Winter is Coming
War of Attrition
Road to Wembley
The Beautiful Game
Welcome To Hell
Following their incredible year in the English Premier League, All Or Nothing: Manchester City is an 8 part documentary series that follows the new giants of English football, Manchester City, as they embark on their impressive record-breaking 2017/2018 season. With a raw authenticity in its “fly on the wall” approach and a mixture of archival footage, commentary from the games themselves and an exhaustive look at all things Man City, All Or Nothing does a great job showing just how monumental last year’s season was and how one of the most prolific managers in the game, Pep Guardiola, managed to achieve this.
While documentaries following the lives of footballers and footballing seasons have been captured in documentary format before (Sky Sport’s Premiership Years and Juventus: First Team spring to mind here) none have managed to quite capture the backstage, familial bond of the players and just why Pep Guardiola is regarded as one of the best in the business quite like this. Over the years many people (myself included) have criticised Pep, lamenting the fact he’s walked into teams with unlimited chequebooks and resources to make a team of his choosing and walk his way to success. While you could sit here and argue he’s done the same at City, especially given the obscene amounts paid for some players last year, seeing the inner workings of the man himself behind the facade he puts on in public and just what it takes to remain at the very top for all these years, makes it hard not to admire what he and his tireless backroom staff have achieved for the Blue Army.
The first episode begins with a brief history of Manchester City including their last league title win over 40 years ago and key highlights from recent memory including the dramatic game against Queens Park Rangers that saw Aguero slot home in the 93rd minute to snatch the title from Manchester United. From here the 8 episodes follow the team both on and off the pitch as they progress through their season. All the highs and lows are shown with raw authenticity including team talks, backroom antics and fiery exchanges when the pressure is really on the team. One episode specifically focuses on the Carabao Cup and another on Man City’s rocky patch toward the latter period of the season, including the infamous bus incident in Liverpool, but most follow a familiar format.
Each key game in the team’s season is followed beginning with mid-week training and analysis, followed up by pre-match hype in the form of face to face interviews with fans, both regular and celebrities. From here, key moments of the game itself are shown from both broadcast and wide angles before showing the final result and capturing how the team feel after the game in the dressing room. This format remains consistent throughout the season and although this does feel a little repetitive toward the end of the 8th episode, there’s enough variety and drama involved here to never make the series feel like it outstays its welcome.
Between the ritualistic shooting of the matches, All Or Nothing focuses on the players, manager and backroom staff, humanising each and giving the series some much needed character. Whether it be Vincent Kompany inspiring the team through a rallying cry before a game, Mendy’s goofy antics or quiet Kevin De Bruyne stepping up as the prolific playmaker in the heart of City’s midfield, inspiring his team-mates through his actions rather than words, at the end of the documentary you get a good feel of who these players are and just how passionate they all are.
Finishing the season on 100 points, winning two trophies and scoring an exhaustive amount of goals certainly doesn’t come easily or cheap and All Or Nothing acknowledges this, portraying every part of the club from the youth academy and medical team right through to the owners and chairman responsible for bringing some of football’s biggest names to the club. Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that Manchester City had a record breaking season last year in the Premier League and this documentary really does do an amazing job portraying all the hard work and effort that went into making this such a breathtaking season. When it comes to football documentaries, All Or Nothing: Manchester City is right up there with the best of them and well worth checking out.