Jon S. Baird
Cass is a biographical film based on the life of Cass Pennant, one of the best known participants in the English “football Hooligan” or ‘casual’ subculture of the 1970s and 80s (which isn’t to say that the subculture is currently dormant) wherein hardcore fans of specific soccer teams would fight each other in the streets when their chosen teams would play. The film is directed by Jon S. Baird who, according to iMDB, has also worked on one of the few other casual films, Green Street Hooligans, and directed a short about the subject earlier in his film career titled It’s a Casual Life. Most directors of drama have little to do with the subject matter of their films however the recurrence of this subculture as content in Baird’s career suggests he might have direct knowledge of his material. There aren’t many films about the casuals and Baird is involved with two.
The film is largely a positive look at the phenomenon of unorganized Football violence, which puts it in league with Green Street Hooligans and The Football Factory, neither of which really represent the subculture negatively. Cass Pennant was a Jamaican orphan, abandoned by his mother and then adopted by aged pensioners in an all-white neighborhood. He bonded with his elderly adoptive father over football matches and entered the hooligan scene when he fought alongside West Ham United supporters against the Wolverhampton Wolves (also called the Subway Army or the Subway Wolves, they were supporters of the Wolverhampton Wanderers FC). Following this melee, Pennant joined the Inter City Firm (the Casual club that fought for West Ham), and eventually became a leader to the group.
|From the film, Cass and his crew advancing on their enemies!|
One interesting aspect of the film is the aspect of the business cards the ICF members carried that said “Congratulations - you have just met a member of the Inter City Firm”. Outlaw Biker clubs also developed this practice.