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Rebecca Marie Burnett,
Taking over England's top football club Leeds United, previously successful manager Brian Clough's abrasive approach and his clear dislike of the players' dirty style of play make it certain there is going to be friction. Glimpses of his earlier career help explain both his hostility to previous manager Don Revie and how much he is missing right-hand man Peter Taylor who has loyally stayed with Brighton & Hove Albion.Written by
The Austin Mitchell interview with Brian Clough and Don Revie, which this film bases itself on, was in Leeds at the Calendar Studio on 13 September 1974. See more »
In some scenes we see the players tunnel, especially when Clough is being berated by Bremner and other players, behind Clough we can clearly see the much more modern two-tier stand which was built in the early 1990s, yet this film is set in the mid 1970s. See more »
[Clough, Taylor & their families watch Muhammed Ali on television]
Some fella in London, England named, some Brian... Brian Clough. I heard all the way in America that this fella talks too much. They say he's another Mohammed Ali. There's just one Mohammed Ali. Now, Clough, I've had enough. Stop it.
Are you gonna stop it?
No, I'm going to fight him.
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Love and Marriage
Written by Sammy Cahn / Jimmy Van Heusen
(c) 1955 (renewed) Cahn Music Co. (ASCAP) and Barton Music Corp. (ASCAP)
All rights on behalf of Cahn Music Co. Administered by WB Music Crop.
All rights reserved See more »
Sheen is excellent as Clough
I enjoyed Damned United particularly Michael Sheen's performance as Brian Clough. The film is cleverly written and fun to watch. The film makes Clough seem a much more sympathetic character than he appeared at the time. Many people including myself felt that Clough was an arrogant twit with an amazing ability to lose friends and alienate people. Sheen makes him seem likable. Clough had his demons and was a complicated man. Clough's methods were unique. He was essentially a dictator, and not always a benevolent one, often punching or slapping his players. What can't be argued was that he was a great and very successful football manager.
Clough's record was remarkable. He won the English championship with different provincial teams, neither of which is currently in the Premier League. He won the European Cup twice with Nottingham Forest. In 1973 his Derby team lost in the semi-finals to Juventus. Clough called the Italian team "cheating bastards." A later London Sunday Times investigation claimed that Clough was right and Derby's opponents had bribed the match officials. Nothing was ever done about this by FIFA or EUFA, some things never change.
As a Leeds United supporter, who lived through Clough's 44 days at the club, I don't feel the film portrayed the events fairly or accurately. I don't remember the Leeds team being particularly violent, the game was certainly more physical then and players received less protection from referees.
The film depicts Billy Bremner, Norman Hunter and Johnny Giles as boorish thugs. Bremner was a hard man but he was also a very skillful player. He was captain of Scotland in the 1974 World Cup and has been inducted into both the English and Scottish Halls of Fame. Giles was at the time also the manager of the Irish national team. Hunter played 28 times for England. Don Revie was a great man who took Leeds from the old Second Division to two First Division championships and two European trophies. The film doesn't really explain how he was able to win the loyalty of the Leeds players. In movies it's just easier to show everything in black and white terms.
One thing the film does get right is the lack of money in football back then. When Peter Taylor was at Brighton he offered my best friend a professional contract. My friend decided to go to university instead. With the DVD this is an additional feature in which three idiots masquerading as "experts" discuss football in the 1970s. One of them thought Norman Hunter was Scottish. Another couldn't believe that the Leeds players were educated enough to understand Revie's tactical reports. Anyone who has played the game at any level knows that football intelligence does not correlate with academic success. I've played football with very smart streetwise kids who left school at 16, on the field they were tactically astute. Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, was a shipyard worker before he became a footballer.
Overall I enjoyed the movie. It was clever and well written and Michael Sheen is brilliant as Clough.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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