Film and football fans joined together at the Movie House cinema on Dublin Road last night to celebrate the world premiere of feature documentary Spirit of ’58.
A labour of love for local filmmakers, writer/director Evan Marshall and cameraman/editor Ben Price, Spirit of ’58 was rapturously received by a sell-out crowd of more than 300, some of whom were old enough to remember the team’s heroics but many of those present were discovering the remarkable story for the first time.
The film tells the largely forgotten story of the Northern Ireland football team’s journey to the World Cup Finals of 1958, and their progress through to the quarter finals of the tournament when only fatigue and injuries to key players prevented them progressing further.
The heroic story of this uniquely blessed squad of players, led by the peerless Danny Blanchflower, is one which takes in the Munich Air Disaster, a fight against Sabbath Observers within the IFA who tried to stop them going to the tournament in Sweden and a violent win-or-bust struggle against Italy to qualify for the tournament.
In his opening address, Evan Marshall thanked the many people who had raised money through various means to ensure the film was completed, including his wife and sister-in-law, as well as various individuals and local football organisations who helped raise awareness of the film and helped with raising funds.