Since 2010, when I first started producer-directing documentaries for the Manchester United TV Channel MUTV, Lou Macari is just one of my boyhood heroes whom I have had the great pleasure of getting to know.
There are a few qualities that set little Lou apart from the crowd. This pint-sized superstar is a rare Scotsman who does not drink. His 1977 FA Cup Final winning goal that took a deflection off Jimmy Greenhoff ultimately denied Liverpool the Treble. How many players have starred for Celtic, Manchester United and in a World Cup for Scotland and then gone on to win trophies as a manager with Swindon Town, Stoke City and Birmingham.
Off the field he has endured unbearable personal tragedies. Just before his appearance in the 1978 World Cup his mother died when she overdosed on tablets. In 1999 his youngest of three sons Jonathan committed suicide after being released by Nottingham Forest.
In between those tragedies his managerial career was threatened when he was fined for his minor involvement in a betting scandal and was then cleared of tax fraud. It is a huge testament to the man that while he was under the cloud of a possible prison sentence he took over as manager of Stoke City and made what he describes as his “best signing” when he appointed sacked circus clown Neil ‘Nello’ Baldwin as The Potters’ kitman.
The true story of ‘Nello’ inspired the script for the Marvellous drama that is a richly deserved legacy for a football legend with a genuine heart of gold.