Axed from England, Newcastle, Norwich and Colchester in quick succession, Mike Bassett heeds the call to manage his boyhood club, Wirral County. After persuading his wife Karine to forego a sun-kissed retirement on the Costa del Sol, Bassett gears up for a final shot at glory in Ellesmere Port.
After watching a video of Ajax striker Ronnie Van Needlemans, Mike is convinced he's the man to end their goal famine, but he has to raid Karine's nest egg in secret to finance the deal. But when the exciting Dutch talent arrives at the club, the fact that he can't speak English is only the first surprise in store.
After being sent off for fighting with an opposition's mascot and watching his team get thrashed 5-0, the clueless Bassett employs an ex-TV hypnotist to try and turn things around. The club's chief executive causes Mike another headache when he announces that the stadium will be turned into a furniture outlet at the end of the season.
Bassett signs former England bad boy Kevin Tonkinson who has promised to lay off the booze for good. But things don't look so rosy when Tonka goes missing on match day and is found slumped in a cupboard with a bottle of peach schnapps in his hand.
Just when it looks like Wirral County have turned the corner Mike makes a spectacular mess of things. He misses his son's graduation to ensure the team saviour stays sober on a stag night by bravely intercepting - and supping - all spiked drinks. The night ends with the sozzled coach fighting the paparazzi and injuring his star player in the process. A devastated Bassett wakes to a sore head, and worse still, an empty bed.
With no sign of Karine for two months - or a point for even longer - the troubled coach reaches an all-time low. He faces disciplinary action after attacking a fan and a glimpse at the club's lowly league position almost causes the chairman to keel over. But Mike is inspired by a shocking revelation about his father and sets out to win the final game, save the club and get his wife back for good.