Documentaries are always a fascinating watch if they are able to capture the moments in a way that you feel as if you’re there witnessing the things first hand.
Amazon Prime released a new documentary ‘All or Nothing – Manchester City’ narrated by Ben Kingsley on 17th August consisting of eight episodes that capture the season long journey of English team Manchester City as they look to forget their previous season under new manager Pep Guardiola who set upon the task of imposing his style of play while securing some vital big name signings for the new season.
The documentary captures everything that happens in the club from doctors discussing injuries and fitness of the players to the management board discussing about team and potential transfers to the reactions of players as they seek to adapt to their new team mates and Guardiola’s demanding sessions as they go on a record breaking campaign.
Eight episodes showcase the Manchester City team battling on all four competitive fronts – English Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup – while dealing with the mounting injury pressure.
The points that stood out for me during the course of the series was how they reacted to different teams, their first draw, a horrible week where they lost three matches and their reaction after securing the League title. The way that they managed to capture not just players but also the backroom staff reactions and how the staff felt shows how much involved everyone is with the team is, even if they are not directly involved with the teams performance on the pitch.
The makers have managed to capture everything that goes behind making a team truly great.
They’ve managed to show some different sides of how Pep Guardiola behaves, motivating his players, protecting them in the media after shouting at them in the locker room, using profanities during training sessions and his speeches. Now, the abusive language is not surprising as many managers are seen using it when they are angry or during team talks, but there runs a risk that managers who have just started out to behave the same way with younger age group players after getting influenced by highly successful manager such as Pep himself.
Players who are usually targeted by the media regarding their poor attitude towards the losses or rather their antics off it, like sterling are shown to that contrary to what the media might make us believe these players care about the team and their craft.
He is shown to go lengths to instill belief into the players, where in one instance they have shown one day before a match where they discuss the opposite team, Pep tells the squad that they don’t need him and does not go over any strategy. It was his way of saying that they are so good with the way they have been playing that they did not need any tactical preparation. The City team as Pep predicted steamrolled over their opponents. Such kind of methods are not unheard of but are somewhat risky to take, but then when the team is playing the way it was the risk runs low.
The only time he did look worried was before they faced Liverpool at Anfield despite beating them 5-0 early on in the season. Liverpool ended up defeating the dominant City side with ease and later on knocking them out of the Champions League as well. Apart from that there were only two instances where he warned his players- Match against Crystal Palace and during half time team talk with a match against Arsenal.
One of the players that the series focused on was the club captain Vincent Kompany, who despite suffering from various nagging injuries was able to inspire the players and was shown to be one of the guys who helped various young players settle into the team.
There were numerous reports of how Yaya Toure and his agent launched an attack after the end of the season against the Manager of how he mistreated him and did not play him because he was black African, calling him a racist. But as I saw the documentary both of them behave in a very cordial way every time they interacted. Yes, there were few things that they did not show like crucial team meetings or Pep calling out individual players as they were asked to stay out. Toure claims for me do not have any substance according to me.
The only thing that did struck me odd was when they called Jose Mourinho style ‘Park-the-bus’ not that he is not known for it, but it felt like they were going out of their way to push this point across in a bid to show Pep in better light than his fierce counter-part.
Amazon has struck gold again with this documentary after their similar productions involving All Blacks and comparable to Netflix’s series about Juventus FC as it has managed to deliver everything that they could have asked for, even comedy courtesy Benjamin Mendy, who despite being injured for a long time has become a favorite within the club and among the fans.
It’s a great watch as it offers something that was never seen before by a fan of any English club and despite me being an Arsenal fan I’d like to see more of their kit man Brandon. I am on the Brandon FC train boys, see you all later.