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My Mate Manchester United: A surreal journey of a Bulgarian man

"My Mate Manchester United" is a poignant exploration of personal identity, football fanaticism, and social commentary in a contemporary Bulgarian setting.

Keywords: Football, Personal Identity, Social Commentary, Bulgaria, Dreams, Manchester United, Contemporary Society, Escape from Reality. Three words: 'Poignant', 'Surreal', 'Heartfelt'.


Welcome to the world of "My Mate Manchester United" – a 2011 documentary directed by Stefan Valdobrev. This peculiar film takes us into the life of a Bulgarian man who dreams of being named after his beloved football club, Manchester United. The documentary paints a vivid picture of contemporary Bulgaria, where disillusioned individuals seek ways to escape their realities.


"My Mate Manchester United" is a surreal journey into the life of an ordinary Bulgarian man with an extraordinary dream. He wishes to legally change his name to Manchester United, an English football club he fervently follows. Along his journey, we get an intimate view of Bulgaria's society, its struggles, and the lengths people are willing to go to escape their everyday lives.

More Film Analysis


The film uses the protagonist's unique quest as a lens to explore the broader societal issues in Bulgaria. Valdobrev employs a mix of humour and poignancy in his storytelling, which adds depth to the narrative. The documentary's research is thorough, juxtaposing personal narratives against the backdrop of a country grappling with transition.

Historical and Factual Context

The documentary reflects the post-communist society of Bulgaria, where citizens are often disillusioned with their mundane lives. The protagonist's unusual dream symbolizes the desperate need for an escape from this reality.

Key themes in the film

  • Personal Identity and Dreams
  • Love for Football
  • Social Commentary on Contemporary Bulgaria
  • The Desire to Escape Reality

Film Comparisons

The documentary shares similarities with films such as "The Football Factory" and "Green Street Hooligans" in its exploration of football fandom. However, "My Mate Manchester United" stands out with its unique perspective on how this passion intertwines with personal identity and societal issues.

Noteworthy Moments

The protagonist's persistence in his quest to change his name, despite societal mockery and bureaucratic hurdles, is a significant highlight of the film. It symbolizes his desperation to escape his mundane reality.


The documentary was well-received by audiences and critics alike, earning an IMDB score of 7.4. It was praised for its unconventional narrative and poignant representation of contemporary Bulgarian society.


"My Mate Manchester United" offers a unique, heartfelt exploration of personal identity, football fanaticism, and social commentary. It is a must-watch for football enthusiasts and anyone interested in understanding contemporary Eastern European society.

More film information:


  • IMDB score: 7.4
  • Awards: 1 win & 3 nominations



  • Stefan Valdobrev: Director
  • Manchester United: Protagonist



  • Bulgaria: Primary location

Key Questions Raised by the Film:

  • How does personal identity intertwine with fandom?
  • What does the protagonist's quest reveal about contemporary Bulgarian society?
  • How does the film portray the desire to escape reality?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. If this film was a famous book, which one would it be? "The Outsider" by Albert Camus for its exploration of alienation and the desire to escape societal norms.
  2. If this film was a famous song, which one would it be? "I'm Still Standing" by Elton John, as it symbolizes the protagonist's resilience.
  3. If this film was a famous piece of art, which one would it be? "The Scream" by Edvard Munch, reflecting the desperate cry for escape and change.
  4. If this film was a famous celebrity, who would it be? Eric Cantona, famous for his eccentric personality and passion for football.
  5. If this film was a color, which one would it be? Red, symbolizing passion and resilience.
  6. If this film was a music style, which one would it be? Punk rock, known for its rebellious spirit and critique of society.