To football fans in the United Kingdom, the name Brian Clough needs no introduction or building up. Thanks to the release of The Damned United in 2009 his name got noticed outside of Britain, I Believe in Miracles is the perfect follow up to that movie, a sort of explanation as to why there has been a film and documentary about the man and his charges.
Director Jonny Owen assembles members of the great Nottingham Forest (always Notingham, never Notts) side of the late 1970s, interviews the key players and gets brilliant anecdotes out of them. Concurrently he offers up archive footage and a bitch funky period musical score. Clough is the leader, whose mantra is not one of assembling super stars, but of actually putting a team of men together and asking them to work hard, believe in themselves and be all that they can be. This is not Hollywood, every inch of this doc is true, no artistic licence here.
The team is a mixture of smokers and jokers, drinkers and jinkers, cloggers and sloggers all responding to Clough’s (and his equally important side-kick Peter Taylor) less than normal football training and management methods. Everything here goes against the grain of today’s football managers, I mean what manager today would run his men through nettles and then go for a pint with them afterwards?! Players smoking at half time, surely not? Wonderful. This is a true underdog story, a film for footie fans to rejoice in – regardless of who any of us in our tribal leanings support in British football. 9/10