The United Way


The story of Manchester United Football Club, co-written and narrated by Eric Cantona and featuring insight from David Beckham, Peter Schmeichel, Teddy Sheringham and more.


What is 'the United way'? What sits at the heart of Manchester United Football Club? Several of the team's players and managers, as well as some famous fans and admirers, have come together for a special documentary.

As told by Eric Cantona, who has co-written and narrated the film, The United Way examines key moments in Manchester United's history. It covers the Busby Babes' success, and the February 1958 plane crash in which 23 people, including eight players and three members of staff, tragically lost their lives.

It also explores how the club rebuilt after the Munich air disaster, its up and down fortunes through the 1970s and 1980s, and that unprecedented run of success throughout the 1990s under Sir Alex Ferguson – culminating in the much-talked-about Champions' League final in 1999, where United dramatically secured a then-unprecedented treble trophy win in injury time. (Incidentally, another documentary about Sir Alex Ferguson's life story is due to come to Amazon Prime this month, too.)

The United Way also aims to set the club's history in the social, political and cultural context of 20th century Manchester, and Cantona's own story, with all its highs and lows, forms a big part of the narrative, as you'd expect. So does his affinity for the club, best summed up in a line from the trailer: "Manchester United needed me, and I needed them."

However, it isn't a complete history, finishing before the controversial takeover of the club by the Glazer family in 2005 (as The Guardian's review notes), and was obviously completed before the recent European Super League controversy – and the broader conversations that have been reignited about the widespread commercialisation of top-flight football.

The United Way's director Mat Hodgson recently shared some insight into that decision, telling the Irish Mirror: "It has definitely added a new dynamic but the truth is, it was all there already. I mean, there's a reason that we finished the film in 1999.

"I did read one review that has a question about that decision but I felt they've missed a very obvious point about the end of that era of Manchester United. That period really did define the soul, heart and ethos of the club.

"Football changed at the turn of the millennium, Manchester United changed at the turn of the millennium. It's a different era.

"What has happened in the last few years – not just with United – hasn't been in line with that ethos of what football means to the people on the street. Perhaps the film is a reminder of where football was and why that set of values is still so important to many people, especially Manchester United fans."

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