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DEFOE – A fitting tribute to one of football’s good guys

DEFOE opens with Jermain rifling shots in an empty net, the ball finding the bottom corner as it did so often in his illustrious 23-year career. What follows is an intimate and at times, heartbreaking look at his life on and off the field.

The feature-length biography begins with Defoe’s early years at SENRAB and growing up in Acton. The film runs through his career chronologically with heartfelt interviews and tributes from former teammates and managers.

Unsurprisingly, Harry Redknapp’s recollection of Defoe’s transfer to and from Porstmouth is a highlight. From his first coach: Bertie Knight, to former England boss Roy Hodgson, there is one common theme throughout these testimonials: Defoe’s professionalism and dedication to honing his craft.

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Defoe after scoring against Charlton in 2004

Off the pitch is where this film shines the brightest though. There is a tragic aspect to Defoe’s life and career that the film explains well and handles with sensitivity. Defoe comes off as refreshingly introspective when he talks about how these events affected and changed him.

The latter parts of the film focus on Defoe’s time at Sunderland, most notably with Bradley Lowery. Lowery’s mother Gemma speaks candidly about Defoe’s selflessness and how much he helped her son. Whilst this was a well publicised part of his life, hearing Defoe personally speak about Bradley and Sunderland was very moving.

Growing up a Tottenham fan, Jermain Defoe was always one of my favourite players. When we talk about Premier League greats, his name doesn’t get mentioned quite as much as it should. I didn’t need convincing as to how great a player he was, but DEFOE showed me why he is truly one of the good guys in football.

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Rating: 5/5

Kaleidoscope Entertainment will debut Defoe in UK cinemas for one night only on February 29th, before releasing the film on digital platforms.


  • Ed Dowling

    Ed is an Editor at the Sports Gazette. A much-maligned Tottenham fan, he mainly talks and writes about football in England and abroad. He is also a Senior Reporter for Nigeria's biggest sports radio station, Brila FM.