Watch the exclusive first trailer for TOSH the movie
When John Toshack arrived at Swansea City on St David’s Day, 1978, he was a rookie player manager.
By the time he had taken the Swans on a thrill ride from the fourth division to the first division, securing three promotions in four years, he was revered as a messiah.
The feat was such that Toshack’s former Liverpool boss, the legendary Bill Shankly proclaimed him ‘the manager of the century’.
40 years after promotion to the first division a movie about that glorious era in the club’s history, ‘TOSH’, is in production.
A Focus Shift Films and EatSleep Media co-production, it’s the story of Swansea’s historic rise through the leagues and the man who made it all happen.
The film is directed by lifelong Swansea City fan Pete Jones and produced by Daniel Harris.
The first trailer for ‘TOSH’ is premiered today on Nation.Cymru and it’s certain to whet the appetite of not only Swansea City fans, young and old, but any football fan who loves a gripping tale of the underdog achieving astonishing feats against the odds.
WATCH THE TRAILER FOR TOSH THE MOVIE
The film features a host of star names including Michael Sheen, Ioan Gruffudd, Elis James, John Bishop, Peter Hooton, as well as a comprehensive list of former players Terry Medwin, Lee Trundle, Cameron Toshack, David Giles, Jimmy Habdiazdic, Ian Callaghan, Jeremy Charles, Alan Curtis, Wyndham Evans, Leighton James, Neil Robinson, Nigel Stevenson, and Dudley Lewis.
There’s even an interview with Sir Gareth Edwards – who used to train with the Swans and played a few reserve games.
It appears that ‘TOSH’ is a movie that has been 40 years in the making.
“Until Toshack’s arrival at Swansea in February 1978 I wasn’t really aware of the game, never mind the local team, but as football-fever spread through my school in the Uplands I got caught up in it and have loved the club ever since,” says Pete. “In a sense I’ve been working on this film in my head since the age of five.”
Joining forces with Daniel, the pair hit it off and the movie started to take shape.
“Pete is a huge Swans fan and Tosh was his idol,” says Dan. “He’d been trying to make this film for a little while and someone linked us up.
“I absolutely loved it, with my company EatSleep Media I work across Welsh football and knew there would be an audience for the film and so we decided to work together on it.
“It’s been a strange time over the last 18 months with the pandemic so everything has slowed down in some senses, but also the landscape has shifted in the last two years also. Sports docs were once seen as tricky to get sold, but now they’re everywhere. Even though it’s taken a little longer than we hoped to get to this point – it’s probably for the best.”
From their initial plan until now has taken them three years. They’ve also filmed everyone on their hit list, except for the man who the movie is named, but it’s only because of the global pandemic that they haven’t yet got the Welshman, who lives in Spain.
“We’ve filmed with pretty much everyone we need, except for Tosh,” says Dan. “As soon as Tosh is able to travel over we are going to sit down and get the full story from his perspective and then shape that around the interviews we have. All in all there’s about 20 hours worth of interviews.”
Pete is quick to underline that Toshack has been on board with the movie from the very beginning.
“The idea for the film really started in late 2016, as the 40th anniversary of Tosh’s appointment was nearing and I felt now was the time,” he says. “I met with Tosh at the start of 2017 and he was on-board right away, then in the autumn of that year I put on an exhibition in Swansea High Street celebrating the Tosh era and to raise the profile of the film.
Roy Of The Rovers
In can be said it’s odd that a film hasn’t already been made about the Toshack era, which was unique in football history.
“It’s incredible that this film hasn’t been made before,” says Dan. “.It’s one hell of a rags to riches, Roy of the Rovers story with Tosh leaving Liverpool for 4th Division Swansea and then taking them to the top of the 1st Division.
“The characters, the stories, the ups and downs along the way and how it transformed a small club into a club to be feared is amazing. And Tosh is the man who brought it all together and made it happen in his own Toshack way. From when Tosh took over in 1978 through to the end of the 1982 season it really is a remarkable story.”
Pete believes it could be because of what followed that to many it seemed like a dream.
“Perhaps because it happened so quickly it got forgotten about, also the steep decline that followed in the years after made it all feel like a dream,” he says. “It took Swansea fans years to recover from the club tumbling back down the leagues and almost going out of business. With time we’ve gained a sense of perspective and realised what an incredible story we were all witness to.”
‘TOSH’ is a movie that is chock full of stories from a glittering array of interviewees, a film that will lift the lid on a special time in the history of Swansea City.
“There’s plenty of great stories about the camaraderie and the bond between the players and the manager,” says Dan. “There’s a few great stories that some people know, but haven’t been told in detail on camera – such as the wild nights in the Bay View.
“We’ve talked to the daughters of the Swans Chairman Malcom Struel, Carol Fowler who was the club secretary and Swansea Evening Post chief football correspondent John Burgum. We’ve also got super fans like Dave Brayley and Richard Griffiths.
“We wanted to provide the players, Tosh himself and some of the fans with an opportunity to tell the story about that period in their own words and relive the glory. Nostalgia is a powerful tool and we hope that this film brings that period flooding back to those who lived it.”
Pete adds: “Being a bit of an obsessive about that era there wasn’t much I didn’t know, but to the casual observer and even seasoned Swans fans there are new details that will surprise.
Both Pete and Dan are especially keen to hear from anyone who has any pictures, videos or memorabilia from that era.
“We want to include as many photos or videos from fans as we can,” says Dan. “We’d love for Swansea fans to send us photos of themselves in their kit between 1978-1982, photos of players they’ve met, the Vetch, could be a home movie of them opening Christmas presents as kids and getting the new Swans shirt, or photos of the city as it was then. We want to paint this film with the fans’ perspective on that time.”
The movie has already attracted considerable interest from various parties interested in what is a fascinating story.
“BBC Wales and Amazon have both shown interest, and we’ve been talking with BT Sport too,” says Dan. “We’ve been trying to get the go ahead from a broadcaster or commissioner, but while waiting we’ve decided that we will just start making the film.
“Between Focus Shift Films and EatSleep Media we have the skills, equipment and the know-how – so we’ve decided to get on with it.
“We are hoping that it gets picked up by a broadcaster or distributor and that’ll be out before the end of the season to mark the 40th anniversary of that first season in the First Division.”
While the film features an impressive list of interviewees, there is a certain poignancy surrounding three Swansea legends who are no longer with us.
“Pretty much everyone who was there has been interviewed, from players to staff to fans,” says Pete. “There are three sad omissions however as Harry Griffiths, Malcolm Struel and Robbie James who were each key to the story are no longer with us. Nevertheless they will all feature heavily and we hope we’ve done them and their families proud.”
As for what they think Tosh will make of the movie.
“He doesn’t give much away but I think he’s enjoying it, and he’s been very co-operative,” says Pete. “Logistically it’s been tricky as he lives in Spain, and of course covid hasn’t helped.”
“I think that Tosh is going to enjoy it,” adds Dan. “I’m sure he’s glad that finally someone is going to make this film and do it justice – as it’s one of the best stories in British football.”
Swans fans who have great photos of themselves, or anything from that period of ‘78-’82 can email [email protected]
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