A new documentary, titled ‘One-Armed Wonder: The Extraordinary Story of Jimmy Hasty’ is now available to stream on UEFA TV.
The film, which was produced and directed by Richard Milway from Noah Media, tells the story of the legendary Dundalk centre-forward who overcame the amputation of his left arm as a 14-year-old to go on and lead the Lilywhites to the league title and a history-making achievement in Europe in 1963. Eleven years later, in 1974, Jimmy became a victim of ‘The Troubles’ when he was gunned down at point-blank range by a paramilitary on the streets of Belfast. He died at the age of 38.
With contributions from Jimmy’s former Dundalk teammates John Murphy, Davy McArdle, and Francie Callan, audio excerpts from the late Jim Malone – the man who brought Jimmy to Oriel Park – and interviews with Jimmy’s wife Margaret Sheppard and his sons Paul and Martin, One-Armed Wonder: The Extraordinary Story of Jimmy Hasty is a must-watch for every Dundalk – and League of Ireland – supporter.
During one of his visits to Dundalk towards the end of last year, Gavin McLaughlin sat down with Richard Milway to discuss the project.
GMCL: Rich, it’s good to see you back at Oriel Park. First and foremost, can you tell us how this documentary come about?
RM: Thanks, Gavin, it’s good to be back. It kind of came about through Noah Media Group speaking and dealing with UEFA. We’ve made things with them in the past and we were both keen to find a story that hadn’t really been told regarding the UEFA Cup or the old European Cup. In our research, we came across this story of a one-armed player who scored in the European Cup for Dundalk and the more we looked into the story, the more sort of extraordinary and unbelievable it became. When we explained it all to UEFA, they were really, really keen to make it.
GMCL: And it’s one of only four documentaries that are being made for this series…
RM: Yes, it’s a series, ‘an extraordinary story’ with four films that are basically 30 minutes long, all produced by Noah.
GMCL: It’s quite incredible to think that Dundalk and Jimmy Hasty are one of the four stories that you and UEFA have decided to focus on….
RM: Well, it’s interesting because he’s obviously such a well-known character and loved character here in Dundalk but I’ve worked around the European Cup and the Champions League for years and I didn’t know about his story. And I think that there are a lot of people in England, and around the world, who’ll be fascinated and have no idea about this player, what he achieved, the adversity he overcame, and obviously the sort of tragic end. I think it’s an extraordinary story in every sense and it’s well worth telling and well worth getting out there.
GMCL: Was it very challenging to make because one of the things we spoke about initially was the scarcity of video footage and even photographs of Jimmy from that period? How did you get around that challenge?
RM: Yeah, we really thought it would be a challenge and when you’re trying to put it together, that’s a key part of it. Thankfully, we were able to get the footage of the match in Zurich, which is brilliant. Seeing Jimmy score, and just seeing him play, is amazing and we were able to find newspaper reports of the era. We’ve also got some photos from you and some of the former players that we interviewed and spent time with like Francie Callan, John Murphy, and David McArdle, some of those guys have been able to help with photos. We also dealt with RTE and got some footage of Dundalk from that era and Paddy Malone was a great help as well with the Jim Malone stuff. We’ve got a recording that Jim Malone did, I think, in the nineties which is fascinating and we’re also hoping to include little bits we really feel that we want to mention. We can’t illustrate them but we will have some sort of reconstruction element in there, just to try and bring these stories to life because they’re really telling.
GMCL: We’re obviously focused on the football side of it here but we obviously know what tragically happened to Jimmy later on in his life so it’s not just a football story, it’s a story that documents the way this country was during the sixties, seventies, eighties, and nineties…
RM: First and foremost it’s made for UEFA and it’s a difficult subject to talk about but there are certain facts that we mention and it is part of his story and I think you need to tell it and explain the context of what happened much in the same way how Jimmy lost his arm. It’s not just what he achieved in the pitch that is incredible. The circumstances around his loss, the loss of his arm, and then his death is also tragic but they make the Jimmy Hasty story what it is and they’re all the elements that are there and I think that should be told as part of it.
GMCL: Is it enjoyable making something like this?
RM: It is. It’s fascinating and it’s sad as well. We’ve spoken with the Hasty family and, being someone who has produced football programmes, that’s not the sort of thing that I’ve done before. This is more than just football.
It’s been great visiting Dundalk. Everyone’s been so welcoming, the family has been so helpful and Paddy Malone, again, has been really helpful. Really getting your teeth stuck into these stories is always good fun.
GMCL: I think a lot of people in Ireland would be familiar with Noah Media from the recent Jack Charlton documentary which was fantastic so we know we can expect a top-quality production.
RM: Yeah. We have always aimed to set the bar very high and we hope that this story with UEFA can be something that Noah can be proud of and that everyone can enjoy watching.
You can watch ‘One-Armed Wonder: The Extraordinary Story of Jimmy Hasty’ now on UEFA TV.