As a Tottenham fan, to say I was looking forward to Amazon All or Nothing finding a new home in N17 this season couldn't be further from the truth. A season that was painful for all Spurs fans, from the 7-2 loss to Bayern Munich, the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, and the sacking of beloved manager Mauricio Pochettinho, made the thought of this season being shown to the world a daunting one. However, any rival fans expecting a documentary that'll embarrass Spurs - you'll be disappointed.
P.S. I don't want to spoil it for anyone but, Pochettino gets sacked.
Amazon have done an amazing job at presenting Tottenham Hotspur in a positive light. Tom Hardy's introduction of the club offers a brief insight into the history of the club, which many neutral fans choose to ignore despite Tottenham being the sixth most decorated club in English football. The series is an improvement on the Manchester City series, which somehow made a team make football history seem like one sleepy episode. That said, without Jose Mourinho, the series would be equally as dull.
The series was already in production when Tottenham's disastrous start to the 2019-20 season led to head coach Mauricio Pochettino losing his job. The Amazon producers must've thrown a party to celebrate when Pochettino was replaced with Mourinho. It is well known that Pochettino didn't approve of welcoming Amazon to the club, and he was very apprehensive on camera - Amazon were said to be struggling to get interesting footage during the early months of the season- perhaps this is why Pochettino's role in the series is over after a mere 20 minutes.
Daniel Levy describes sacking Mauricio Pochettino as the "the most emotional decision I've made in football." The pain is quickly relieved though, as Mourinho arrives at the midpoint in episode one. Mourinho arrives, the fireworks begin. As Mourinho is first unpacking his office, he listens to pundits on the TV lament his appointment. He's quickly had enough, storming to turn the TV off, proclaiming "fuck off." Jose is box office and he knows it.
In all three episodes so far, Jose is the gold standard. His potty mouth provides a lot of the humour in the series, but where is the grumpy, harsh, and toxic Mourinho? He must still be in Manchester, because in N17 Mourinho is relaxed, he is happy, and his man-management is something to be admired. Mourinho works closely with Dele Alli pushing him to return to his former heights by calling the midfielder a "fucking lazy trainer" - reminding Dele that he'll regret it when he retires if he doesn't reach his potential. Dele returns to form - scoring 5 goals and providing 3 assists in the first 8 games under Mourinho. Mourinho also laments Serge Aurier's "shit marking", who then promptly scores the winning goal in the next fixture.
The goal for Mourinho is to change Spurs from nice guys into a bunch of "c---s". Tottenham's nice-guy image has held the club back since the nineties and it's something he's desperate to change. Mourinho is fiercely competitive, he is charming and his obsession with winning is infectious.
There is a good sense of authenticity in the series, with one-to-one meetings and players chatter in the cantine routine in the series, putting the viewers in the players' minds. The highlight of which is Jan Vertonghen and Harry Kane discussing Pochettino's sacking. Vertonghen presumes that Pochettinho already knew he was getting sacked, Harry Kane rebuffs this suggestion saying he spoke to Pochettino after his sacking, and Daniel Levy simply walked into his office and said, "Can we talk? You're getting sacked. You need to be out by tonight." A jaw-dropped Vertonghen can't believe what he's hearing, giving an insight into both the players' minds and the ruthless businessman that is Daniel Levy.
"Can we talk? You're getting sacked. You need to be out by tonight"Harry Kane recollects Daniel Levy sacking Pochettino
A personal highlight in the series is Mourinho's shock when assistant manager, Joao Sacramento informs him that Moussa Sissoko holds great influence in the dressing room, Mourinho bluntly replies "fuck." These are the scenes of authenticity that people want from fly-on-the-wall football documentaries. I was as bewildered at Sissoko's power in the dressing room as Mourinho was. Despite being a fan-favourite, Sissoko had never struck me as a leader in the dressing room.
The players come across well in the show, with Kane's strong leadership on display, Sonny's celebrity status explored, and Vertonghen's love for Tottenham clear to see. There's an endearing scene where a South Korean fan travels to N17 and waves at every car that passes, in the hope Son is inside. The closest we get to diva behaviour is Dele Alli throwing a water bottle in the changing room - as Mourino says, they're a bunch of "nice guys."
Despite this, I can't help but feel something is missing from the series - controversy. Many fans will be disappointed that there is no footage of Pochettino's controversial sacking, the series at times feels too polished and a PR-stunt. It feels too much like how Levy wants the club to be seen and not how Spurs fans and neutrals want to see the inside of the club.
We are starved of forming any on-screen relationships with the players, rarely seeing them away from the training ground. Fan footage is used sparingly and never features as part of the narrative. This is what separates the All or Nothing series' from the Sunderland Till I Die series, which if I was watching from an objective standpoint, is a more entertaining watch.
We get very little insight into Spurs' role in the community, which is disappointing, with the club having founded an A-Level college of excellence that sent many students to Oxbridge this year. Viewers will learn little about the culture of Tottenham and seemingly little around the controversy that has surrounded the club all season. Ultimately, this is the series' downfall.
All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur is gripping. It charmingly invites us into Tottenham and leaves us wanting more, but that's the problem - the show lacks substance at times. Despite this, is it a show you can afford to miss? No way, José.
The subsequent six episodes will be released over the next two weeks every Monday, giving us an insight into the tail-end of the Premier League Season and the COVID-enforced shutdown.
Featured Image Credit: IMBD