Having already reviewed Fulwell 73’s feature-length film Super Greed (2022), it took me a long time to get around to watching the 4-episode mini-series Super League: The War for Football. After all, how much more does anyone care to learn about a bunch of billionaires for whom football is strictly business. But Oh, what a mistake if I had never watched this Apple TV series. It is a masterpiece.
At the end of the season, English clubs typically issue a compilation of highlight videos. But at the beginning of the 2019/2020 season, Liverpool felt they had a good chance to win the EPL. So they recruited James Erskine to follow the club season-long and work on a documentary, somewhat along the lines of the Sunderland and All or Nothing series.
We just started subscribing to Paramount+, and I was delighted to see that one of the movies available was Sir Alex Ferguson – Never Give In. It’s a delightful documentary that shows the depths and roots of the man, and how his environment shaped his coaching career.
The Men Who Sold the World Cup was produced and directed by Daniel DiMauro and Morgan Pehme, two fellows who have built their careers with documentaries that explain corruption and evil-doing in a very accessible and entertaining way. This docuseries shows how corruption is cultivated and how difficult it is to capture the bad guys at the top of an organized crime hierarchy like FIFA.
I stopped watching documentaries about current footballers and clubs because they tend to be long infomercials selling their brands. Now I must add to that list: documentaries about former footballers who now have a podcast. It’s just more branding.
On a mission to promote womens football ahead of next month’s WWC 2023, England Football and Disney put together a 4-min animation called Ella, a Modern Day Fairytale. Narrated by England WNT star Alex Scott, it is a Cinderella story where, instead of going to a royal Ball, little Ella tries out for the local boys team.
From what I read about Diego Maradona when he was alive, it was not easy to get him or his inner circle to talk about the unsavory side of his life. Drugs, alcohol, gangsters, infidelities, children that he refused to acknowledge, more drugs… To reveal the truth would mean falling out of favor and losing access to the man, his money, and his celebrity. So it isn’t surprising that those who worked closely with him did not come forward until this documentary, pretty much just a month after he died.
Sometimes to get people to pay attention to your message, you have to do something radical. Like have 30 women climb Kilimanjaro and play an official soccer match at an altitude of 18,800 feet.
I had resolved not to review another hooligan movie, but Cass is not one of those hit-and-tell stories that glorifies football supporter violence. Instead, this gripping film shows how a young Black man rises above the hatred that surrounds him. In the case of Cass Pennant, hatred comes from many sources: his skin color, which he tries to scrub off as a child, the competition with supporter firms, and a meaningless life of toil, from which violence is an emotional escape.
Presented by Robbie Lyle, Football Fans: Under Their Skin gathers together leaders of supporters groups and prominent fans who are all men of color. Some share their childhood experiences in the stands as victims of racism. It is painful to see how those experiences affected them and their parents. And decades on, not only does racism continue in the stadium, but it now thrives online.
I came upon this old BBC TV movie by chance on Amazon Prime. By the description, it didn’t seem like a soccer movie, but it turns out that the first 30 minutes deliver trope after trope of non-league football from the touchline in 1990s Bristol, England.
Super Greed: The Fight for Football is the first faithful cinematic telling of the 48-hour debacle known as the European Super League (ESL). It will not be the last.
Looking back to Apr-2021, you might recall the Super League with blurry pandemic memories. But because this documentary is from Fulwell73 and Sky Sports, whose business is to cater to football fans, it is hard-hitting and helps us relive the anguish of those few days. It really is like rubbing an enormous pimple on the foreheads of 12 billionaires, and it is so satisfying when the zits pop.
Africa United starts off with Dudu, a young AIDS orphan in Rwanda, lecturing even younger boys on the use of condoms to protect against the disease. He then blows up the condom and turns it into a homemade soccer ball.
Only one week ago, the world watched the Argentina vs France final of WC 2022. For me, the tremendous corruption and the controversies of the World Cup in Qatar overshadowed the football that was meant to be the showcase. But if I could put aside the politics, there were cracking upsets, come from behind wins, and underdog heroics.
There was so much hype about the Welcome To Wrexham docuseries, I put off watching it until I needed the DVR space for the WC 2022 games. (It’s not like Ryan Reynolds is going to read this review.) But if you’re wondering what to watch in the deluge of streaming sports docuseries, Wrexham is unique because it is like a love child between Sunderland Til I Die and Ted Lasso.