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The Show
Well I may as well say straight up, I am not the biggest of sports fans. I do enjoy live basketball, tennis and football games when I can, but overall I am not much of an overall sports fan. More so, soccer has never really grabbed me. I use to enjoy playing in school but I could never really get into it as a spectator. This puts the review of this title in a little bit of jeopardy as it could suffer from my lack of knowledge or interest in the game. Even my miniscule knowledge ends at the Olympic level so the FA cup is something that usually sails right over my head. With this in mind I’ll do my best to be fair and judge the quality of the package and not the sport it represents.

Magic of The FA Cup: Manchester United
It is safe to say immediately that fans of Manchester United will more than likely love this set. The highlights and the profiles go back a very long way and lead all the way to modern days. This set contains three documentaries. Actually they are less so documentaries than they are a collection of highlights from standout games, players and the goals. What probably give them their documentary status is the fact that a narrator introduces each game or player and give little background to each topic.

The first documentary, entitled The Greatest Games, is a 90 minute collection of highlights from a total of eight games across twenty years. Some games are from various rounds within the season, and of course the others are from the finals. Finals games include the Semi Final against Arsenal in 1999, the final against Chelsea in 1994 and a replay of the final against Brighton in 1983.

As previously mentioned fans of the club will love revisiting some of these games. The fact that this is just highlights may actually make the set easier to appreciate for non soccer fans such as myself. Seeing only the best of each game will help make the games a little more exciting. Problem is, this game would not be here if they lose. There is still a little fun to have though. That is at least the perspective of a non-fan. Fans will love to see the best of the best. If they saw the games originally, fans will love to see some of the highlights which include a goal at the last minute to win and from what we are told the defeat of the team’s bitter rivals. It’s a tidy collection.

The second documentary is less of a doco and more a collection of profiles of some of the standout players. Each player gets a few moments where their career is broken down and their achievements within the club outlined. Clocking in at 78 minutes, that is a lot of profiles. If memory serves there are almost 50 players included, which is not so bad considering we go back almost fifty years. Some of the players listed on the case are Bryan Robson, Phil Neville, Teddy Sheringham and of course the great David Beckham.

This is a little more adjustable for people who are not fans of either the club or the sport. It gives them a chance to catch up on the club which may make repeated viewing of the game highlights a possibility. However, this collection of profiles is ideal for people who may have only recently become fans as it will familiarise you with the history and may very well save you from silence during a chat about the club. So overall this is quite a tidy feature that needless to say will go over very well with current fans.

Magic of The FA Cup: Manchester United
Now for probably the most accessible feature in the set: The second disk plays host to The Ultimate Goals which is a set of over 90 classic goals dating back as far as the 1940s. At over 70mins, this feature could get boring as when you get goal after goal the flare sort of goes, but again those fans will probably love having a record of them. Us newcomers may have fun with some of these goals which sometimes are great and enjoyable. But in the end, if you are not familiar with the club, they really are just goals. They won’t blow you away. But there is fun to be had.

When the ABC actually conceived this set, they must have taken into a count that new fans or even people who have never seen a game may be watching because everything is filled in by a narrator and only the most essential bits are here. This is a plus for newcomers as it familiarises them with the club, and it is a plus for fans as well because the disk apparently delivers the best of the best in terms of highlights and you get the full story from the narrator. As someone who has probably only sat through a complete soccer game once, this was an interesting set to browse through so it scores a few points, but fans will love it I am sure.

The entire DVD is presented in a 1.33:1 full screen presentation. The quality of the video really depends on the footage being shown. Some of the really old footage from the 40s-60s is what you would expect, fuzzy and bubbly (in an artefact sense of course). The 70s and 80s footage all seemed fairly well cleaned up. Although you can’t expect perfection from old television broadcasting, the footage from this era is grainy, but otherwise very impressive. What more is there to say? The recent footage appears as any sporting coverage appears on television. Overall it’s hard to score this because of the different sources. A score of 5 would usually apply due to the up and down condition of the video depending on the age, but with the 80s footage in particular looking quite nice it gains a point.

Magic of The FA Cup: Manchester United
All documentaries are presented in 2.0 Dolby Stereo. It is adequate enough for this set. All games are very clear with the commentaries being crisp and the crowd noise present, but well balanced without being overpowering. There is interference, but when you are talking about footage captured for television, you can’t be too harsh. The footage which is nearly 50 years old contains a fair bit of static which is to be expected. The 80s footage again surprised, with some top notch work done to restore the sound to peak efficiency. If you have Pro-Logic equipped you may get some crowd sounds leaking out your surrounds, but don’t hope for much. All in all the sound is totally acceptable or this type of coverage.

Not really. The game highlights are kind of the main feature with the player and goal features being closer to what you can call extra features. But they all form together to make the overall package of highlights and history so there arent really any extras present on this one. A zero score because extras do not apply.

This is a hard set to review when you have little interest in soccer, but this little highlights compilation will get anyone up to date on some of the clubs history as well as provide some very good footage for fans to enjoy. Even if you have no interest in soccer, you should be able to find something you like such as the goals which you can just browse through quickly. What else is there to say? For fans it is a must, for others, well it’s not all bad should your Manchester United fan friends make you watch it sometime. The presentation varies depending on the age of the footage being shown, but the recent footage appears quite nice. Overall, a totally rich and plentiful set that will delight fans. Reactions may vary for non-fans.