15 brilliant football documentaries on Netflix, Amazon Prime & YouTube

Quick Reads
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta during their defeat against Tottenham Hotspur at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, May 2022.

The summer months can be a time to take a breather from football or, for most of us, a time to experience crippling withdrawals.

Pre-season tournaments past midnight in Timbuktu are all well and good for the hardest of the hardcore. But for most of us, we just want football on every evening and all day on Saturday and Sunday. Is that too much to ask?

The answer until football is back for the season is a good old fashioned documentary. Here are 15 of the best on Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and YouTube to keep you ticking over until the real stuff starts again in August.

All or Nothing: Arsenal – 2022

Mikel Arteta? Granit Xhaka? Nuno Tavares?

The upcoming documentary about Arsenal’s 2021-22 season is sure to be gripping viewing. And, considering Arsenal’s fluctuating fortunes with Champions League qualification on the line, opposition fans will be tempted to grab the popcorn.

Simeone: Living Match by Match – 2022

Diego Simeone is one of the best, and most watchable, managers in world football, overseeing Atletico Madrid’s transformation into European heavyweights over the past decade.

But this disarming series, available on Amazon Prime, goes behind the scenes into Simeone’s past and family life as Atleti pushed for the La Liga title in 2020-21.

This has the effect of humanising the caricature we see stalking the Atleti touchline and makes for compelling viewing. Get on it.

Rooney – 2022

England’s record goalscorer has been in the news for his role in the Wagatha Christie saga, but this Amazon Prime piece reminds us of his immense talent back in the 2000s.

Never forget how good Rooney could be…

READ: Yearning for the Wayne Rooney that we all fell in love with at Euro 2004

Planet FIFA – 2016

Few television storylines are as engaging and intriguing as corruption. The difference here is that it was all very, very real.

Corruption at football’s governing body was long suspected but was nigh on impossible to prove. Enter the FBI.

In 2015, US prosecutors disclosed cases of widespread corruption within the organisation, ultimately leading to the downfall of FIFA president Sepp Blatter despite his desperate attempts to cling to power.

This documentary, available on Amazon Prime, delves deep into the shady dealings of the organisation and explores what factors led to such duplicity on a never-before-seen scale.

All or Nothing: Manchester City – 2018

An eight-part series detailing Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on their relentless march to the first-ever 100-point season in the Premier League.

The Amazon Prime original gives viewers an insight into the mind of one of the greatest ever coaches and behind-the-scenes footage from one of the footballing world’s top clubs.

And watch out for a scene-stealing cameo from Fabian Delph…

Sunderland ‘Til I Die – 2018

Following relegation to the second tier of English football, this Netflix series follows the unerring passion of the Mackem faithful as the club tries to stave off disaster in the form of consecutive relegations.

It documents the highs and lows of one of the best-supported clubs in England in a series Sports Illustrated described as “a cut above the rest.”

The second series is even wilder. A must-watch for all fans of black comedy.

Gazza – 2022

A flawed genius, Paul Gascoigne was perhaps the most talented English player of his generation. But few have experienced such lofty highs and debilitating lows as Gazza.

This two-part documentary, which premiered on BBC iPlayer last month, is an in-depth study of the rise and fall of Gascoigne during the 1990s and culminates with his exclusion from the 1998 World Cup squad.

Plenty of unseen footage and Gazza makes a heart-warming cameo at the end. This is well worth your time.

Take the Ball, Pass the Ball – 2018

Few clubs evoke the scintillating memories and raw emotion that Barcelona bring. From Cruyff to Messi and Maradona to Ronaldinho, the names come and go, but the fabled red and blue striped shirt lives forever.

For a period of four years under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola, Barcelona produced the greatest club football the world had ever seen. Follow their journey during the Pep years on YouTube as Messi, Xavi, Puyol and co. plundered 14 trophies in just four seasons.

Cristiano Ronaldo: Impossible to Ignore – 2021

Released before last summer’s European Championship, this documentary is a close look at the life of Ronaldo – one of the world’s most recognisable sportsmen.

From delighting fans worldwide with his on-pitch heroics to being the name and face of a multitude of global brands, the spotlight always shines the brightest on Cristiano Ronaldo.

This documentary, available on iPlayer, looks through that polished facade into the mind and personal life of a global superstar.

One Night in Turin – 2010

Italia ’90 is one of the most evocative World Cups of all time and this nostalgic doc will bring the memories flooding back. Available on Amazon Prime.

Bobby Robson: More than a Manager – 2018

Go deep into the life and times of Sir Bobby Robson – a pillar of the English game.

The documentary on Netflix charts Robson’s path from his burgeoning managerial career at Ipswich in the 1960s and beyond.

His time as England manager, his years spent coaching European powerhouses abroad and his final position as Newcastle boss are all explored in great detail and depth.

Lots of rarely-seen archival footage and home videos feature in the film which earned a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

George Best: All by Himself – 2016

Experience the rise and fall of one of football’s great personalities in this documentary on iPlayer.

George Best had conquered the world with European Cup glory at the tender age of 22. Unfortunately for the Northern Irishman, however, his well-documented battle with alcoholism and playboy lifestyle began to spiral out of control.

Best endured a turbulent life towards the end of his playing career and into retirement before sadly succumbing to kidney and liver complications and passing away at the age of 59 in 2005.

They Think It’s All Rovers – 1998

The opening line sums up Doncaster Rovers in the 1990s: “This is Mark Weaver, the general manager of the worst professional football club in the country.”

The term ‘basket case’ has never been so apt. From the owner paying an ex-SAS soldier to start a fire in his own stadium to relegation to the fifth tier of English football, Doncaster Rovers were a complete shambles.

Relive the chaotic scenes at the Yorkshire club in this 48-minute documentary available for free on YouTube.

And then read 6,000 words from us as we tracked down some of the key characters involved to shine a new light on the story.

READ: Fires, threats & friendship: Inside the worst season in Football League history

First Team: Juventus – 2018

The Netflix original documentary followed Juventus during the 2017-18 campaign, with two series of three episodes each.

Gianluigi Buffon and Gonzalo Higuain are among the players you can get a behind-the-scenes view from, while Juve legend Alessandro Del Piero also makes an appearance.

Episodes are 40 minutes long, which makes a one-day binge very, very possible. You won’t regret it.

Take us Home – 2019

This Russell Crowe-narrated six-part series looks back upon Leeds’ quest to regain their Premier League status in the 2018-19 campaign.

Take a behind-the-scenes look as enigmatic coach Marcelo Bielsa captured hearts at Elland Road but fell agonisingly short of promotion.

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