The Three Kings. A feature film around three of the greatest managers, not just Scotland but the world has ever produced. Those being, Matt Busby, Bill Shankley and Jock Stein.
The documentary, created by BAFTA-winning director, Jonny Owen, covers the lives of these three greats in the game, over their long and illustrious careers at some of the most successful clubs in the world, which truly began under their reign.
This film covers the story of these three men in chronological order, and it is clear to see, that they all lived a similar life around the same era. All coming from within 30 miles of each other, they began their lives in the coal mines, before moving to football, all around the time of the war.
You wouldn’t say the three were known as the greatest football players in the world, starting at clubs such as Manchester City (who weren’t the club we know they are today), Carlise United and Albion Rovers. Still, they all had a passion for the game and that continued over the years into their management careers.
Of course, many will all know the story of Jock Stein. It was very different times, Catholics and protestants were on entirely different sides of the divide, so when he played for Celtic, that was seen as something that wasn’t of the norm back then. It was very similar when it came to management, which Jock found out the hard way.
The movie displays what Stein had to go through to get to the position he was eventually most known for. Being told he will only ever be able to manage as high as Celtic reserves. So he went away and worked his way back at Dunfermline and Hibernian, proving his worth.
When he did make his way into the top job at the club, the success was there for almost the very beginning. He built a side capable of winning everything that was to offer in Scotland and even across the globe.
When you mention Stein, your first thought is instantly the Lisbon Lions and in the film, there is some incredible footage throughout of that day in Lisbon, on the field and off the field. This has been and always will be known as one of the greatest days in the club’s history and I would encourage anyone to watch, even for this footage alone, as it really gives you a greater insight into how big and great a day this was for Celtic Football Club as a whole.
You could see the respect that both of these legendary managers such as Shankley and Busby, at massive clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool, had for Stein and his side, with Sir Matt presenting the Sports Personality of the year award that year to Jock and his side, which could have inspired Busby’s own, United side to go and lift the same trophy just the following year. It was also revealed that Shankley was at the game that day in Lisbon and the way he spoke of Jock and his team, really showed the respect he had.
Throughout, we see the troubles these men had to face during their time in football. Whether that be things such as the Munich Air disaster or Jock still having a section of the support taking a dislike to him because of religion. Whilst also having to deal with the forever changing lives of these three massive UK Cities and the people within them.
Despite these hardships, they continued to make memories that would last a lifetime for all the supporters of these clubs and created even more dynasties which just showed their extreme love of the game.
The part that hit hardest from this documentary, was towards the end in the scenes on the day that Jock sadly passed away, after managing Scotland in a World Cup qualifier against Wales. You could see how hard it hit everyone and how loved he was. The likes of Sir Alex Ferguson speaking about the matter, Graeme Souness in tears and fans extremely upset at the news. He was a well-loved man and the day he died was a tragedy.
Now that all men have sadly passed on, for a considerable amount of years now, it really does show you the incredible impact they had on clubs. Without figures like Stein, we wouldn’t have the club we all know and love today. And that goes for the likes of Busby and Shankly too.
This docu-film, tells the story of these three men, who lived their lives for football in a beautiful way that all football fans will love.
Having been lucky enough, to catch it early I would highly recommend watching this film when it released in cinemas from this weekend, Sunday the 1st of November or when it comes out on digital platforms and DVD on the 16th of November.
Watch the preview below: