Football Stories is a Series programme.
The first in a new series of Football Stories, called "Bad Boys International", features every soccer manager's nightmare - a world XI of footballing infamy. Imagine a team of bad boys with no room for Vinnie Jones, Graeme Souness or Stan Collymore and it becomes clear how frightening the collection of misfits, mad men and malcontents featured in this film really are. The chosen XI are not just the hard men of football but truly an assortment of the mad, bad and dangerous to know. From violence on the field to colourful behaviour off it, these are the players who make up the team from hell.
In goal, beating off some strong opposition, is the former Colombian keeper Rene Higuita. Best known in Britain for his 'scorpion' kick in a friendly game against England, Higuita leads an equally colourful life off the pitch. A friend of Columbia's most notorious drug baron, Higuita was held in custody for seven months after becoming embroiled in a kidnapping case - although no charges were ever brought .
Stefan Effenberg gets the vote at right back for his open displays of dissent while playing for both Bayern Munich and Germany which culminated in his being sent home in disgrace from the 1994 World Cup for an obscene gesture to his own supporters.
The left back spot goes to Goicoechea, the 'Butcher of Bilbao', an uncompromising tackler remembered for the challenge that dislocated Maradona's ankle and earned himself a 16-match ban. Goicoechea still keeps the boots he was wearing that day in a glass cabinet in his home.
In the centre of defence, the cynical man-marker Gentile, is paired with the explosive Mihajlovic whose racist taunts of opposition players and support for the war criminal Arkan more than earn him a place in the team.
Guarding the back four is the combative Billy Bremner, a hard-tackling midfield terrier who was known to get his retaliation in first. Bremner reached his nadir when he was banned from playing for Scotland following a barroom bust-up in Denmark.
Providing the midfield flair are three of the most extravagantly gifted players ever to have graced the game. However, as well as their sublime skills George Best, Paul Gascoigne and Eric Cantona also share an appetite for self-destruction.
Up front the colourful Maradona enjoys equal billing with Edmundo, aka The Animal, whose brutal on-field tactics have led to more than one full-scale riot.
In the second edition "Old Big 'Ead" the programme features an exclusive interview with Brian Clough, this fascinating documentary reveals the man behind the mouth and explodes some of the myths surrounding one of game's most successful, yet controversial, figures.
Clough's own playing career was cut short on Boxing Day 1962. The incident, especially the role of Bob Stokoe, his opposition centre-half that day, still rankles. But putting it behind him at the age of 29, Clough became a manager and embarked on the most important relationship of his professional life by employing the services of Peter Taylor. According to Martin O'Neill there is 'no doubt that Clough loved Taylor'.
The Clough/Taylor partnership turned second division Derby into English champions within two years and such was the players' respect for Clough that when he left the club 18 months later they threatened to go on strike.
During Clough's brief spell at Brighton he seemed to be more interested in politics than football, even standing as a Labour MP in Derby. Phillip Whitehead, Derby North MP remembers Brian as 'a more articulate version of Johnny Prescott' while Brian's friend Michael Foot describes him as 'one of the best socialists I've ever met.'
Back in the footballing limelight, Clough took over as Leeds manager in 1974, a decision that surprised everyone given Clough's repeated criticism of the Leeds team. Former player Duncan McKenzie described the appointment as 'a marriage made in hell' while Peter Lorrimer remembers Clough's first team talk in which he labelled his new team as 'cheats' for their physical style. Clough was forced out after only 44 days.
He then joined Nottingham Forest in 1975 and once again took a team from second division obscurity to the top of the first division despite his somewhat bizarre motivational methods. Alan Hill one of the Forest backroom staff remembers a particular team talk that consisted of Clough singing 'Fly Me to the Moon.' He was also known to give his players a pre-match brandy to soothe any nerves.
European success with Forest followed before he and Peter Taylor parted company. Following the split Clough vowed never to talk to his former partner again. The rift had not healed by the time of Taylor's death and, according to a Forest insider, Clough's heavy drinking stemmed from this period.
Now 65, and looking fitter than he has for years, Clough says he is no longer drinking but his taste for controversy has not diminished as he puts forward his views on foreign players and managers.
In the third edition tells the story of the Charlton brothers in "The Charlton Brothers". This is the story of England's most famous footballing brothers, Bobby and Jack Charlton, who won the World Cup side by side in 1966 but spent much of their lives in competition with one another.
As children growing up in the mining community of Northumberland, Jack was more outgoing than his younger brother Bobby. Their mother Cissie recalls that while Jack was out carousing, 'poor Bobby was so quiet, he'd be sitting there with his books. But Bobby took after his mother's side of the family through his innate ability to play football (Cissie's four brothers were all professional footballers and her cousin was the famous Jack Milburn).
While Bobby played for England Schoolboys and went on to sign for Manchester United, Jackie initially followed his father down the mines. It was only through the intervention of his uncles that Jack secured a trial and then a place at Leeds United. Meanwhile despite the trauma of the 1958 Munich air disaster - which according to his brother Tom, 'had a terrible effect on Bob. He changed. For a 12-year-old to recognise that sort of thing, it had to be marked' - Bobby went on to win every honour in the game.
For Jackie, footballing success did not come so easily. It wasn't until relatively late in his career that he was picked for his country, just in time for the 1966 World Cup Finals. Always a devoted family man, Jack used his World Cup bonus to buy a house for his parents which he named Jules Rimet, after the World Cup trophy.
While Bobby enjoyed huge success with Manchester United, including the 1968 European Cup, Jack's only domestic honour was the 1969 league championship. But when they retired at the end of the 1973 season their fortunes were reversed.
Although both started their managerial careers with second division clubs, Jack took Middlesbrough up to the first division while Bobby's Preston were relegated. After one more season at Preston, Bobby left football management and opted for a role within the football establishment. Friends thought Bobby was too nice to be a manager, a problem that Jackie didn't encounter. Jack went on to manage Sheffield Wednesday, who he also led to promotion, Newcastle and most famously the Republic of Ireland where Jack showed his hard side by freezing David O'Leary out of the side for three years. O'Leary describes Jack as 'totally out of order... stubborn and pig-headed'.
Jack went on to anger his own brother when comments in his autobiography suggested that Bobby could have done more for their mother in the months preceding her death.
In "There's Only One Kevin Keegan". From footballing superstar to managerial failure on the biggest stage of all, no one man better encapsulates the ups and downs of English football over the last 30 years than Kevin Keegan. Arguably the archetype of the modern-day footballer, Keegan was the first to recognise the importance of player power and to cash in on his commercial value. But despite a shrewd head for business Keegan wore his heart on his sleeve throughout his career and often reacted to criticism by walking out.
By his own admission, Keegan had to work hard at his football from an early age, 'there were five or six lads in my school team who were better than me' but his dedication led him from a local pub team to Bill Shankly's Liverpool, via a spell at Scunthorpe. Even when his big break beckoned, Keegan still held out for increased financial terms from Liverpool, exaggerating his wage at Scunthorpe.
Liverpool got their money's worth, winning seven major trophies in Keegan's six seasons with the club. But trouble loomed on the international stage. In 1975, when Keegan was left out of the England side to play Wales, he abruptly left the team hotel, telling room-mate Emlyn Hughes 'I'm off - I'm not walking out on my country, I'm walking out on Don Revie' (the then England manager).
Keegan's fans were equally stunned when he decided to leave Liverpool at the height of their success to join Hamburg. Money was again a factor. Earning four times his Liverpool salary, Keegan was initially shunned by jealous team-mates (he describes his early days in Germany as 'the only time in my life I wasn't in control'). The pressure led Keegan to punch an opponent before leaving for an unscheduled break in England.
As always, he bounced back, inspiring Hamburg to the league title the following year and by 1980 he had won back to back European player of the year awards.
More moves followed, first to unglamorous Southampton before a unique transfer deal, in which Keegan pocketed a percentage of the gate receipts, took him to Newcastle. Keegan chose his 33rd birthday as the date for his retirement from playing and later declared, 'I'd love to be Prime Minister, I'd like the power'.
Instead, Keegan retired to Spain for seven years before re-emerging as the manger of a struggling Newcastle side. Within three years Keegan had taken Newcastle from the brink of extinction to the top of the Premiership but after being pipped to the title by Manchester United, Keegan found the prospect of another 'failure' too much to contemplate and left the club. A successful spell at Fulham followed before England came calling (with a salary three times that of his predecessor). What started so well against Poland came to an abrupt end following defeat against Germany - the England faithful turned against him and he once more turned his back on the game.
In "Psycho" Stuart Pearce, England's number three for a decade and a half, charts the highs and lows which have shaped England's footballing history. Nicknamed 'Psycho' in the mid-80s for his aggressive play and a "deranged commitment" to the cause, Pearce became a hero amongst fans and is perhaps one of a dying breed. With archive footage from key England games and contributions from, among others, Terry Venables, Bobby Robson and John Barnes.
In "How to Score (with page 3 girls)" Frank McAvennie's life epitomises the discovery and exploitation of football by the tabloids. On the one hand, footballers suddenly had huge wages to spend, on the other the tabloids were more interested in how they spent their money. The world of page three discovered the world of football and Frank McAvennie was one of the first to reap the benefits.
From the mid 80's to the late 90's, footballers like McAvennie with their birds, booze and drugs were feted as celebrities. Tabloids got close to them, gave them huge coverage and loved and charted their successes as well as their decline.
This rags to riches to rags story covers his great season at West Ham when the team from the East End came so close to their first ever league title. That year Frank lost the Golden Boot, the award for Europe's top goal-scorer, by just one goal, to Gary Lineker. It includes his time at Celtic when he was the centre of a unique football incident which brought the English captain, goalkeeper and a key defender to court to be found guilty when he, McAvennie, was declared innocent. This was the first time an incident on the park led to the law being involved off it. We then follow his return to London, not to Arsenal who tried so hard to land him (and went on to win the double that season), but back to West Ham who were promptly relegated.
At the start of the next season, McAvennie broke his leg after a tackle by hardman Chris Kamara and was out for almost a year. This gave him all the time in the world to advance his off-the-field lifestyle.
From his first days in London, Frank had found his spiritual home, Stringfellows, and he worshipped there as often as he could. Always champagne, always a beautiful blonde, usually a page 3 girl, Frank partied with actors like Ray Winstone and Nick Berry, pop stars like Rod Stewart and Elton John. He appeared on Wogan and played headers with Leslie Grantham on the set of Eastenders. But the high life and an increasing cocaine habit soon lost him most of his fortune.
This film tells a story epitomising both Britain and its football in the 80's, and McAvennie illustrates it perfectly. Good looking, photogenic, charming, funny and bright, all he ever wanted was to live out a dream that appealed to all lads. He wanted to be good at something, be the centre of attraction and get paid lots of dosh. Other footballers, tabloid journalists, celebrities and page 3 girls all testify to Frank's dream life and how it all eventually caught up with him. The film features contributions by, among others, Terry Butcher, Ally McCoist, Emma Padfield, John Fashanu, Charlie Nicholas and Ray Winstone.
In "Confessions of a Football Manager" It's an impossible job; everyone thinks they can do it better than you and the only certainty is getting sacked. In this film the top football managers in British football reveal the golden rules of their game. There are things they can do something about: tactics, training and building team spirit. And then there are things they can't do anything about: fans, superstar players, their agents, and, as ever, referees. Featuring, among others, Arsene Wenger, David O'Leary, George Graham, Joe Royle, Jack Charlton, Harry Redknapp and Martin O'Neil these top managers confess their disasters, revel in their successes, pay tribute to their mentors and expose the villains.
An honest account of the day-to-day realities of the most impossible job in football, Redknapp and Graham talk about their recent sackings and David O'Leary talks about the kind of fans he describes as "prats". He also talks about the Bowyer/Woodgate court case. Arsene Wenger reveals the nightmare that surrounded the transfer of Anelka from Arsenal, against his will, and manipulated by the "sharks" of the football world - Players Agents. Barry Fry movingly describes the impact of his sacking from Birmingham City on his young son Adam - who had led the team out as a mascot at a Wembley Cup Final. Barry also reveals why he threatened to shoot Harry Redknapp in the knees!
The programme includes further contributions from legends like Jack Charlton and Tommy Docherty (ex-Manchester United) as well as Mark McGhee (Millwall) who talks about his greatest regrets. Jim Smith (Derby County) talks about his tyrannical superstitions, and Joe Royle and Dave Basset give us the low down on how Wimbledon's team spirit took them from the 2nd Division to the Cup Final.
In "George Best's Body" In March 2000 GEORGE BEST was rushed to a private hospital in West London. Bloated, yellow-skinned and in severe pain, Best was losing a deadly game with his most difficult opponent - alcohol. Doctors told Best that one more drink could kill him. Things used to be very different for George Best. In the late 60's he was one of the world's most striking and talented athletes, the envy of men, the dream of women - and the owner of one of the most expensive bodies in football. This documentary is the story of that body.
George Best's Body is a biographical X-Ray of the former Manchester United star, using different aspects of Best's physique to tell this story. The film was made with Best's complete co-operation and was filmed in spring of this year, when he suffered a lapse in his attempts to give up drink. With unique access, the film reveals George Best's life at home in Northern Ireland, his working life as a football pundit and his visit to today's legends at Old Trafford on the day Manchester United won this season's Premiership.
Along with the remarkable current footage, the film includes a stunning range of archive material, much of which has never before been seen on television, including amateur footage of Best as a young teenager in Manchester, visiting the US with United in the mid-60's and playing for minor clubs in the 1980's after he had quit top level football. There is also footage from a remarkable German-made amateur film which features Best during a game at Old Trafford in the late 60's.
George Best's Body features an impressive cast list of interviewees including Best's wife ALEX and football colleagues Sir BOBBY CHARLTON, RODNEY MARSH, DAVE SANDLER, MIKE SUMMERBEE and WILF MCGUINNESS.
Running Time: 60 minutes (approx)
Database last updated: 23 July - 07:36