- 27 Jun 19
The film Football As Never Before is a unique exploration of the mercurial genius of one of football’s greatest ever players. And it has now been given a new soundtrack by the Irish musician, Matthew Nolan.
A special screening will take place at Dublin’s Dalymount Park on July 4, of the legendary film about George Best, entitled Football As Never Before.
The film was originally shot by the German film director Hellmuth Costard, in September 1970, at a fixture between Manchester United and Coventry City, in what was the English First Division at the time.
Costard used eight 16mm cameras to track Best’s every move during the game against Coventry. Made at the height of Best's fame and tabloid notoriety, Costard’s film focuses insistently on Best—warming up, looking restless and bored, waiting tactically to unleash his genius—rather than on the on-pitch action, to arrive at a sublime and revealing rumination on celebrity and a tantalising glimpse of the man behind the myth. The influence of this extraordinary film can be felt in Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno’s well-known 2006 variant, Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait – which is, of course, about the France and Real Madrid legend, Zinedine Zidane.
Central to the revival of the film is the work of Matthew Nolan, a Dublin-based musician, who has rescued Football As Never Before from obscurity and composed a new score for the film. On July 4 Costard’s film will be shown – and Nolan’s score will be performed live on Dalymount’s hallowed turf for what promises to be a truly memorable occasion.
The event is being presented by TUD (Technical University Dublin), Bohemians FC and Dublin Business School.
"TU Dublin, Bohemian FC and Dublin Business School are delighted to present,” a statement issued by the organisers said, "a rare opportunity to see George Best finally play Dalymount Park in a competitive fixture (Best lined out on the Phibsboro park in a benefit match in August 1968). This is a unique opportunity to see the island's greatest ever player return to the home of Irish football.
"Best was famously too big to play Dalymount — in 1968 when the then European Champions, Manchester United arrived to play League of Ireland champions Waterford, the fixture was moved to Landsdowne Road to accommodate a larger crowd.”
The film will be shown on a big screen installed on he pitch, and patrons will bet seated in the Jodi Stand.
The full list of musicians performing the new, original soundtrack is as follows:
Matthew Nolan – electric guitar
David Stalling – lap steel guitar / electronics
Seán Mac Erlaine – woodwinds, vocals and electronics
Bryan O’Connell – drums/percussion
Mary Barnecutt – cello
Kevin Murphy - cello
The background to the film is explained in a note by the Goethe Institut: “The sun shone on Old Trafford on 12th September 1970 as Manchester United beat Coventry 2:0 in a league match. It was not an important victory; that season Man Utd would only be also-rans in the race for the championship. But a record was preserved of the match that is probably unique in the history of film and television.
"Using eight 16mm cameras, Hellmuth Costard, one of the most important experimental filmmakers in German cinema of the 60s and 70s, followed every move over the 90 minutes of the man in the red jersey with the number 11 – traditionally associated with the conventional outside left, but here worn by the mercurial George Best.”
To give a full flavour of what to expect, the organisers also quote the English philosopher, Simon Critchley, who in 2014 wrote: "Football is working-class ballet. It’s an experience of enchantment. For an hour and a half, a different order of time unfolds and one submits oneself to it. A football game is a temporal rupture with the routine of the everyday: ecstatic, evanescent and, most importantly, shared. At its best, football is about shifts in the intensity of experience. At times, it’s like Spinoza on maximizing intensities of existence. At other times, it’s more like Beckett’s Godot, where nothing happens twice."
It sounds like a fascinating occasion is in prospect!