INTERVIEW: Taylor and Besty | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Nineteen years ago, Newcastle United fans saw arguably the best team they’ve produced in recent living memory destroy Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United 5-0 in a game that has since gone down in Geordie folklore as one of the greatest nights in the club’s history. The Geordie faithful now find themselves faced with different expectations, as the evolution of the game and a change in ownership has seen the Magpies’ priorities change from trophies to top flight survival. However, two supporters, Taylor Payne and Stephen Best, better known as the True Faith podcast’s Taylor and Besty, have decided to revisit that enchanted evening by tracking down the players who turned out in black and white that night to put one of the best teams the Premier League has ever seen to the sword, with particular focus on locating the scorer of Newcastle’s majestic fifth goal, Belgian defender Phillipe Albert.

The idea for the film came, as most good ideas do, after a few drinks, as Payne fondly remembered before explaining just why they decided to take it into production. “We’d just beaten QPR and decided to go for a few drinks afterwards. We were talking about the podcast and about guests we’d like to have on. Phillipe Albert’s name popped up a few times and as the drink started flowing a bit more, in my mind I boldly put my foot on the table and said, ‘If I have to go to Belgium and get him myself, I’ll do it.’ But I’m sure in truth it was less dramatic than that. You [Besty] said, ‘Why don’t we do it? We’ll go and find him and we’ll film it.” It sounded absurred and it still feels absurred to this day.

“It’s about trying to create something that fans can look at and enjoy for years to come. It’s going to be entirely uncynical and a completely joyous thing and there’s no mention of the current Newcastle United in the entire film. It’s just a look back, there’s no comparison. It’s not the case of pointing out that everything’s rubbish now, it’s a case of pointing out how brilliant it was then.”

This documentary is to be the pair’s first foray into film, following five successful years of creating podcasts, and Best discussed the challenges of making a film and the amount of work necessary, which the two simply weren’t aware of before embarking on the project. “First of all, the professional camera crew; we used a company from South Shields called Unified Media, they do so much work, we had no idea. When you see a documentary you assume it’s all been filmed in two or three hours, but there’s so much that gets filmed; they’re real work-horses. It’s amazing to see the dedication and the commitment that they put into their art, which it is for them, but it really shows. What they’ve put together so far is astonishing and I can’t believe it’s something we’ve done really.

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“It’s not the case of pointing out that everything’s rubbish now, it’s a case of pointing out how brilliant it was then”

“One of the most challenging aspects about putting this whole thing together is getting the rights to show footage from Premier League games, which costs £3,000 per minute. It’s a huge hurdle that we’re still trying to overcome. That’s one of the main issues, but there’s been plenty of other little niggles. The whole thing has been very eye-opening from start to finish.”

The film itself was funded via Kickstarter, meaning that all of the money used to make the film was donated online by people who wanted to see the project come to fruition. The pair managed to raise over quadruple the amount that they initially asked for, something which both were surprised at and something which increased the need to create something of which both those making and those funding the film could be proud.

“When we first had the idea, it was just going to be me and Besty doing it very slapdash,” said Payne. “We thought, ‘Who’d want to see this? That’s ridiculous.’ But we set up a Kickstarter for it anyway, just in case anyone was interested. The original budget covered our plane tickets, a couple of nights in a hotel and a camera and that was it, but it unexpectedly snowballed and we passed the original target within a day and we thought we’d be mad not to see where we could go with it and also we thought, instead of it just being for us, it could be for everyone.”

“I was really surprised, people were putting in up to £200 a time and it was amazing to see how many people wanted us to do this,” Besty added. “We now feel duty-bound to make the best possible film we can make. We’ve got to go through all the footage and edit it soon and that’s going to be a long process, but I’m looking forward to taking all that footage and turning it into something that, not only we can be proud of, but something that everyone who’s donated can look at and say, ‘yeah, they’ve delivered what they said they would’.

Payne added: “We promised people certain bits and pieces if they donated certain amounts of money and we see that as us being part of a transaction. We have to uphold our side of the deal and we see this as more than a film now, it’s more like a little community that we’ve built around it. We try and provide updates and snippets of content as much as we can, just so that we’re constantly feeding back and showing people what they’ve bought into.”

Tracking down the players themselves provided further difficulties for making the film, with one or two players seeming completely uncontactable. Payne divulged how he went about finding some of them, whilst Best admitted that once they had managed to track them down some, their willingness to be involved made the project really seem like a worthwhile task.

“Football players are fairly hard people to track down, unsurprisingly,” Payne explains. “A lot of the time I’ve had to go through unconventional avenues to find contact information for them. I had quite a bit of help from a guy called Gary Whelan who used to work for the club in the nineties, producing the Black & White video magazines and he’s currently trying to get us in touch with Kevin Keegan and Gabby Logan, but people like David Batty for instance, he’s just fallen off the face of the Earth and there’s no information for him anywhere. We’d probably have been better off making a film about trying to track him down. Apparently he doesn’t like football anymore.”

Best recalled a stunning moment in the production: “We received a text last week saying David Ginola’s interested and all I could think was, ‘Fuck, that’s David Ginola!’ These are blokes that we idolised when we were kids and I suppose in certain regards still do. The first interview we did was with Peter Beardsley and I keep looking back at the footage and thinking, ‘That’s me and Peter Beardsley!’ There’s been so many moments like that that have seemed quite psychedelic and you have to remember that there is a project to be done and we’re forever drifting between being professional and being giddy school children. But when we do pull ourselves together, we see that there’s the potential here to create something brilliant and something which lasts and that’s what we are both really excited about.”

Looking For Number 5 is set to be released later this year. Find out more about Looking For Number 5 at the film’s official website.

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