‘Manchester United: For the Glory’ review: Wikipedia on video

A still from ‘Manchester United: For the Glory’  

Manchester United: the club with the most top-flight titles in England, one of the most valuable football clubs in the world, a stadium where dreams come true, a team that rewrites history every time it takes to the pitch, a footballing behemoth that embodies the spirit of rising from the ashes. Simply put, Manchester United needs no introduction.

Since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, however, the club has slipped down a few rungs from the ladder of success; the club has now gone without a Premier League title for seven years, which, since they won 13 in the first 21 years, adds a bit of context to the club’s struggles on the pitch. What’s more? It doesn’t seem like 2021 will be the year the barren spell ends.

David Beckham and his manager Sir Alex Ferguson during a Premiership match held in 2003

David Beckham and his manager Sir Alex Ferguson during a Premiership match held in 2003   | Photo Credit: Shaun Botterill

For a filmmaker to set a documentary on a storied club such as Manchester United with its rich legacy could have been an easy task; there are several subjects of topical relevance — from the on pitch struggles of Ole Gunnar Solskjær to the boardroom battles of club chief executive Ed Woodward, or the club’s most important on-pitch events, the fans’ distrust of the club’s ownership group backed by the Glazer family — any one of these could have made for a riveting documentary.

Instead, Matt Salmon opts for a simplistic retelling of historical facts with the help of archival footage. The contents of this 64-minute documentary is the same as what one can gain by a casual reading of Manchester United’s Wikipedia page. That is beside the fact there is a total of two voices throughout the documentary, which, though as well-informed as they may be, puts a dreary spin on the narration. At some point, a combination of all these factors does make the ticking away of frames a painful process to watch.

And surprisingly, there is very little emphasis on the post-Ferguson years, which no doubt has been the most eventful in Manchester United’s history for most neutrals. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho are relegated to the final few minutes of a documentary that spends much of its time reliving the glory days of the Busby babes.

The documentary could pass off as a time pass virtue for die hard fans of the Red Devils. For the larger section of football fans comprising neutrals, it is best to skip.

‘Manchester United: For the Glory’ is streaming on Discovery Plus

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 5:12:31 PM |

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