It’s impossible to imitate witnessing a football game in person, but in difficult circumstances, a superb documentary is the best substitute.
With Andy Murray to Pep Guardiola opening the doors of elite sport to the public, there has been a boom in behind-the-scenes sports film.
Whether it’s a new perspective on a familiar world or a new perspective on an entirely new story, it may be a fascinating experience.
There has been a rise in the level of sophistication in sports documentaries, even though the concept is not entirely new.
All or Nothing on Amazon Prime is a prime example of a long-form documentary being used to tell a season’s worth of story.
From one-off TV specials to feature films and multi-hour series, here are nine of the best for you to seek down and enjoy.
1. Diego Maradona
When Asif Kapadia stated that he would direct the narrative of the Argentine’s time at Napoli, he had already done one of the most defining sports documentaries with Senna.
Despite the fact that the picture is based on a well-known subject, the filmmaker’s efforts are genuinely breathtaking.
As he led his team to the top of Serie A, then the strongest league in the world, Maradona was subjected to a tremendous amount of pressure. This film shows the harsh spotlight that contributed to Maradona’s final downfall.
It’s intriguing, and at times difficult, to watch old footage that reveals the near-impossibility of existence in a football-crazed metropolis.
2. Take the Ball, Pass the Ball
Duncan McMath’s first feature-length film, Barça: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World, is an excellent adaptation of Graham Hunter’s book Barça: The Making of the Greatest Team in the World.
Catalans’ four-year reign as the world’s greatest football team is captured in stunning detail in the video.
In spite of the fact that Pep Guardiola is absent from the interview, his influence can be felt throughout the interview and his last contribution is a beautiful way to wrap up the story.
This drama would not be complete without the villain, Jose Mourinho, who plays the character to perfection.
3. The Two Escobars
Pablo Escobar, the narco lord of Colombia, and national team defender Andrés Escobar are both featured in the film, which is considered by many to be the greatest football documentary ever made.
Only a few documentaries in the famed 30 for 30 series on ESPN are as compelling and ultimately tragic as this one.
In the same vein as Netflix’s Narcos, the film shows how the cocaine trade in Colombia affected football and ultimately contributed to the lawlessness that saw Colombia’s national team defender killed down over his own goal during the 1994 World Cup in the United States.
4. All or Nothing: Manchester City
As a fascinating character study of Pep Guardiola, the Amazon Prime series provides an incredible access-all-areas look at Manchester City’s inner workings.
His team-talks after wins and losses are intriguing to see since he is a perfectionist who expects nothing but the best from everyone in his dressing room.
When you look at today’s professional sports teams and their players, you can see how much effort they put in to get the most out of their galaxy of stars.
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany and the kitman’s sense of comedy are the show’s soul and wit, respectively, while Guardiola is a volatile, intense character.
5. Next Goal Wins
As an alternative to Pep Guardiola and his winning machine, the American Samoa national team might be a better fit.
David Zdrilic, a potential Aberdeen striker, scored nine goals in Australia’s world record 31-0 win over the United States territory in April 2001.
To put the disgrace of last year’s World Cup disappointment behind them, the team will be guided by Dutch coach Thomas Rongen in their quest to qualify for the tournament in 2014.
No, they don’t make it all the way to Brazil. In Mike Brett and Steve Jamison’s film, Jaiyah Saelua, a transgender basketball player, is welcomed by a group of players who play for pride and the love of the game, and who make up for their lack of skill with heart and guts.
6. Sunderland Till I Die
Or you could watch Martin Bain. As he swims in his speedos in the morning, the former Rangers head is presented, and you quickly realize it’s the Scotsman rather than his bland managers who will offer the fun factor. He also sports a nice watch and a designer coffee maker.
There is a dramatic shift in the mood when Sunderland go from promotion hopefuls to a team on the verge of the drop.
Every aspect of this club has been affected by the financial strain and cost-cutting, which will be evident when the team is relegated at the end of this season.
Throughout the video, the filmmakers skillfully weave in the stories of the club’s fans, who are a vital component of any sports team, as they masterfully highlight the club’s role in and value to the passionate local community.
7. An Impossible Job
By repeating “Do I not like that,” everyone above the age of 35 will be able to recall this.
England manager Talyor’s dismal World Cup qualifying campaign was documented by ITV cameras.
With a strong Norway team and a mediocre Netherlands team, Taylor was immediately under a lot of strain.
The crew had unrestricted access to the manager and his team, which resulted in numerous confrontations with the media and some impressive displays of profanity on the field. Even a handful of Gazza’s court jester high jinks make an appearance.
This 2014 description of the football stadium disaster that resulted in the deaths of 96 people was produced by the BBC and ESPN.
There are no half-measures taken as events unfold in slow motion via eyewitness testimony, closed-circuit television (CCTV), and live TV cameras.
When it comes to Liverpool fans, the official version of events is clearly presented and their decades-long battle for justice is also made evident.
This is a moving and significant film that will alter your perspective on a tragedy that had a lasting impact on the sport of football.
9. The Other Final
Filmed by Dutch director John Kramer on the day of the 2002 World Cup final, this is the furthest thing from the peak of international football that anyone could hope to see.
Bhutan takes on Montserrat in front of 15,000 spectators while the world watches Germany against Brazil. What is at stake? The pride that comes from not becoming the world’s worst team. Montserrat, ranked at the bottom of FIFA’s world rankings, has only ever won two official matches in its history.
There are some absolutely gorgeous settings in this personal and enlightening depiction of a society that is far removed from the pomp and glory of the World Cup final.