Damned United Film and the Irony of its Pre-Launch Publicity

I’m a football fan. Have been for some time. And I’m looking forward to seeing the new film about Brian Clough. The reviews are encouraging. And the exerpts have seen make it sound like it will be an entertaining hour and a half well spent.

The publicity surrounding this film has been bubbling for a few weeks now. And it offers a great example of how confrontation can be used with great effect to generate massive publicity, curiosity and ultimately bums on seats,

Nigel Clough says he and his family will not watch the film ‘The Damned United’ when it comes out next week.

Based on the book about his dad Brian’s 44 days at Leeds in 1974, Derby manager Clough says the story has upset members of his family, including his mother.

“The book deeply upset a lot of people when it came out, including my mum,” Clough told BBC Radio Derby.

“I’ll go with the principle that if the film is based on the book, we won’t be going down the road of seeing it.”


Former players have also been quoted (although this is a bit tenuous in my book – from The Sun)

… he will not be sitting down to watch The Damned United.

Pearce, whose side have a friendly in Norway tomorrow night, said: “You could learn a great deal from him. He was such a strong character. Respect

“You bump into people and some of Brian Clough rubs off on all of us.

“If you asked Martin O’Neill, Brian Laws or Roy Keane they would have nothing but respect for the man.

“My lads are free to go to the pictures on Sunday so if they want to see it they are more than welcome. Personally I won’t.

“I haven’t read the book either. I worked with him for eight years so I don’t need to read a book about Brian Clough.


So, ready for some irony? The Clough family and players who feel agrieved by the film have generated more publicity than any film promoter could have achieved on their own.

They set out to tell people that they didn’t think the book or film represented the father/manager they knew. Fair enough.

But how many more people will now watch this film than would have if they hadn’t helped to generate publicity for it by voicing their disapproval?

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