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The Damned United: Best football movie ever!

Sriram Ilango
3.98K   //    04 Mar 2012, 21:45 IST

Only three English teams have won the Champions League more than once The two of those teams are very familiar to us and the third team is a certain Nottingham Forest, currently lying at the bottom of the English League Championship.

The two other teams, Manchester United as well as Liverpool have had great players and managers over the years. The third team however had a Brian Clough, the greatest manager that the English national side never had.

His story was a fairy tale. Clough began his managerial life in Hartlepools but achieved major success in Derby County taking them from the bottom of the second division to the first division title in just six years. Later, he had great success at Nottingham Forest winning the Champions League back-to-back.

I knew about the success that Brian Clough has had but I never knew about his fiery character until I saw the movie The Damned United.

Prior to this movie, I have seen some sport movies in the name of Goal and Goal 2. I must admit that I liked those movies but this one is by far the greatest Football movie ever made.

The movie revolves around the 44 ill fated days that Clough spent as the manager of Leeds United, a team that he despised. In the movie, it was shown that Clough had some kind of a vendetta against Don Revie, the ex-manager of Leeds United who left the job to take over the English national side.

Clough had great respect for Don Revie but when his side visited Derby County when they were in the second league, he did not shake Clough’s hand. That inspired Clough to move the first division and he along with his life long associate Peter Taylor made some smart buys and took Derby County to the first division. After a few years, Clough won the first division title with Derby. Later, in 1972, due to some arguments with the board, Clough and Taylor were sacked from Derby. Then they took over a Division three side Brighton & Hove Albion, where they were less successful. Then came Clough’s fatal move to Leeds United.

In the movie, it is shown that the players at Leeds were too attached to Don Revie that they never responded properly to Clough. In these scenes, you could see some great dialogues from Clough which undermined Don Revie’s stature. But, due to the absence of Peter Taylor, Clough was never effective at Leeds. After 44 days, he was sacked.

He then returns to Peter Taylor and they both join together in a beautifully scripted scene. After that, the epilogue shows them take over Nottingham Forest and win two back to back European triumphs. Michael Sheen, who portrayed Clough has done a wonderful job and the scenes were greatly scripted. For instance, the scene in which Derby faced champions Leeds was wonderfully done. Overall, for any Football fan, it is a must watch movie.

Here are some great dialogues from the movie :

Clough : I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the country. But I’m in the top one.

This is when he was being fired from Leeds

Manny Cussins: Let’s be honest, Brian. It’s not working, is it? The players aren’t happy. We’re not happy. In truth, we should probably never have hired you without Peter Taylor.
Brian Clough: So… what do you want to do about it?
Manny Cussins: It’s not working. We have to part company.
Brian Clough: Fine, it’ll cost you twenty-five grand.
Manny Cussins: What? For six weeks’ work?
Brian Clough: Plus three-and-a-half grand for Jimmy Gordon. And an agreement that Leeds United will pay both our income taxes for the next three years.
Manny Cussins: That is bloody criminal!
Brian Clough: You can throw in the Merc and all.
Manny Cussins: What?
Brian Clough: Might be a bit flash for a man out of a job, but the truth is, I’ve grown to like it.
Manny Cussins: Who do you bloody think you are?
Brian Clough: Brian Clough. Brian Howard Clough.

Reporter : How do you react when someone says, “Boss, you’re doing it wrong?”
Clough : Well, I ask him how *he* thinks it ought to be done. And then we get down to it, and we talk about it for twenty minutes, and then we decide that I was right.

Peter Taylor[embracing after being reunited] You’re only gonna fuck it up again, aren’t you?
Clough : I love you, you know.
Taylor :I know. But it won’t stop you.
Clough : So would you sooner go through it all without me?
Taylor :Never.

Clough: They say Rome wasn’t built in a day but I wasn’t on that particular job.

Clough : (addressing Leeds players for the first time) : You lot may all be internationals and have won all the domestic honours there are to win under Don Revie, but as far as I’m concerned, the first thing you can do for me is to chuck all your medals and all your caps and all your pots and all your pans into the biggest fucking dustbin you can find because you’ve never won any of them fairly. You’ve done it all by bloody cheating.

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Sriram Ilango
I am neither clever nor gifted. I am only very, very curious.
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