Football means everything to three friends from a dead end British town who have now hit their mid forties. They have supported their under-performing home town team through the lean years. Now success has come their way - for the first time in a generation their team has qualified to play in a European football competition.
But when Dean receives a ban from all football games due to hooliganism, their plans to go to see this away game together seem doomed. Joe was planning to take his troubled son Ben to his first ever football match in an attempt to bond with the troubled teenager obsessed with a death metal music. Craig is struggling with PTSD after a difficult army career, and needs distraction from everyday life.
When Craig finds out that Dean is terminally ill, Craig hatches a plan to travel to northern Finland with his friends to watch their final away game together, come what may, avoiding Dean's travel ban.
Craig, his two friends and their sons travel to a quiet backwater at the very northern edge of Europe for the match.
Soon Craig realises he is in a simmering conflict zone, between Paganism and Christianity. Ben's favourite death metal group are from this remote and isolated town. What Ben took to be the theatrics of their music is actually the reality of this place in the far north. And what these Pagans worship is actually out there in the northern forests. Waiting in the darkness. In this game there is no extra time: just sudden death.
At the end of the second decade of the twenty first century, world unrest continues unabated, fuelled by ongoing conflicts from the turn of the millennium, which fractured the world on regional and religious lines. These conflicts were not new. They just rose from the ashes of previous incarnations of the same tensions which have existed for a millennia and more.
Football is how the masters of the Industrial Revolution harnessed and released these feelings in their countries. Football clubs formed along local lines. Clubs formed along religious lines. Confirming identity and demonising the other. Warfare contained to a grass pitch in a stadium filled with die hard fanatics. Football fascinates world wide.
Today, Britain, America and Europe are filled with people scarred by their involvement in these world conflicts. People who were dropped into countries they did not know existed, where people speak languages they have never heard, in cultures which are often very alien. Going to the ultimate away game.
People like our friends. People like Craig. No one comes away unscathed.
People touched by these conflicts live in a netherworld of constant threat, at a level of readiness for action which fries the nerves and damages the mind.
So, when Craig travels with his mates to a quiet backwater at the very northern edge of Europe, he realises he is in a simmering conflict zone, between Paganism and Christianity which is bursting into flame. And what the Pagans worship is actually out there in the northern forests. Waiting in the darkness. In this game there is no extra time: just sudden death.