When football teams give all areas access to a team of documentary makers, it generally does not go well. An Impossible Job made a mockery of Graham Taylor’s ill fated reign as England manager where he failed take the team to the 1994 World Cup. Orient: Club for a Fiver about Leyton Orient is most famous for an expletive laden rant from manager John Sitton where he offers players out and sacks a member of his squad in the changing room whilst being filmed. Big Ron Manager featured Ron Atkinson coming to Peterborough United to ‘help’ a rookie coach but ended up interfering so much that the coach resigned.
Luckily the success of the Amazon produced All or Nothing series, which has featured the likes of the New Zealand All Blacks rugby union side and The Dallas Cowboys NFL side, among others, inspired Manchester City to get on board and give an insight into how the club is run, both on the football field and off it, during their record breaking Premier League winning campaign in 2017/18.
Primarily the eight episodes, directed by Manuel Huerga, focus on the manager Pep Guardiola and his players. You get an insight not so much into his tactics, but how Guardiola runs the side, how he motivates his players and non-playing staff, how he treats them; and you get to see his mindset and obsession as he looks to build a team that dominates the game using his exciting brand of football.
We also see how the players react to different situations, how they are away from football and in aspects of their personal lives. When Premier League footballers, who are frankly earning extortionate amounts of money, are often maligned for their wages and lifestyle – just look at Raheem Sterling’s treatment by the media around the summer’s World Cup in Russia – All or Nothing lets us see how they react to adversity. From poor results to potentially season ending injuries or health problems with family members, we are reminded that essentially these are just normal people with extraordinary sporting talent and a job many of us dream of having.
Elsewhere the documentary looks at how Chariman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chief Executive Ferran Soriano, Managing Director Brian Marwood and Director of Football Txiki Bergiristain operate the club. New contracts are negotiated with players and new signings are made and the process of who to keep, who to sell, who to sign and who to not sign is looked in to in some detail.
Also, as a football fan and someone with an interest in tactics, it would have been nice to see more insight in to that side of Guardiola’s management, although this is far from a criticism. A couple of minor gripes: In some matches where the game is against them and Manchester City are not winning, the documentary do play on refereeing decisions that have gone against them, which I do not remember being overly controversial at the time. By and large the documentary does not seem overly biased, or anti any other team or establishment/organisation, but these instances did irk me a bit.
All or Nothing: Manchester City is a must watch for any avid football fan, even those who support Manchester United, and certainly provides an interesting look in to how top sports sides are run.