Joe Sealey was watching his son play for Manchester United's Under-14s when a man came up to him and said: "I've got your dad's book." Joe's father, Les, had been Manchester United's goalkeeper but had died of a heart attack in 2001 at the age of 43. His death tormented Joe, who had been West Ham's reserve keeper. Joe had given up on football, slipping into an alcohol and drug addiction that almost killed him.
He had forgotten what his father's voice sounded like. Now, here it was in form of a Tupperware box full of cassette tapes.The centrepiece of the tapes is the most important game in the modern history of Manchester United, the 1990 FA Cup final.
After three barren years at Old Trafford, Alex Ferguson was on the brink of dismissal. There was just the FA Cup final left. He knew that, if it was lost, he would almost certainly be sacked. After the first game against Crystal Palace was drawn 3-3, he dropped his goalkeeper, Jim Leighton, who had been with Ferguson for most of his managerial career, and replaced him with Sealey, who had played just two matches in a year.
The replay was won and by the time Sealey left Old Trafford in 1994, Manchester United had become the dominant force in English football. On Days Like These is an intimate portrait of a club dragged from the brink. It is also the story of Joe Sealey's journey to the edge and back. Many years later Joe met Ferguson. 'Your father saved my career,' Ferguson said.
'And you saved his,' was the reply. On Days Like These is a story of two rescues.