Editor’s note: Fox Soccer Channel will air the new documentary Blue Moon Rising commercial-free on Wednesday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, with an encore presentation on Friday, May 13 at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. The U.S. TV debut follows a group of Manchester City fans (including former Oasis front man Noel Gallagher), players and club executives through the 2009-10 season. The following is a review of the film from Kartik Krishnaiyer.
Blue Moon Rising will make its Fox Soccer Channel/United States TV debut on May 11th. The Endemol produced film takes viewers through a season with Manchester City Football Club through the eyes of three sets of passionate fans. The film is based around the 2009/2010 Manchester City season, a year which saw the Blues ultimately fall short of their two key goals which were to qualify for the UEFA Champions League and to play in a Wembley Final.
The filmmakers were given unprecedented access to the club and its top players. The likes of Craig Bellamy, Emmanuel Adebayor and Carlos Tevez play starring roles in the film as do several City supporters and their significant others. The other main character is “Helios,” the trusty vehicle that transports the featured City supporters across the country.
The film begins with City raising the 1976 League Cup trophy, the club’s last major honor before the 2008 takeover by Abu Dhabi based investors led by Sheik Mansour. The dilapidated training facilities and club’s difficulty meeting the wage bill were evidence of a well-supported club lacking the sort investment that was needed to sustain any level of ambition.
As the film unfolds we see incredible scenes of supporters and poignant moments such as Adebayor’s celebration after scoring versus Arsenal as well as Carlos Tevez’s spat with Gary Neville during the League Cup semifinal. But perhaps the neatest moments in the film are the reconstructions of three classic city games and the fan reactions to them: the matches featured are the 1976 League Cup final (vs Newcastle), the 1981 FA Cup Final (vs Spurs) and the 1999 Second Division Playoff Final (vs Gillingham).
We also see the fan reactions to the occasional highs and many lows of supporting City in real time. The reaction to the sacking of Mark Hughes and loss to Spurs in the Champions League decider are presented in an un-sanitized fashion. Disappointment comes with supporting City and this shines through in the film.
While the film features MCFC, it could be about any English based football club and it’s most passionate supporters. For many outside of England, this film provides a window into why the culture of English football has won the hearts of so many fans abroad, even if/when the standard of play is judged to be superior in other countries or leagues. During the course of the film, whether you support City or not, you will feel the emotions of the featured fans in their daily lives, including interacting with United fans on the job during the week, and with one another at Eastlands or on the road on matchday.
The reconstructions of historic past City games are also well worth the hour and a half sacrifice to watch the film. You get a sense from lifetime club supporters of the exhilaration of Wembley finals combined with the depths of despair that has followed City before and after those matches.
Blue Moon Rising is a must watch for any fan of English football. It debuts on Fox Soccer Channel, Wednesday May 11th at 8pm ET. Fox Soccer Channel will also show Manchester City against Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday, May 10 at 2:30pm ET, and the FA Cup Final featuring Manchester City against Stoke City on Saturday, May 14th at 10am ET.
Kartik Krishnaiyer, who has been a Manchester City supporter for years, is the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League and a longtime contributor to EPL Talk.com