Dan Burdett talked to the daughter of United legend Dennis Viollet, Rachel, about the forthcoming documentary about the former striker.
Thanks for the interview. Firstly, how did the idea for the Dennis Viollet Documentary Film start off?
I’ve always thought my father’s story was interesting considering his career in England then coming to America where he helped pioneer the game. Two and a half years ago I moved to Los Angeles, and started to pursue the documentary more seriously. I met some very talented filmmakers who wanted to help, and everything started coming together. I’m looking forward to producing a film that will honor my father’s legacy.
How has the filming of the Documentary been going so far?
It’s going really well. We have interviewed many United legends, friends and family of my fathers. This summer we will finish the rest of the interviews which will consist mainly of the people who knew him in America.
We have seen that you have interviewed a number of big Manchester United Legends for the Documentary, how did you find interviewing them and what they had to say about Dennis?
They were fabulous interviews. I got the sense that my dad was a player’s player….they had a lot of respect for him on and off the pitch.
The film has been funded through supporters’ donations to the film. For fans who have who would like to donate to the film how can they do this?
The supporters have been wonderful. We are still raising funding for post-production. If anyone would like to make a donation they can go to:
What did Manchester United mean to Dennis and also what does it mean to you and your family?
My father loved playing for United. Those years had more impact on him than any other period of his life. It means a lot to our family, although we often felt my father was underrated as a player…
Dennis set the record for the highest number of league goals scored for United in a season, how proud was he of this achievement?
Very proud, but he never gloated. In fact he always said “records are made to be broken.”
After leaving Manchester United, Dennis went on to play for Stoke City, can we assume this will this be covered in the Documentary as well?
Absolutely. This is an interesting subject, because my father didn’t want to leave United. However, he ended up enjoying his time at Stoke immensely.
Dennis spent a lot of his life in America, firstly playing for Baltimore and then in management in New England and especially Jacksonville in a Florida. How did he enjoy life living and working in America?
He really enjoyed America even though there were some difficult times because for many years the professional game was so up and down. His passion was working with the youth, and helping football grow from the grass roots level.
The United States hosted the 1994 World Cup and the MLS really began to develop in the 1990s, do you remember what Dennis thought of this?
Oh yes, he thought the 94′ World Cup was fantastic. I remember he coached quite a few young players who went on to play in the MLS and was very proud of that.
Soccer continues to grow in America. This is especially the case in Florida with Orlando and Miami announcing teams in the MLS and Jacksonville getting a team in the NASL. What do you think Dennis would have made of this?
He would be very proud.
Onto yourself, you carried on your father’s sporting history, with your career as a tennis player in the 1990s. How much did you enjoy your tennis career?
I enjoyed it very much, but my proudest moment by far was when both of my parents got to see me play for Great Britain in the European Cup. My dad was beaming. He didn’t get to see me play very often, so that is a memory I will cherish forever.
You have been running the Dennis Viollet Twitter account and Facebook page for a while now, plus the Dennis Viollet website page, what have you thought of the fans’ interactions with you and their memories of your father?
The fans have been amazing. Some of the stories, especially those who witnessed my dad playing with the Busby Babes are so touching. Then there are the younger generation of supporters who may have heard of Dennis Viollet but are just now learning his story. Hopefully the documentary will reach even more people who love the history of Manchester United.
Thanks to Rachel for her time. For those wanting more information, you can visit these pages –
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ViolletDoc
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DennisViollet
Website – http://dennisviolletdocumentary.com/