SPURS’ All or Nothing TV show is the latest in a phenomenon of behind-closed-doors documentaries on football.
First we had the sanitised, ra-ra series at Manchester City and then the Sunderland car crash of ’Til I Die.
Now Tottenham are in the lights of the cameras. Ready for your close-up, Jose?
But in this 24-hour, 360-degree world of football, do these documentaries really tell us anything we don’t know?
The notion that these shows give us real insight is for the birds.
You don’t see the real goings on in dressing rooms, with the Churchillian speeches given by so-called leaders of men — because half the time there’s bugger all going on in there.
The Spurs doc is very stylised and appears to give the viewer a peek behind the scenes.
But, in reality, it is heavily stage-managed with participants acutely aware cameras are on.
The insight people want just isn’t there. Pulling back the curtain and peering behind is often like the scene out of The Wizard of Oz where a lot of loud noises are being artificially made by a small man.
Yes, it is engaging to see an ever-effusive Danny Rose having a challenging conversation with Jose Mourinho, who delivers his oh-so measured response.
What we got was a homogenised version for the cameras. Trust me, I’ve seen players demand to see a manager about not playing and it doesn’t play out that way.
We do get a starry-eyed chairman, a Mike Bassett-esque assistant manager doing nothing but nodding — plus plenty of over-exaggerated industrial language (that part does have elements of reality).
But how about seeing Mauricio Pochettino getting the boot? That’s real TV.
Tottenham’s decline as a footballing force comes as they lean towards style over content off the pitch.
I don’t like these documentaries as they promise the world, deliver very little and increasingly turn the business of football into the business of show.
At Crystal Palace, I allowed a series to be filmed about the club’s academy — but was enraged by the outcome.
There was more interest in Ian Wright driving his Ferrari into a training ground, a lifestyle that awaits young kids, rather than the blood, sweat, tears and often heartbreak that went with young players’ development.
If you are going to do a TV show, then have the balls to do it properly and give people a real look into the world of football.
In my time at Palace, I could have shown them . . .
The conveyor belt of firing managers — including Peter Taylor, who was having his yearly review with the League Managers Association while I waited outside to sack him.
Or, on his birthday, Trevor Francis being handed his P45 rather than a nice card.
Watching Neil Ruddock unable to get into his shorts before a game. Or struggling with his emotions when hauled into my office and told: “Get inside your weight clause or get fired.”
Visiting the boardroom you could have seen stand-up rows with Sam Hammam, throwing tea cups at Bristol City’s directors, being insulted by David Sullivan at Birmingham or handed a pendant by Liverpool’s chairman as a visiting smaller club.
Tearing a strip off Tim Cahill’s agent, ejecting the divisive Leon Angel, agent of Andy Johnson, from our training ground or even banning the PFA from the same place.
The senior pro coming into my office brandishing last week’s copy of The Sun, giving him an eight out of ten for the second week in a row, as a reason why he was entitled to a massively increased contract.
What about filming the general demeanour and disposition from players towards fans and their value, which would perhaps alter your desire to ever go and see another game?
The piece de resistance would have been to film the clown’s college of meetings passing as Football League summits.
Chief executives would plume their feathers, pontificate and decide very little — although one big success was getting Karren Brady to make a good cup of tea.
No, you are not going to see that and neither should you.
So let’s call this what it is — non-reality TV for the masses and file it under fiction.
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