All Or Nothing: Man City isn't perfect, but it's a major relief from modern-day football coverage 3 years ago

All Or Nothing: Man City isn't perfect, but it's a major relief from modern-day football coverage

For better or worse, football is changing.

Video-assisted refereeing, La Liga games being played in the US, World Cups in winter... the game is transforming before our eyes.

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Few clubs bear as much responsibility for that change as Manchester City. A club that has been propelled to success by Middle-Eastern riches, and the acquisition of players and managers who likely grew up far more familiar with City's traditionally more successful neighbours.

Without the same winning tradition as other clubs, City have relied on deft public relations to increase their international fanbase. All Or Nothing: Man City is yet another step in that strategy — but it still has a lot of value for football fans.

In a sense, All Or Nothing: Man City is almost exactly what fans of football deserve.

The most that the public usually gets out of their football players comes from pre-match press conferences or post-match interviews — interviews so unwatchably boring and devoid of personality that there genuinely is little sense in airing them.

Man City documentary

These are the players who dedicate their lives to a craft enjoyed by millions. These men are the envy of people the world over who set aside so much of their time just to watch. It stands to reason that we're profoundly interested in what they have to say — on football, on success, and on life in general.

Throughout the first episode, much of the focus is on French left-back Benjamin Mendy, a player who City signed for £50 million in the summer, only to see him miss virtually the entire season after tearing his ACL.

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To a football fan, the letters "ACL" are just as shuddersome as the words "broken leg" — there are few injuries more serious. All Or Nothing shows Mendy picking up the injury, receiving the diagnosis in a Barcelona clinic, watching his teammates compete without him from a hospital bed, and FaceTiming his comrades in the changing room after a big win.

It is these moments that make All Or Nothing a valuable watch. The cameras are everywhere, capturing the intimacy and camaraderie that comes with being part of a football team. We see players dancing with each other, we see Pep Guardiola singing the Kevin de Bruyne song and slapping the back of Kyle Walker's head, we see Vincent Kompany enduring -130 degree temperatures to help him deal with a recurring injury.

Things like this are typically hidden from fans of the sport. Over the years, we've learned to make do with the knowledge that players are happy to score (but it's more important for the team to get the three points), that they'd sure like to win the league (but it's important to take it one game at a time), and how every opposition provides a tough test.

Pep Guardiola has turned Man City into a well-oiled machine, but for as long as Jose Mourinho's men are underperforming, the second best side in Manchester is Man City's own PR team.

JOE attended the worldwide premiere of the series, and the club deemed it important enough to send in the entire squad — including Kevin de Bruyne, who hobbled in on crutches after sustaining a four-month injury earlier that day.

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Man City documentary

After all — there is much to be explored in Man City's relationship with Middle-Eastern money, questions that remain largely overlooked as long as football fans are transfixed by what's happening on the pitch.

Rather than deal with anything that might make Man City look bad, the first episode takes three or four minutes to talk about Man United manager Mourinho and his decision to drop de Bruyne when he was Chelsea manager. A strange, and extremely pointed, detour. It's interesting, but it's as a clear a sign as any that this documentary was produced with the purpose of making City look good.

Still... football fans are used to soundbites, prepared behind the scenes by media trainers 20 years ago and trotted out by each player on each team each weekend on Sky Sports. Football fans are not used to honesty. Football fans are not used to insight. All Or Nothing provides at least enough of both.

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All Or Nothing: Man City might not be the most revealing documentary in the world, but in giving City fans some real access to the players they adore, it provides an experience that will be the envy of all the other clubs in the league. Not to mention the persuasive effects it might have on undecided fans in the US, the Middle-East and beyond.

And that's yet another victory for Man City.

Clip via Amazon Prime Video

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