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Dublin: 4 °C Thursday 24 January, 2019

Sports Film of the Week: United

It will be the best 90 minutes of football you’ll watch all week.

United-david-tennant-21315935-1600-1047 Source: BBC

Title: United

Released: 2011

Director: James Strong

Plot: There are events in history so poignant and heart-rending that no television programme, documentary or film can manage to encapsulate the raw emotion attached.

Yet, the BBC film United, achieves just that.

On 6th February 1958, a plane carrying the Manchester United team crashed on its third attempt to take-off from Munich airport. The team were on their way back from a European Cup tie in Belgrade when their plane had stopped in Munich to refuel.

23 passengers, including seven players, lost their lives. It was the darkest day in the history of Manchester United and one of football’s most indelible tragedies. 

United is not only a tribute to the team collectively known as “The Busby Babes” but a depiction of the events leading up to, and after, the crash. It is the only production to recount the emotional effect the tragedy had on the families, the club and the city.

The films centres around Jimmy Murphy, Sir Matt Busby’s assistant at Old Trafford – played by David Tennant, and Sir Bobby Charlton as the former rebuilds the club in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Among those who lost their lives was Ireland’s Liam Whelan, who was just 22. Whelan won four Irish caps and in 2006, a bridge in Cabra was renamed in his honour.

You don’t need to be a Manchester United fan to watch this film. You don’t need to be a football fan to watch this either. Just watch United for a heart-wrenching, yet moving story. It will be the best 90 minutes of football you’ll watch this week.

What the critics said: “It’s beautifully done – powerful, haunting and very human. And if you didn’t shed a tear, then you’re harder than I am,” (Sam Wollaston, The Guardian)

Random Quote: “Manchester United must go on”

Watch it in full here…

See more of our Sports Film of the Week series here >

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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