Sports documentaries have not been very popular as a sub-genre, until rather recently. At the very most, there have been a handful of football season recaps over the years, and documentaries made about F1 big names. However, a number of different formats have been quite successfully tested by Prime Video and Netflix over the last couple of years.
Netflix tried its hand with Sunderland ‘Til I Die, a 2-season documentary that viewed the well-known Northern English team in decline, through the lens of its fans and local communities. Then came Take Us Home – Leeds United, produced by Amazon and narrated by Russel Crowe. The show explored the promise of a new era for Leeds United – the top team in the UK in the 1970s, which had been languishing in lower divisions for almost two decades. But while these were both worthwhile stories, they perhaps did not have the global appeal that current top teams would have. So, Amazon looked into that, and persuaded some big names to allow them to shoot behind the scenes, for the entirety of a footballing season. Here’s what followed
All or Nothing: Manchester City (2018)
One of the Manchester clubs would have been an obvious first candidate, and while the Blues might not enjoy the same popularity and worldwide appeal as United do, their recent successes could not have gone unnoticed. The 2018 documentary details the exploits of Manchester City’s record breaking 2017-2018 season, during which they accumulated an unprecedented 100 points, as well as most wins (32 out of 38) and most goals (106). This was to be Pep Guardiola’s first Premier League success, and despite the team’s failure to win the Champions League, features a host of highly interesting moments.
All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur (2020)
The next Premier League side who received the documentary treatment was Tottenham Hotspur. Here, the situation was a little bit different: Spurs were trying to psychologically recover from losing the 2018-2019 Champions League final against Liverpool, while finding motivation to go again and hunt for trophies. Mauricio Pocettino’s sacking not long into the season, and his replacement with the landmark name of Jose Mourinho led to a very interesting season. The Covid pandemic is also documented in relation to football, and what it particularly meant for Tottenham’s season.
All or Nothing: Juventus (2021)
Announced barely a month ago, this is a sign that the All or Nothing series is branching outside the Premier League, but still staying with top teams across Europe. Juventus is the highlight here, as a team in transition. After almost a decade of uninterrupted Serie A wins, the competition seems to have finally toughened in Italy, and threatens Juve’s dominance. Having to navigate Covid, an aging Cristiano Ronaldo and a beloved but largely unexperienced coach in Andrea Pirlo, this should undoubtedly be a very interesting watch.
All of Nothing: Bayern Munich (2021)
And staying in the 2020-2021 season, we will also receive a behind the scenes look at Bayern Munich, the current European and World Champions. This season will start with their top moment of glory – winning the Champions League against Paris Saint Germain in August 2020 – and will continue with their further exploits under Hansi Flick. The finale is still very much open – will the show achieve circularity by ending with another Champions League triumph, or will it have a different sort of denouement?
Outside of the names mentioned above, both Amazon and Netflix have expressed interest in making more of these documentaries, and reportedly a host of big Premier League clubs, such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester City, have received offers. So stay tuned, cause this looks set to become quite a big thing!