16 Aug 2022

WATCH: 'The Derry City story' hits Brunswick Moviebowl next week

BBC documentary looks back on Derry City's entry to the League of Ireland

The production team behind Different League: The Derry City Story is delighted to announce the a one-week cinema run of the extended 82-minute feature documentary at Derry’s Brunswick Moviebowl from September 9th to 15th 2021.

The new cinema version of Different League: The Derry City Story goes into much more depth, seeking to understand how the Candystripes managed to defy the border in 1985.

In the attached video clip, Eamonn McCann discusses how Gang of Four stalwarts Terry Harkin and Tony O’Doherty came from Creggan Estate. He argues that the resolve Creggan people had learnt when taking on the establishment was central to the Gang of Four’s success in getting football back to the city.

McCann says: “Defying authority was what we were good at. The sports editor of a national newspaper in Dublin said you know the problem with those boys is they have no respect. But that’s not the problem, that’s what makes them absolutely suited to this particular project!”

The film’s director Guy King thinks that Derry City succeeded in getting into the League of Ireland because the Gang of Four’s never-say-die spirit came at exactly the right time: “The idea of Derry City joining the League of Ireland wasn’t entirely new. It had been put forward in some quarters as early as the late 1970s. The difference in 1984 was that people had now had enough: there’d been the hunger strikes, the Falklands, Thatcher was in power, and the Troubles felt like they had set in for good. The city was ready for a ray of hope and sunshine.”

As Bishop Daly puts it in the film: ‘People are saying we can’t become hypnotised by this violence, there’s another way, there must be some other way’.

“Out of this climate emerged the so-called Gang of Four,” says King. “They weren’t politicians or religious leaders, they were different, they were a breath of fresh air, whose focus was simply getting football back to the city. And they had chutzpah, they weren’t begging the football authorities cap-in-hand – they were saying very firmly, this is our right, football is our human right.”

“Terry Harkin is one of the politest men you’ll ever meet, but when it comes to matters of right and wrong, he is a man of conviction. One turning point in the campaign was when Terry drove to Dublin and door-stepped an FAI meeting for several hours, followed a top official to his car and insisted to be heard. He explained that the people of Derry needed football, and they were willing to do anything it took to prove that they could host League of Ireland football in the city.”

Eventually the sunshine came. Derry got admitted to the League of Ireland in 1985. In the film, McCann reflects on what came next: “My memory of travelling to away matches, the sun was always shining, the sky was always blue, the weather was always welcoming.”

That’s the magic of Derry City’s Glory Years – even 35 years later when people look back, they have sunny rose-tinted memories, they put a smile on people’s faces.

The filmmakers hope to recreate those smiles and that sense of community in the Brunswick Moviebowl from September 9th to 15th. You can get your tickets at

To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.