tea ad

With a promotion from the manager and the affections of his daughter to go with it, Yer Man from the Barrys ad more than deserves his place in our line-up. Also, does he happen to be Andrew Scott, who plays Moriarty in Sherlock? Pretty sure it is.


Paul O'Hara
Article written by
Kit nerd, nostalgia peddler, obscure sports enthusiast. One appearance for Ireland Universities cricket team, as a result of grave selector error - not a joke.

You may also like