In my action adventure movie, I have two elements going. The first is element is action adventure. The second is sports. In order to pull this off I needed a credible story with a credible character with a shot of irony thrown in. My main character Seamus O’Brien grows up in Belfast supporting English Football club Manchester City, but his favorite player is another Irishman named Bryan Hamilton who thrived with Ipswich Town and Everton. The Irony is Seamus is Catholic and so is his soon to be fiance. His fiance Hannah Laughlin, defies the IRA by becoming a peace activist. All Seamus cares about is Football, he could care less about sectarian violence. When Hannah is killed by the IRA, Seamus injures his knee in a cup tie while playing in a cup tie for Manchester City. When he finds out that Hannah is murdered by the IRA, he joins Interpol. Many years later his past catches up with him. He goes undercover for Interpol to take down the leader of the IRA named Albert Renneville. Renneville was responsible for ordering the hit that killed his Hannah. When Interpol puts Seamus undercover to catch Renneville, he joins bottom of the table Sheffield United, who haven’t won a Championship since the early 1900’s. When he arrives they are a shambles. To make his undercover story credible, Seamus must act like he cares about this club and turn this rag tag club into a bunch of winners, while enticing Renneville to fix Football matches. He also must teach a young upstart kid, named Mick Such how to become the star the Blades so desperately need. Seamus treats the kid, like an older brother teaching him some hard lessons along the way. Mick slowly improves and as Mick improves Sheffield United climb the table and challenge their arch rivals Sheffield Wednesday for the Championship and the FA Cup. When it is two rival clubs from the same town, challenging for two trophies, I have no choice but to call this movie Derby Double.
In every sports movie there is always that one moment, where the lead character must find a way to encourage his club to dig down deep and fight back. In the first half of the Derby final, Sheffield Wednesday have torched United and lead by two goals. At half time, Seamus O’Brien gives that speech and there is a small story behind it. The idea for this speech came from a true story. Another Irishman named Danny Blanchflower gave a similar speech to Tottenham Hotspurs when they were underdogs to the great Athletico Madrid. The irony of this speech is that Danny wasn’t supposed to play in that match. Tony Marchi was, but Marchi was hurt, so Manager Bill Nicholson brought the club skipper into the side. Before the match, Blanchflower gave a very colorful speech in which he told each player in the side that he was better than the man he was facing that night. I didn’t copy the speech, only the idea of it. Seamus’ speech may not be as colorful, but it is no less passionate. Here is the scene.
INT: UNITED DRESSING ROOM-DAY
COX punches the door open and chucks his gloves at the wall and beats his locker.
I’m gonna kick that thick headed sod in the mouth if he styles in
front of me one more fucking time!
Willie! Simmer lad!
HOPE consoles his players one by one.
We’ve lost. Next year.
SEAMUS pounds Broadley’s locker door. BROADLEY jumps from the fright of it. SEAMUS opens BROADLEY’S locker and packs his kit bag and shoves it at him.
Go on. Take your flipping kit bag and go home.
SEAMUS moves slowly and deliberately down the row of his downtrodden teammates. He looks at them with an intense stare.
We won the Championship. There’s only one better prize in this beautiful game. That’s right here and right now on this stage.
ELIZABETH ENTERS MICK listens and grins. He knows what’s coming. SEAMUS, a hard stare into LLEWELLAN.
Llewellan do you know who my favorite player was?
LLEWELLAN, a shrug.
SEAMUS incredulous at the thought.
Here! Ian Rush is one of Wales Legends.
That’s fine for you, you’re Welsh. I took a different route and not Northern Irish. English. Alan Ball was my favorite. I grew up watching him. I played against him once. Do you know that man had courage, desire and the heart of a lion. Everton won a Championship with him. He won a World Cup winners Medal here in…
DAYKEN, astonished MICK knew that.
Drilled into my head.
Very good Mick. Alan fought for every ball he won. He won back every ball he lost. When others ran down, Alan ran on and on until the job was done. You lot aren’t playing like him! You act as if it’s Barcelona out there. This is Wednesday. Dayken! Wheeler isn’t Neville Southall, Such! Muckwith is hardly Lothar Matthaus. He’s more like Doug Rougvie.
MEAKEN busts laughing.
I see you got that one Teddy. A little Center Half humor there. Cox! You’ve beaten Sherwood and Ownby before. They can’t beat you. Not even on their best day. Think that. Breathe it. Sherwood’s not Pele. Well…actually nobody could be Pele.
Snickers from each player.
This is our Derby rival out there. It should piss you off that you’re two goals down to them. I know it pisses me off. Now some of you lot can sit there and pack it in like Broadley, but not me. I want another winners medal and I’m going to win the fucking thing if I have to break my kneecap again to do it.
SEAMUS laces his boots, tugs up his socks and he’s all business.
That gives you an idea of my Sports Ra Ra speech. I worked on this scene for eleven drafts, tossing stuff that didn’t work and bringing in stuff that I thought would enhance it. This is what it looks like now. It gets the team fired up. Mick leads the club in a United chant, one by one each player joins in. They follow Seamus out of the dressing room and down the tunnel back onto the Wembley pitch. Seamus refuses to join in until he reaches the Sheffield United supporters end. Seeing the club pumped up has given the supporters hope. The supporters begin a rousing chant throughout the stadium drowning out the Wednesday fans. With all that noise and Sheffield United’s crowd all pumped up, the Blades come storming back in the second half. Seamus sets up a hatrick for Mick and they beat their Derby Rival 4-3.
I stole this comeback from the 1953 FA Cup Final. With Blackpool 3-1 down top Bolton Wanderers at half time. Stanley Matthews(One of the greatest Wingers of all time), literally tore Bolton to shreds and set up Stan Mortensen’s for a hatrick. That final has a fitting name. It’s called the Matthews final. Sometimes sports stories are fiction, and can be hard to believe. The Natural comes to mind. Some stories can lead to the possibility that they could happen. This is how, this one ends with a glorious speech firing up a team’s dreams to glory. In the end, Seamus finds his passion again and discovers new dreams to follow.