On a rain swept November night in Manchester (so what’s new?), the World premier of the film “Busby” took place. At the opulent Everyman theatre opposite the Opera house, past players, family members and guests turned up to watch and enjoy the story of one of the most influential managers of all time.
Supported by the Altitude Film Group, the team behind lauded works such as “Moonlight”, “Amy” and “A Private War”, the film will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in November 2019.
www.TheSportFeed.com were invited to the event and took the opportunity to discuss things with some of the people involved with the making of the film and ex-players.
Gabe Turner, Executive Producer of “Busby”, chatted to Joe Casserley.
JC: “Tell us a little bit about how you got involved with it.”
GT: “Many moons ago we made a film called “The Class of `92”. Obviously through that film there was an appreciation of Sir Matt Busby and everything he did and how he shaped those guys in his image. We got Leo Pearlman, the Producer, to do the Busby film and we found Joe Pearlman, an amazing director along with Heather (Greenwood, Senior Executive at Fulwell 73)
JC: “Why has it take so long to have such a film?”
GT: “I think sports documentary is a relatively new thing. In America they have been doing this for slightly longer. I was trying to think what the landscape was like for sports documentaries pre “Senna”, “Class of 92”. Those films came out quite close to each other. Since then there have been lots of more sports platforms, more sport documentaries. Maybe its because years back they weren’t so well received or maybe there wasn’t a demand for those stories, but now there’s loads.”
JC: “How difficult was it to get all the material and track everyone down?”
GT: “It’s always the thing the archive search. When you approach any documentary it’s great to write down on a piece of paper a great story, but visually you need to know how to bring that archive to life. Joe and his whole team spent ages searching archives trying to find tapes and footage and anything that can piece the story together, and shed new light on the story. It’s a very well told story. There’s always ways as a filmmaker to try to put a perspective on it, or a new lens on it to bring it to life and I think the boys Joe & Daniel have done an amazing job on it”
JC: “Does it help if you are a Man United fan?”
GT: “But I’m not! (Gabe is a Sunderland fan). To watch that amount of footage you have to be passionate about it”
Alan Wardle, signed by United during the 60’s, had first hand experience of Sir Matt’s man-management skills. Alan is now heavily involved in organising a variety of events attended not only by former United stars but City stars also.
JC “Your connections with Man United go way, way, back. You were lucky enough to play under the great man.”
AW: “I was very lucky at playing at Fog Lane park and Albert Scanlon’s father recommended me and Joe Armstrong signed me. He (Sir Matt) was a terrific person. Absolutely terrific man.
JC “In your opinion what are one or two of the things that made Matt Busby such a special person and of course so successful?”
AW: “The way he went about things. He could be hard with you, especially when you wanted a wage increase. I remember I got booked in a reserve match atMaine Road. Of course a letter came from the FA warning me. So he called in to his office, but it was the way he did it. Nice and smooth but a bit harsh at the end. “Don’t do it again”. As Denis Law always says to me ‘All Scottish people are nice.”’
Dan Harris is the Creative Producer of Busby
JC: “I presume with your background, you are a United fan”
DH: “Yes I am”
JC: “Is that an important thing for putting the likes of this together?”
DH: “It’s helpful for sure In that you know the story, Instead of having to try and find out what the story which we normally do at biog, you’re looking for the details, the people that understand the story already”
JC: “He (Sir Matt Busby) is the foundations and brought so much history to the club and has re-built it twice. Why has it taken so long for this story to be put together and released?”
DH: “I think when you begin to tell a story you require a little bit of distance in order to be able to tell it. When the “Class of `92” came out that was one of the first sport legacy documentaries and that sort of pushed the envelope and people realised that some of the greatest stories that look best on film, that work best on film, that have amazing dramatic structures and are beautiful and are touching and deal with themes like the power of the individual and love and redemption all these amazing, grand ideas, you cover these in the sporting stories and it took people a while to appreciate that.”
JC: “A great tribute for the great man himself and of course the family.”
DH: “Yeah, I think so. With any family, where one person is one of the most famous people in the world, the members of the family don’t quite get the same kind of shine but actually they are the people making it happen and particularly with Matt while he was busy doing his job managing United, Jean was making sure that all the players families were comfortable and she was very important in making sure that the family atmosphere that Matt wanted to create, actually worked.”
JC: “You don’t necessarily have to a Manchester United fan and supporter to appreciate the great works Sir Matt Busby did and to appreciate the film as well do you?
DH: “I hope you don’t have to but I’m biased because (a) I’m a United supporter and (b) I made the film, but if people are interested in sport or the power of the individual or just great fxxxxxx stories, this is a great story.”
Images & Words – Ged Noonan
Interviews – JC – Joe Casserley