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After cinema releases for documentaries about Bill Shankly and Bobby Robson, it was only matter of time before attention turned to Matt Busby, who produced Manchester United’s glamour sides of the late 1950s and 60s and forged the club’s identity.
There’s an understandably elegaic tone to this profile. Busby’s career as a manager was dominated – and interrupted – by the horrors of the Munich air crash, which claimed the lives of eight of his players. The best, and most interesting, material here is that which covers the aftermath of the disaster: the eerie atmosphere of the subsequent games, the absence of any counselling or indeed much sympathy for the survivors, Busby’s recovery period, and resolute team-building to plug the gaps in the devastated side.
As the world knows, Busby found a new generation of stars and went on to his great triumph, winning the European Cup in 1968. Although all this is pretty familiar from a thousand TV clip shows, the focus on Busby’s travails over the years makes a little more sense of the well-aired line that the players wanted to win it for him. And as with Alex Ferguson decades later, the succession did not go well: one manager after another failed to escape the giant shadow. But Busby was clearly someone who didn’t want to give much away: other than noting his occasional ruthless streak, this film, decent though it is, doesn’t really get past the public image.
Source: The Guardian
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