The Damned United

The first of something like seven films scheduled for release in the next few weeks which I’ve been really looking forward to was The Damned United, which has been reviewed as that rarest of things, a good film about football. And it is: I really enjoyed it. What I find odd though is that several reviewers have said “it’s not about football, you don’t have to be a football fan to enjoy this film”, and I have to take that as being true, as the reviewers writing that really don’t seem to be football fans. But as far as I’m concerned, thie film is totally about football. All I could see were those league tables superimposed on the screen as Derby moved up the league, remembering Keegan and Bremner being sent off at Wembley, and wondering, as we all did, how England would have got on if Clough had been made manager. The film was, for me, 100% about football and 100% nostalgia. Clearly it’s worked on a quite different level for other people; apparently it’s a love story about two inseparable men – I even heard one girl saying, as we left the cinema, that she’d got quite tearful at the end. All I could think about was “thank goodness Clough and Taylor got back together again, or we’d never have had those great evenings when Forest won the European Cup”. So the moral of the story is: if you want to go and see a genuinely good film about football, which will be particularly resonant if you grew up in the seventies, you should go and see The Damned United – and the real bonus is that if you’ve got a significant other who isn’t into football, you can take them and apparently they’ll really enjoy it too. Although they’ll be watching a completely different film.