We are United: The Story of MUDSA

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Filmed in Manchester, London & Barcelona. Year of Production: 2015.

Following the intimate personal stories of four remarkable individuals, documentary filmmaker John Gubba explores the world of disability and football. We are United: The Story of MUDSA is an emotional roller coaster celebrating the first 25 years of the world’s oldest Disabled Supporters’ Association. Featuring Phil Downs MBE, Alex Nield, Stephanie Bisceglia, Chas Banks and other prominent members of the Manchester United Disabled Supporters Association, this is an emotinally charged film that has won universal acclaim. The documentary premiered on the official Manchester United TV Channel, MUTV – broadcast to 101 countries – on 12 November 2015. Subsequently screened on the MarketPlayer at the world renowned Sheffield Documentary Film Festival in June 2016, the film has since been nominated for an RTS Award.

Producer Director John Gubba with eight-year-old Alex Nield,

Producer Director John Gubba with eight-year-old Alex Nield, at the preview screening in November 2015.

‘We Are United: The Story of MUDSA’  is a documentary commissioned by MUTV to celebrate the organisation’s 25th anniversary.

Directed by independent filmmaker John Gubba, who also produced and narrates the film, this one hour special tells the story of Mudsa through the eyes of its inspirational leader Phil Downs MBE and a strong supporting cast including Chas Banks, Stephanie Bisceglia, Kevin Peek and young Alex Nield, who was just eight years-old at the time. Alex has since become an internet star, his friendship with Juan Mata going viral.

Said Gubba: “I have cried more than once filming and watching some gut-wrenching scenes. We took Phil Downs back to the gymnasium at Hendon Police Training Academy where he broke his neck as an 18-year-old in the mid seventies. It was the first time Phil had been back in that room.

“When young Alex Nield was born with cerebral palsy, his parents were told he would never walk or talk. Watching him learn to walk has been another emotional experience. In this film I have focused on the incredible abilities and achievements of a remarkable group of characters. And I hope that viewers will have a better understanding of what Mudsa is all about by sharing their stories.”

Sir Alex Ferguson, whose PA Lyn Laffin helped get Mudsa started back in 1989, contributes some fascinating insights and talks passionately about the achievements of the organisation. There are also appearances by Wayne Rooney, David de Gea, Juan Mata, Bryan Robson, Martin Buchan and David Gill.

Phil Downs receives MBE from the Queen in 2004

Phil Downs receives MBE from the Queen in 2004