There are a lot of TV shows out there and in this golden age of TV streaming, the choices have never been greater. So how do you cut through the noise and find the “Best of” for any chosen topic? Well, we’re here to help celebrate and shine a spotlight on some of the latest, greatest and unforgettable shows through the years.
For our ongoing series of articles depicting the best sport-themed TV shows, our attention this time turns to football (or soccer for those outside the UK!) From gripping docu-series dramas to simple Korean comedies, there’s a whole array of football content to whet your appetite.
Of course, if we’ve missed any of your favourites feel free to comment below and we’ll get them added on!
This Is Football
From the poverty-stricken streets of Rwanda through to the glitzy, sun-kissed beaches of Barcelona, Football is a universal language loved and shared the world over.
With a profound message of unity, love and equality, This Is Football is one of the best sport documentaries on Amazon Prime. From a look at the history of Women’s football through the eyes of Japanese and American players, through to an emotionally charged journey one boy has to become the youngest African referee, every episode is meaningful and serves a purpose.
If you’re looking for a celebratory look at the world of soccer, this documentary is well worth a watch.
All or Nothing: Manchester City
In their 2017-2018 campaign, Manchester City finished the Premier League season on 100 points. They won two trophies during that time and scored an incredible number of goals. This sort of success certainly doesn’t come easily – or cheap – and All Or Nothing acknowledges this.
Within the documentary, every part of the club from the youth academy and medical team right the way through to the owners and chairman are explored in all their glory.
Love ’em or hate ’em, All Or Nothing: Manchester City is right up there with the best football documentary series released.
All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur is a club that’s laways been on the peripheral of glory but never quite at the same level since their title win back in 1950. Of course, then the Premier League was simply known as the First Division, with Tottenham finishing subsequent seasons in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Fast forward to this generation and Tottenham However, under Harry Redknapp and Mauricio Pochettino’s management, the club has been transformed and is now full of global superstars.
Between some incredible Champions League comebacks and an exciting attacking play, Tottenham have been a club feared by many teams around the world. However, this high pressure style has also come at a cost.
Tiring older players and a lack of fresh blood has seen some serious cracks form in Tottenham’s play. This subsequently brought with it a new manager in Jose Mourinho. This documentary follows the first year with Mourinho in charge, following all the ups and downs both on and off the pitch.
Sunderland ‘Til I Die
Say what you will about La Liga, Serie A or the English Premier League, when it comes to The Championship, no other league is as taxing, difficult and unpredictable as this one. 24 teams, 46 games, 10 long months of football with games against some of the best teams in England.
Sunderland Til I Die is an intimate look at one of England’s most historic clubs suffering its worst year in its storied history. Across 8 episodes, this Netflix documentary takes all the same cues as Amazon Prime’s sister documentary, All Or Nothing: Manchester City; beginning in pre-season before finishing with the final game of the league.
Unlike the glitzy high life of Man City, Sunderland Til I Die shows the harsh realities of a struggling football club. Relegation scraps and dealing with negativity spreading through the dressing room is something many football fans have heard about but never this close-up and intimate. Strap in for a real rollercoaster ride!
The English Game
The English Game presents itself as a sport biopic, boasting a dive back through time to the origins of football. Here, we witness the evolution of this Gentleman’s Elite game into the behemoth that it’s now become in modern times.
This idea is often overshadowed by the tendency to slip into more of a traditional period piece though, complete with melodrama, romance and a few sexual innuendos for good measure.
The result then is something that feels a lot more like a lite version of Downtown Abbey, with a glossy façade of football painted over the top.
Still, it does make for an enjoyable watch and is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for something similarly sport-themed.
Apache: The Life of Carlos Tevez
Apache is a gritty dramatization of Carlos Tevez’s life, charting his rise to football superstardom and the issues plaguing the Argentine’s life growing up. While some of the moments feel a little over-dramatized, for the most part Apache: The Life of Carlos Tevez is a fascinating and engrossing drama that certainly does the legend justice.
What’s particularly impressive about this series though is just how harrowing the conditions in Argentina’s Fuerte Apache actually are. Seeing Carlos Tevez rise up amidst that and fight to become one of the best exemplifies all the best aspects of a rags-to-riches story.
Club de Cuervos
Club de Cuervos is a Mexican soap opera drama, with a sibling rivalry backdropped by action on the pitch. The story here revolves around two heirs battling it out in the wake of the patriarch of their family dying. Chava and Isabel are our two main characters and they have very different ideas over how to run the club. This rivalry ultimately splits the club in half, with both battling to control The Cuervos of Nuevo Toledo.
Ultimately where this show excels is in its character writing. Both Chava and Isabel are polar opposites but as the seasons progress, their sibling rivalry sets the stage for some good drama and comedy. There are some inaccuracies with the footballing world, which will be immediately noticed by die-hard fans of the sport but there’s enough in this to enjoy nonetheless.
Becoming Champions is unsurprisingly a series about football champions. Specifically, this docu-series sets its sights on the International circuit with each episode following a different country and their rise to the top of the World Cup podium.
While there’s nothing inherently new or different here, the series is still enjoyable and each episode’s focus on a different country gives this a more global feel to it than some of the league-centric shows on this list.
Inside Borussia Dortmund
Inside Borussia Dortmund is another series that follows in the footsteps of All or Nothing, depicting an entire season of a football club. This time though we’re shipped across to the Bundesliga and follow Borussia Dortmund as they compete for the title.
With fly on the wall footage, action on the pitch and plenty of dramatic twists and turns along the way, the 65 minute episodes are certainly long enough to make this an enjoyable choice to check out.
While recent Korean dramas like Run On and True Beauty have given nods toward Son Heung-min and Tottenham Hotspur, you’ll have to go all the way back to 2009 to find an actual football-themed Korean drama.
No Limit is a drama revolving around a man named Cha Bong-Kun who dreams of playing football in the Premier League. However, he’s currently in the Korean Minor League and struggling to get noticed.
While pursuing his dream, Bong-Kun narrowly escapes death three times while falling in love with his agent, Kang Hae-Bin. In true K-drama fashion, this one combines comedy and drama with a romantic angle, making for an enjoyable watch.
Also known as Legendary Blue Shot, Shoot is a pretty generic but ultimately enjoyable anime. At the center of all this are three high school freshmen who become best friends through playing football – Toshihiko Tanaka, Kenji Shiraishi and Kazuhiro Hiramatsu.
After playing together through Junior High, they eventually set out to become the best Japanese high school soccer team. Along the way, romance, drama and losses crop up causing all sorts of problems for our characters. If you’re looking for an anime that’s easy to get into, and chock full of soccer action, Shoot is definitely worth considering.
Take Us Home: Leeds United
Take Us Home is a slick, well-documented account of the fallen giants of the Premier League. After 12 years in the top flight, Leeds United dropped down to League 1 only to claw their way back into the Championship. With a new owner and world famous head coach Marcelo Bielsa in the driving seat, this docu-series follows the 2018-19 Championship season from the perspective of Leeds United. Across the season, we follow all the dramatic events that unfolded that year
With only 6 episodes, Take Us Home is a real rollercoaster ride of ups and downs and if you’re not familiar with the events that took place, you’re in for a real treat!
Maradona in Mexico
From the “hand of God” to infamous cocaine use, Maradona is hardly the saintly face of football. However, he is one of the more renowned and infamous players of his generation, having made 91 appearances for Argentina and scoring 34 goals.
Now well past his playing days, Maradona in Mexico unsurprisingly sees Maradona head off to Mexico to become the head coach of The Dorados, Culiacan’s local team. It’s also ironically well-known as Mexico’s drug capital. This team are bottom of the league so naturally critics expect the worst.
The 7 episodes follow Maradona’s journey on the touchlines, depicting all the ups and downs head coaches experience in the beautiful game. Well written, nicely paced and armed an uplifting tone, Maradona in Mexico is another great docu-series to check out.
Arguably Apple TV+’s best show, Ted Lasso burst onto the scene last year with a wholesome, well written comedy revolving around an American taking control of a top flight football club in England. On paper, this seems like a recipe for disaster but shockingly, the cliched story is saved by some wonderful writing, well rounded characters and some genuinely good comedy.
Ted Lasso has absolutely no right to be as good as it is but the humour and wholesome tone to this one make it a must-watch for football and comedy enthusiasts.
If you’re looking for all the antics of a soap opera mixed in with the real world highs and lows of football, look no further than Dream Team. Sky One’s drama is incredibly difficult to find but during its time on-air, it ran for 10 seasons.
The story here follows the fictional football club of Harchester United and combines on-pitch action with the turbulent lives of various footballers and their wives.
The football action is plucked from real-world matches but with doctored purple shirts to make it seem like Harchester are playing. This certainly adds a sense of realism and seeing how this intertwines and works with the off-pitch action is fascinating to see.
Away from the pitch, Dream Team features plenty of cheating, deaths (in one season an entire bus blows up!) and crazy twists you certainly won’t see coming.
It may be a bit dated for our time but in its heyday, Dream Team was a brilliant football-themed soap.
So, there we have it, our picks for the best TV shows through the years about football/soccer!
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!