The Full Monty Game
The Sheffield Eagles celebrated their Full Monty connections with their special "Full Monty" game on 24th September 2023.
When the Full Monty film was released in 1997 the Sheffield Eagles 1996 away shirt became known amongst fans as the Full Monty shirt because Mark Addy’s character Dave was seen wearing it in several scenes.
The shirt's first claim to fame
The first claim to fame for the shirt though is having featured in the first ever game of the new era of summer rugby – the Super League in 1996. You can read more about that HERE.
Why that shirt in the film?
At the time no one knew about the Full Monty film but filming was taking place across Sheffield during 1996. Robert Carlyle’s character Gaz is seen wearing a Sheffield United top and makes reference to the football team. There is no mention throughout the film though of the Sheffield Eagles or why Dave is wearing that particular shirt. For Eagles’ fans though there was something special about seeing that shirt up on the screen.
As part of the work of the Sheffield Eagles Heritage project we decided to investigate why the shirt was chosen and managed to find the email address for the agent of Jill Taylor, the costume designer for the Full Monty film. We asked to see if she could explain why the Eagles shirt was chosen. It was a speculative email and we were delighted, less than an hour later, to have an email back form Jill.
So while rugby is never mentioned in the film there was a reference in the script and it was good fortune for the Eagles that the shirt for 1996 was so distinctive.
Jill was delighted to be told the impact of the shirt being chosen for the film and how it still lives on as part of the heritage of the Sheffield Eagles. It was for that reason that when we were developing the display case at Weston Park Museum we had to feature the shirt – not just for fans but for those people who may recognise the shirt from the film, but don’t know of the Eagles connection.
Linked to the follow up Disney+ TV series launched in 2023 and due to the affection the fans have for the 1996 the Club decided to produce limited edition replicas of the shirt for sale. It is a sign of how special the shirt is to fans of the Club that the first set of new replicas sold out so quickly with more having to be ordered.
The Full Monty Game
Inspired by the popularity of the replica shirt the Club decided to theme their last game of the regular season on 24th September as the Full Monty game with the team playing in the replica shirts. Unbeknownst to fans Mark Addy had seen that the Club had reissued the shirt he had worn in the film and placed an order. Becky Higgins, Customer Experience Manager at the Club got in touch with Mark and invited him to be the guest of honour at the game. He was presented with his shirt and a framed version signed by all the players. He also welcomed the players to the pitch in the Full Monty style and presented the match ball to the referee.
Despite the fans love of the shirt they also feel it isn't the luckiest shirt and that there have been more losses than wins when wearing it. This proved to be the case again with the Eagles losing 17-6 to a last minute drop goal from the Bradford Bulls.
You can watch highlights of the game below.