Different League: The Derry City Story – 19 April 2021 – 19/4/2021 – Monday – BBC Two
The Brandywell was one of the poorest areas in Europe and home to Derry City Football Club. In the shadow of the civil rights movement and the Troubles, the club managed to keep playing – until the team bus of Ballymena United was caught up in the violence, taken away and burned. Derry City FC was banned from playing at home and eventually out of business.
In 1984, the city needed a saviour. Tony O’Doherty was a Northern Ireland international who had played against England at Wembley. He teamed up with another international, Terry Harkin, and two other professionals Eddie Mahon and Eamonn McLaughlin, to become the Gang of Four who challenged the status quo. They made it their goal to get senior football back in their hometown.
With repeated rebuffs from the Irish League in Belfast to their requests to gain re-entry, the four lads decided to take their footballing revolution south to the League of Ireland in Dublin.
This film charts the emotional journey of how in 1985, after 13 years in the wilderness, football returned to the Brandywell. The club would go on to lift both silverware and the spirits of the city, unleashing a carnival of hope, pride and optimism.
Featuring interviews with the Gang of Four, rare archive footage and memories of the faithful supporters, the film portrays an inspirational group of people who made their dreams come true. The rollercoaster took their club and community from the depths of despair to footballing nirvana, landing a historic domestic treble in the League of Ireland. It would culminate with the arrival of football royalty with Sven-Goran Eriksson bringing his Benfica team of superstars into the heart of the Bogside for a European Cup tie.
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