Falklands football 'traitor' in film with Maradona

By James Morrison
Friday 31 January 2014 02:19

The story of a teenager from the Falkland Islands who outraged his community by joining Diego Maradona's Argentinian football team is to be made into a film.

Martyn Clarke was 16 when he left the windswept pitches of Port Stanley for the 50,000-capacity Buenos Aires stadium that is home to Boca Juniors. In Playing for the Enemy, his part will be taken by Martin Compston, the amateur footballer whose acting debut in Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen won rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival last month.

Maradona will appear as himself in the film, which will be the first British-Argentinian co-production.

At the time of his "defection" three years ago, Martyn, whose father served in the Royal Marines during the Falklands War, was widely perceived as a traitor in his home town. His protestations were hardly helped by the fact that, no sooner had he arrived in Argentina than he had befriended Maradona, who famously lent him a mobile phone so he could call his mother.

The new film will re-create this meeting, as well as that between Martyn and "Ringo", the drummer in an all-female Beatles tribute band, with whom he fell in love after moving to Argentina.

Other highlights will include a climactic football match in Port Stanley, during which Martyn attempts a precise re-creation of Maradona's winning goal in Argentina's infamous "Hand of God" victory over England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals.

The screenplay was written by Matt Harvey and Dominic Morgan, who said: "As soon as Martyn first touched down in Buenos Aires, he was absolutely swamped by the Argentinian media, and from that moment on he was viewed as a traitor.

"But he went down well with Maradona, who met him on the first night and offered to help him deal with the press, so we were delighted when the man himself agreed to appear, and he will also hopefully be our football consultant."

Martyn now lives in Essex and is having trials with an English football club.

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