Read ROBIN FRIDAY text version


Feature length screenplay outline by

Irvine Welsh & Dean Cavanagh

from the best selling sports book of the same name by

Paolo Hewitt & Paul McGuigan

"Robin Friday was an exceptional footballer who should have played for England.

He never did. Robin Friday was a brilliant player who could have played in the top flight. He never did. Why? Because Robin Friday was a man who would not bow down to anyone, who refused to take life seriously and who lived every moment as if it were his last. For anyone lucky enough to have seen him play, Robin Friday was up there with the greats. Take it from one who knows: 'There is no doubt in my mind that if someone had taken a chance on him he would have set the top division alight,' says the legendary Stan Bowles. 'He could have gone right to the top, but he just went off the rails a bit.' Loved and admired by everyone who saw him, Friday also had a dark side: troubled, strong-minded, reckless, he would end up destroying himself. Tragically, after years of alcohol and drug abuse, he died at the age of 38 without ever having fulfilled his potential". - Hewitt & McGuigan


Paul 'Guigsy' McGuigan is the former bassist in Oasis. While on tour with the band in America, Guigsy came across a magazine article about Robin Friday and was inspired to find out more about the genius maverick player. This book and film is the result of his investigations. Paolo Hewitt is the author of several bestselling books, including The Looked After Kid, Heaven's Promise, The Fashion of Football, and biographies on Oasis, Paul Weller and The Jam. He is also features editor at Watch magazine. Irvine Welsh is a world famous author and screenwriter who achieved notoriety with the adaptation of his cult novel "Trainspotting", that went on to launch the careers of Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle and director Danny Boyle. Dean Cavanagh is an award winning screenwriter and has worked alongside Irvine Welsh for the last decade working on film, TV and online projects.

OUTLINE There cannot be many footballers who never played in the top flight of the game who have a had a biography written about them that went on to sell throughout the world, but Robin Friday did, and now we believe it is time to immortalize the man on the big screen. In this feature we intend to make a high octane, rock & roll version of one extraordinary man's life, that is both tragic, entertaining, funny and a snapshot of a time when professional footballers weren't multimillionaires that could hold their clubs to ransom. A cross between `The Damned United', `24 Hour Party People' and `Trainspotting our film aims to bring a larger than life character's amazing story to an even wider audience than the book did. We start our story with a 38 year old man falling through the air in slow motion, and like a punk rock ballet dancer he cuts through the atmosphere. Falling from grace? Falling to hell? Falling to earth? We don't know. All we know is that this man is special or we wouldn't be seeing historical newspaper clippings and B&W TV reports of him scoring goals. This man is a flawed genius who had the world at his feet but he kicked it out of play and concentrated instead on hedonism. We go back into his life story; his unremarkable working class childhood, his rebellious streak, his luck with the girls, his love of football, his rites of passage. We


hone in on him as one amongst many in the gangs of factory fodder youth kicking their heels in UK's humdrum satellite towns. A name and number headed for either the eternal factory line, the growing dole queues or a life crime. This is the "No Future" 1970's that Johnny Rotten railed against. This is a country in cultural flux. Mod was once king, Glam's dying and now rock is being hijacked by the punk brigade. There's a so called "socialist" government making major fuck-up's on a monumental scale, a crass Silver Jubilee for the "beloved" Queen on the horizon, The National Front marching, industrial unrest, football hooligans on the rampage, riots and crimes against fashion. Into this strange and volatile brew steps forth a man who embodies the schizophrenia in the air. Robin Friday is Rock & Roll made flesh: "A street walking cheetah with a heart full of napalm". He's Keith Richards without the guitar. He's Che without the beret and ideology. He's Sid Vicious without the swastika and he's George Best at his worst. If Pele epitomizes all that is graceful about the beautiful game, Robin Friday is the flip side of the coin. He's the dark underbelly of unsporting behaviour. He's the big FUCK YOU to FIFA! Robin Friday is...Robin Friday! A one - off. A genius. As we cut back to his story we see him swagger, stagger and stampede his way from non league to low league football and become a crazy horse phenomenon that nobody dare even attempt to try and harness and turn into a championship runner. We explore Robin's formative years and see that a "true rebel" is born not moulded. Robin has been given a gift, he's blessed with ball control and a sixth sense on how to play the game. He takes the gift for granted though and isn't interested in toeing the line and becoming an exemplary professional. Booze, drugs, cigarettes, music and women are far more attractive to Robin than knuckling down and becoming a "team player". Robin is first and foremost an individual, he's going to live his life through his rules...and his rules are that there aren!t any rules. We see Robin's life take on an ever more anarchic pattern. Using documentary TV and


Radio coverage sliced with the cultural events of the era and flashbacks to pivotal points in Friday's life, we build a picture of man on a mission to do whatever the fuck he likes at all costs. We focus in on his relationships with family, lovers, friends and enemies. We highlight both his frustrations and the frustrations of those who cared for him and really just wanted to help him achieve his full potential. We see the highs and lows of Robin's life as he plays at Cardiff and Reading. We see how the fans react to him (they love him!) and how this is contrasted by his unrelenting habit of rubbing up against authority figures. Robin's charm starts to burn through and it becomes easy to sympathize with a man who only ever truly craved total freedom. The arrogance and rebelliousness he portrays is soon explained as a defence mechanism. Robin is loveable and vunerable but simply cannot turn away from the path of self destruction that he is on. It soon becomes apparent that Robin Friday is actually really fearful of "success" and we spend time exploring why it frightens him so much. We frame Robin's era by jumping forward into the future in a flash forward sequence to 2011. Robin Friday is earning millions and would be receiving wise counsel from whichever club was lucky enough to have his services. We see him surrounded by agents, advisors, accountants and club representatives all giving him clear headed advice. We then see him playing for a big club like Chelsea, Man U or Liverpool and see that no matter what advice he is receiving, Robin Friday is Robin Friday no matter what era and as he scores an amazing goal he drops his shorts, moons the opposition fans and then gives them the "fingers" much to the shock of the SKY Sports commentators. We finally find out the reason that Robin Friday is scared of success. With success comes responsibility and it is responsibility that he's ultimately frightened by. He simply doesn't feel that he can let anyone rely on him. We achieve this by delving into Robin's thoughts and muses. His intelligence is vast and sharp and finely tuned and he is fundamentally a very sensitive soul. In one episode we see Robin step out of his body and watch himself as an observer. Even though he finds his own behaviour distasteful, once back inside his body he continues to self destruct.


Robin's sense of humour is legendary, so too are his practical jokes. We make the most of these and reveal a genuinely funny man who's outlook on life veers between nihilism and zen Buddhism. Robin's many lovers are portrayed as long suffering, but once we delve deeper we see that none of them would have chosen not to have had him in their lives. They are wistfully exasperated rather than bitter and angry with him. They all genuinely fell in love with a man who fundamentally didn't want to be loved because love equates with responsibility. His worse nightmare.

This is a biopic with a difference: fast paced, comedic, touching, non linear and scored

with the spirit of Robin's beloved rock & roll, The Greatest Footballer You Never Saw will be the football equivalent of 24 Hour Party People crossed with Trainspotting and The Damned United. Sex, drugs, football, Rock & Roll and wasted talent! What's there not to get excited about?



5 pages

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