By DEN STEVENSON
Original Concept by Den Stevenson
Birds-eye camera pans over whirled long, straight hopeless streets of regular built houses all small and of brick. Street upon street of densely-packed terraced housing with small walled backyards that are rapidly covering any remaining open spaces through observed building activity alongside soon to be redundant canals. Here and there, a great oblong; many windowed factory mill is seen standing up like a hen amongst her chicken’s; set off by a patchwork backdrop of redundant mirror smooth hills. This is the era and start of the Industrial Revolution, where in the north/west; cotton provided much wanted work and accommodation. It provided a half decent life for many whom before had neither work; nor hope of a better life. The invention of the steam train had also brought much wanted work for whole families by spawning rail links to towns across the country that allowed the factories to trade much further afield. And below the changing much scarred landscape face lay another, as yet, unknown revolution. A ‘sporting’ revolution that would, like the industrial revolution, spread across the entire face of the globe. The camera closes in on one particular mill where some workers are playing football in an outside yard whilst a number of female workers enjoy the work break by chatting together as they occasionally watch the game. The camera follows the game and concentrates on one particular player; handsome strongly built; black short centrally parted hair sporting a moustache (COLIN FARRELL). Sleeves rolled up with his braces hanging loose he shows a masterly skill with the ball beating player after player watched by one particular very attractive slim girl who glances occasionally at him with obvious approval. He scores a goal and showing his delight looks at the attractive girl who returns his smile. Camera catches another player watching their eye contact. He is equally good looking and well built but with fair hair and unshaven (SHAUN BEAN). The factory hooter sounds to confirm it is back to work and the two players speak briefly showing a joint liking for the game whilst at the same time knowing they fancy the same girl. Fades to a two up two down humble family terraced home of the blonde factory worker ROBERT HOWARTH; seated at a table with his mother and sister. His father later enters the coal fire lit room; after a days work on the railway. There is a variety of conversation covering his labour; money and his sister talking about the pretty girl she works with who has caught her brother’s attention. This drifts to Robert’s interest in the new sport of football and his playing in the recently formed mill works team first ever game, a friendly match, in a few days against the Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway F.C. Later renamed… Manchester United! There is a rumour that the famed Preston player and captain BOB HOLMES will be at the game looking for potential club players –
FADE IN – Title
EXT./INT FOOTBALL MATCH (PRESTON) ENGLAND – DAY. (1886)
LS — CAMERA BOOMS forward to — kick off — ball at the feet of JOHN GOODALL –follows him as he shows all the same dazzling natural skills and fearless disregard shown in the works yard kick about, beating player after player but ignoring his team mates cries to ‘pass’ eventually trying to beat one too many players; losing the ball much to the whole team’s increasing frustration and annoyance; particular center half Robert Howarth; as the opposing team keep scoring goals. Nearing the end of the game Rob goes up for a corner and when the ball comes over he rises, all the action is seen in slow motion and exaggerated muffled sound of impact; to head the ball with John, then deliberately head butts him instead of the ball — he collapses to the ground holding his bloodied face –
You bastard. You did that on purpose.
It’s a bloody team game. It’s about time you learnt that John. Eleven bloody nil. We could have buried them if you hadn’t been so selfish.
Bob Holmes joins them and looks down at John.
The boy’s right. It’s a team game son. No team will want anyone to play for them who ignore that golden rule –
No matter how good they are!
John takes the advice on board and along with Bob go on to play for PRESTON NORTH END and become integral players in the team that won the very first Football League Championship in 1888 which didn’t lose a single match that season; bringing them the accolade and title THE INVINCIBLES. One woman; loved by two men. United on the pitch; divided off. As the team goes into football folklore; the personal drama unfolds unbeknown to their army of followers as their reputation and status increases and the team make football history as the game evolves, through the payment of wages and the formation of a trade union, the AFU, in 1898; into the Universally played ‘beautiful game’ as it is known today –