A must watch documentary for all Sligo Rovers fans and League of Ireland fans has been uploaded to YouTube this week.
Shine is a documentary made by Michael and Oisin Moran. It’s a 35-minute-deep dive into what the club of Sligo Rovers means to the community and people within Sligo.
It offers fantastic production values and leaves plenty of room for further editions, if that’s something the Moran lads are keen to do in the future.
This would make for some perfect evening time viewing for any Bit o Red fans.
A documentary like this really works for a club like Sligo Rovers.
They are an ideal model of how a fan owned club should be ran in the League of Ireland. The town itself is full of passionate fans that greatly support any fundraising events and opportunities.
Shine would be an enjoyable watch for all League of Ireland fans really. We can all relate to the impact our clubs have on us and the surrounding community.
League of Ireland fans have been lucky enough, there is a good number of well-made documentaries regarding the league available to us.
Out of Their League, The Rise of the Rebel Army, In League with Gaddafi, Derry City: European Odyssey and of course, The Return of the Rod Squad. These are just some of the rich and detailed documentary films/series about notable figure and moments in time from the past.
Most of the documentaries above can be found on YouTube for free and many more are out there for fans to hunt down.
What LOI Documentaries Would You Like To See?
However, 2021 marks 100years since the inaugural A Division.
So, there is a lot of history available and plenty of stories still to be adapted for the small screen.
So, let us here at the Big Kick Off pitch just some League of Ireland documentaries we would love to see.
We will be only throwing out five possible ideas today.
This is to stop little old me from going on an endless tangent. Plus, we also want to hear what League of Ireland documentaries you guys and gals would like to see. So, please do let us know down in the comment section below.
Yes, let’s throw in some names with these documentary pitches too.
Starting off with one particularly close to my heart. It’s St. Patricks Athletic winning the FAI Cup in 2014 after 53 years of hurt.
Now, this one has been somewhat covered by the club itself. They released a DVD about that fateful evening in the Aviva Stadium not long after.
However, this one could go a little bit deeper.
Before 2014, St. Pats last won the FAI Cup in 1961. The Saints beat Drumcondra 2-1 in Dalymount Park to claim their second FAI Cup. The first coming two years prior in 1959, beating Waterford 2-1 in a replay.
Since then, St. Patrick’s competed in seven finals, losing all seven of them.
It was a long wait and interviews with old players, managers and fans could really illustrate that.
I was lucky enough to be at the 2014 final after witnessing three FAI Cup final defeats myself. The release of delight was evident on the face of every Pats fan. Looking into the eyes of older fans it was more a sight of disbelief.
Many of them thought they wouldn’t live to see the day St. Pats would lift the famous trophy again. There is a beautiful story to be told in that, highlighting the trials and tribulations that come with a lifetime of fandom that we all can relate with.
The tragic passing of Ryan McBride was one that hit everyone involved with the league like a truck.
Ryan McBride was somebody that was the idea of what we all think the perfect League of Ireland player should be.
A local Derry man that played and captained his side. He wore that famous jersey with pride and is beloved by everyone in Derry because of that.
This could show his rise to prominence with Derry City and how he developed into the commanding on-field figure we all remember.
Everyone that had the pleasure to meet Ryan will talk about his kind nature, contrasting his hard-man reputation on the pitch.
Speaking to the people that knew him best would paint a picture of a talented individual taking far too soon.
His impact on Derry City can still be felt with every visit to the appropriately named Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium. It was a community in mourning and Ryan McBride’s death really shook the club to its core.
While he is still missed, there is a tale of perseverance to be told.
Despite one of their own suddenly passing away, Derry managed to qualify for Europe during the 2017 season.
Ryan may be gone, but he’ll never be forgotten. His memory still lives on in the hearts of everyone in Derry. His presence can still be felt with the Ryan McBride Foundation.
A heart-breaking tale, but one that could be beautifully done to honour one of the greats.
Old School Blues
I know, some of these names will be terrible.
This one would please the older Waterford fans amongst us.
We have seen plenty of sides become dominant forces when it comes to winning consecutive league titles.
Shamrock Rovers in the 80s and Dundalk winning five titles in six years from 2014 until 2019 are just some well-known examples.
However, one of the more highly regarded runs of superiority is when Waterford ruled the roost in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
Waterford won six league titles in eight seasons, starting with the 1965/66 campaign up until the 1972/73 season.
While it is ultimately a story of success, it does have other layers to it.
The first title on this impress run was the clubs first league title overall.
Other stories within that eight-season spell include overcoming Dundalk to win their second title in 1968 and winning their first consecutive title the following season.
With this domestic success also guarantees European football.
Waterford played Manchester United in the first round of the 1968/69 European Cup, a competition the English side won the year before. Along with other notable teams like Galatasaray and Celtic around this time.
Some archive footage, newspaper reports, and interviews could really make fans young and old relive this excellent eight season spell.
Those Forgotten Few
Time to chuck a documentary series into the mix.
One thing our league sadly isn’t short on is forgotten clubs that have falling by the wayside.
There are written series to be found on this topic but putting them on video could make things more engaging for some.
These could be used as cautionary tales in some cases and nice hints of nostalgia with others.
Clubs like Monaghan United, Kilkenny City, St. James Gate, Sporting Fingal, Thurles Town, and Kildare County are just some that could be up for consideration.
The rise and fall of these sides in the league would certainly be of interest to many. Along with the individual stories from behind the scenes that come with running a football club.
You could link it in with modern times to make it relevant.
While we all want to see sides from the likes of Mayo, Kerry, and Tipperary in the league. A discussion could be raised about the long-term viability of that, especially in counties that are more known for their GAA ventures.
In fairness, for some bizarre reason if content is running low, you could do an entire season on the many different aliases of Cork throughout the decades.
The Colours They Wore
Retro jerseys are one of the more sought-after things in world football today.
The kits from yesteryear are seemingly more popular than your modern-day ones, with some going for a hefty price tag too.
These old-school crackers can be somewhat hard to come by in our league and barely any clubs tend to sell retro styled merchandise.
You might get lucky on eBay or your club may be selling some limited-edition items for an anniversary of some description.
Most fans would welcome the sight of classic shirts on their team’s online store. Some of these jerseys do have a story to tell and get us all warm and fuzzy with nostalgia.
Track down fans, retro jersey connoisseurs and players that donned these famous stripes and talk about these stories in another documentary series.
Whether it be Cork City’s title winning away jersey in 1992/93, Bohemians double winning away jersey from 2000/01 or the beauty St. Pats wore in the 2014 FAI Cup final.
These jerseys conjure up images and historic moments in fans heads.
It’s in the DNA of football fans to be crazy about jerseys. Even asking a fan about their favourite jersey suddenly turns into an entire conversation.
So, we’d love to see that passion be turned into a documentary project.
Give players and fans a chance to reminisce about their favourite shirts. Even let an enthusiastic collector show of what they got.
The history behind the shirts and how they came to be is always something that fascinates the masses.