Being set in Hereford, there’s only one goal that a play with this title could possibly be referring to, the glorious golden goal scored by Ronnie Radford against Newcastle United in February 1972.

But that iconic moment is just one element in a cleverly structured, wittily written and beautifully acted drama that explores the magic that can happen when six kids from diverse and disparate backgrounds come together with a shared passion for the beautiful game.

Bobby, Chris, Dan, Yorkie, Twig and Brian meet pitchside when they sign up as ballboys with Hereford United, a level playing field for friendships that could not, perhaps, have blossomed anywhere else, so different are their lives.

Like Dennis Potter’s iconic Blue Remembered Hills, The Goal sees six adult actors metamorphose not into seven-year olds, but into teenagers, embodying all the angst of adolescence. Dan (Danielle – Kate Powell)), a passionate football fan is out of step at school, but finds acceptance … and more … at the football club. Chris (Tim Bevan), who’s already resigned himself to a life in the factory, gets his fingers burned as he tries to make some cash on the side, while Bobby (James Holmes) refuses to accept that his destiny is already written just because he’s at Grafton, not HCS. Yorkie (Matthew Booth), feeling like a fish out of water since moving from Leeds, creates a glamorous identity for his dad to create an ‘in’ for himself and won’t let go of his love for his former home. And Twig (Ewan Goddard), one of nine in a family who, apart from his nan, barely notice he’s there, finds he too can find a place where he matters … and the courage to stand up for someone else. Because his new friend Brian (Charlie Quirke), who goes to Hereford Cathedral School, has a dad who has Brian’s future all mapped out, and not in the direction Brian wants to go.

With a soundtrack guaranteed to hurl those of a certain age straight back to the seventies, and a stack of laugh-out loud one-liners, The Goal is a perfect mix and match of nostalgia, humour and excitement with a heart of solid gold – and, that old cliché, something for everyone, not to mention a genuinely moving final scene. Because The Goal isn’t just about football, not even just about that goal – it’s about celebrating the biggest win of all, a sense of belonging.

Writer/co-director Nick Lane and director Ian Archer are to be congratulated on having created a fitting tribute to the legend that is The Goal.

The Goal runs at The Courtyard until Saturday, October 13. To book, call the box office on 01432 340555 or visit