Two great sports documentaries to watch before the New Year

As 2013 nears its end, there seems to be an abundance of sports documentaries for fans to savour during the festive period. The recently released The Class of ’92 is just one of the documentaries that has been on the Christmas list of most sports fans. It looks back on the careers of the Manchester United youth team that went on to form the treble-winning United team in 1999. In celebration of this great film, which should be on your list of “must-sees”, here are two more programmes that have to be seen before the New Year celebrations are over.

Keane and Viera: Best of Enemies

Two Premier League greats, two fierce competitors and one fractious rivalry. This is a must-see documentary for all football fans as Roy Keane and Patrick Viera are reunited to look back on their infamous dual.

In this ITV programme, the two protagonists reflect on their most controversial moments, including the well-known tunnel incident at Highbury. It is a fascinating insight into their individual conflict but also highlights the mutual respect that they had for one another, especially with regards to their footballing ability. These are two players who relished the physical and psychological battle both on and off of the football pitch.

The documentary diligently places the personal feud between Keane and Viera within the context of the bitter rivalry between Manchester United and Arsenal at that time. This fierce style of battle is arguably absent from current English Premier League – some might say it is greatly missed.

Regardless, this programme is simply unmissable for those football fans who wish to look back on the famous feud.

Available via ITV player until 9th January.

Sports Life Stories: Chris Eubank

This is an intriguing look into the life and character of Chris Eubank, retelling his individual fight from his tough beginnings in Peckham and the Bronx of New York to the epic battles between Eubank and Nigel Benn. He also fought those within the boxing world, the promoters and those who implemented the sport’s structure. Eubank fought for the power of the boxer, and rejected those who felt that they had the right to control his career.

The documentary explores Eubank’s divisive character. Always the showman for the crowds, he provided unmissable entertainment. Yet, his unpopularity as WBO middleweight champion was also overwhelming. Eubank’s two matches against Michael Watson exaggerated the animosity towards the boxer. The programme also highlights the damaging psychological effect that his second fight against Watson produced.

The entertainment value of British boxing in the 1990s was symbolised by Eubank’s rivalry with Nigel Benn; it was the most notorious battle of this era. With the perfect balance of psychological warfare and compelling fights, the boxing media were reaping the benefits of their battles. Eubank was a boxing celebrity and the programme does not ignore the eccentricity and fame of the British boxer.

Whether you loved, hated or admired Chris Eubank, this documentary is a great insight into the life of this infamous British sporting star.

Available via ITV player until 16th January.

Have you have seen any great sporting documentaries in 2013? Let me know in the comments below.

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