Sean Bean's character is based on writer-director Maria Giese's husband who also hails from Bean's hometown of Sheffield in the north of England.
During the football season in question, 1995/1996, Sheffield United were in the first division. This is confirmed by a scene in the betting shop where Sheffield United appears on a betting board for Division 1 sides. However, regularly during the film, Sheffield United play Premiership teams Arsenal and Leeds United in December, an impossibility given Sheffield United's division unless these are League Cup matches. The FA Cup semi-final, played at Bramall Lane in the film, would not be held there; all FA-Cup semi-finals are played at a neutral ground.