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Top 5 football films/series to stream

| 03.04.2020

Looking for the very best football tv shows and films around?

As Netflix celebrates the successful launch of Season Two of ‘Sunderland ‘Til I Die’, we’re taking a look at some of the very best footballing films and docs you can find to stream online.

Here’s our top five:

1. Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager

Where: Netflix

What is it?

A feature-length documentary that charts the career of the former Newcastle, England and Barcelona manager from his early days at Ipswich Town, through to his final managerial role at Newcastle United.

What really comes across is just the sheer warmth of the man, with luminaries like Alan Shearer, Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola, Gary Lineker, Jose Mourinho (who started his career as Robson’s translator at Barcelona) and Paul Gascoigne lining up to pay tribute.

What you get from the film is a sense of just how much football mattered to Bobby Robson and just how much he mattered to the people and players who worked with him. It’s an emotional film, in light of Sir Bobby’s passing in 2009, but it’s also a fascinating portrait of the kind of manager we may not see again.

2. Sunderland ‘Til I Die

Where: Two seasons currently streaming on Netflix

What is it?

A deep dive into the ailing north-east club, Sunderland ‘Til I Die has serious tragi-comic undertones as things go from bad to worse for the former Premier League side.

Season One follows the Black Cats in the aftermath of their relegation from the Premier League, as their hopes for an immediate return are found to be wide of the mark. Instead the team find themselves circling the drain into League One.

Season Two picks up the following year, as the new owners Stewart Donald and the highly entertaining PR guru Charlie Methven seek to revive the fallen giant. To say they don’t find that easy is an understatement, with Donald proclaiming “This club will kill me”.

Sunderland ‘Til I Die is a lot more warts and all than some of the other football documentaries out there, and it’s the passion of the club’s long-suffering fans that really shines through.

3. The Damned United

Where: Available for rental or purchase from Amazon, Google, YouTube, iTunes Store.

What is it?

For our money, The Damned United is the finest football film ever made. While the competition may not be that great, this film is, following legendary manager Brian Clough as he joins Division 1 Champions Leeds United.

As you might expect from the title, it does not go well. Clough quickly alienates key players, still loyal to their previous manager Don Revie, dismissing his predecessor and his players, for playing football the wrong way (there’s a reason Leeds still get called ‘Dirty Leeds’ by opposing fans).

At the heart of the film is Michael Sheen’s fantastic portrayal of Clough, a passionate, arrogant, stubborn, charismatic and kind contradiction of a man who went on to great success with Nottingham Forest, winning both the League title and consecutive European Cups.

4. Take Us Home: Leeds United

Where: One season currently streaming on Amazon Prime

What is it?

After fifteen years without top-flight football, Leeds fans are more than ready to get back in the Premier League and Marcelo Bielsa may just be the man to take them there.

However, last season, they fell to play-off defeat, as the wheels came off Bielsa’s wild ride, including the infamous ‘spy-gate’ scandal – where Bielsa was reprimanded for sending a spy to watch Frank Lampard’s Derby County train.

The first episode of Take Us Home appears to be a contractually-obliged profile of owner Andrea Radrizzani, but once you get into the season proper it combines thrills, chills, scandals, high emotions and a fanatical fanbase – falling somewhere in-between the polished All or Nothing and the devastating Sunderland ‘Til I Die.

5. All or Nothing: Manchester City

Where: One season currently streaming on Amazon Prime

What is it?

While a little slick and occasionally feeling like a PR exercise, All or Nothing gives you access to the Man City dressing room in their title-winning 2017/18 season. So, you get Pep Guardiola in full-flow, with his manic team-talks, occasional outbursts and you get to see what the players are like behind closed doors.

Fabian Delph is a stand-out star, clearly enjoying playing up to the camera, while Benjamin Mendy shows that his mickey-taking social media profile is just the tip of the iceberg. Kevin De Bruyne comes across as slightly arrogant, but when you’re that good at football, we’ll allow it.

All or Nothing sometimes comes across as the literal opposite of Sunderland ‘Til I Die, swapping perennial, persistent failure for serial winners storming their way to the Premier League title. As such, it makes a perfect pick-me-up after watching the latter.

If you enjoy the series, All or Nothing: Brazil National Team is also available, with All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspurs on the way.

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Michael Johnson

From the sunny north-east of England to the slightly sunnier Spain, Michael is a die-hard football fan and an experienced writer who loves to put his passion for the game on the page.