Mens Team

All or Nothing: Reviews

All or Nothing: Reviews
"You have to show it as real as possible. The good things, the bad things, maybe incidents, whatever."

The words of Kevin De Bruyne, discussing the eagerly-awaited Amazon Prime documentary: All or Nothing.

The hotly-anticipated eight-part, fly-on-the-wall series launches on Friday 17 August, delving into the previously unseen world of Pep Guardiola's 2017/18, record-smashing Manchester City.

Amazon were given unprecedented access throughout the historic campaign, with no stone is left unturned. The documentary features exclusive footage from the dressing room, training ground and manager’s office, plus interviews with the players and staff.

Episode one premiered at Manchester's Printworks on Wednesday night, with the team, staff, members of the press and fans invited to attend.

What did the critics make of part one and what can we expect from the behind-the-scenes documentary?

'Something special' -  Amitai Winehouse, the Daily Mail

"This is not sanitised. If you’ve ever wanted to look deep into the cracks of a title winning season, then this is your chance.

"If First Team was meant to lift the curtain, then episode one of this series just proves Netflix gave you the smallest glimpse. It is not simply press conference, interview with player, match. The Amazon cameras are there for everything.

"That spans from the dressing room after the Chelsea victory, with Pep Guardiola leaping up and down to join his players as they chant ‘Oh Kevin De Bruyne’, to Vincent Kompany forcing the kit man to join him in the cryotherapy chamber.

"The benefit of that is that you actually do get to see those real moments of genius. Guardiola has a moment at a tactics board: ‘If the player highest up the pitch covers the holding midfielder, the holding midfielder can go there.’ 

"It is not enough for the Catalan. You see the gears turning in his head, his eyes popping with excitement as he comes to a revelation.

"It would have been simple to have Guardiola sit for an interview explaining his outlook, to just have narrator Ben Kingsley list his achievements. Mikel Arteta, De Bruyne and Kompany offer testimonies. These are not as crucial as the moments captured by the cameras in providing actual insight into what occurred away from the pitch at City last season. Show, don’t tell.

"There’s something inherently exciting about seeing Guardiola explain what Liverpool could do to his team. Seeing him corral the players in the dressing room pre-match, talk to them individually and collectively, shows more than any of the other recent documentary efforts.

"It does not stop there. Amazon’s cameras are so deep in every pore of this club that even the natural follow-up is shown – Txiki Bergenstein, Ferran Soriano and others discussing how this will impact them in the January transfer market.

"How often has the average fan – or even the supposed insider – been able to watch a recruitment meeting as the game has developed?

"There’s enough of the game itself too. Guardiola takes an incredibly intense training session in a flat cap to keep the Manchester rain off his head. Ederson’s injury against Liverpool is shown in its bloody reality. De Bruyne is rightfully presented as the talented footballer he is.

"On the basis of episode one this has the potential to be unique. A Premier League club – the champions at that – opening up every door in a unique and record-breaking season.

"Early doors, but by the end of the series this could be regarded as something special."

'An insight quite unlike anything before' - Ewan Roberts, the Metro

"In an age when football clubs are so guarded, and so reluctant to give even the smallest glimpse into their inner workings, Amazon Prime’s new documentary series, All or Nothing: Manchester City, provides not just a unique look at one of the Premier League’s biggest clubs, but a long overdue insight into what really goes on outside the 90 minutes spent on the pitch.

"The series kicks off with a passionate speech from manager Pep Guardiola at half-time of the Carabao Cup final against Arsenal – the very same speech that tingled spines in the trailer for the series.

"‘You have to learn to play football with courage,’ he challenges his players before sending them back out onto the Wembley turf. They would score twice after the restart to secure the first of two trophies in a record-breaking campaign.

GALLERY: On the blue carpet | All or Nothing premiere

"Guardiola has apparently attended meetings with broadcast executives, yet the footage here suggests the Catalan was not overly precious about the final product.

"The access is incredible, from the dressing room to the boardroom – so good, in fact, that it is has annoyed several broadcasters. 

"Episode one is very much a portrait of the manager and how he has attempted to install his philosophy in the Premier League. There is a still a degree of mystery – even suspicion from more old-school pundits – surrounding the meticulous Catalan coach, but the series starts to unlock some of the myths.

"It shows him at his best, and worst – at one point, mic’d up on the touchline, he screams at Arsene Wenger to shut up – but the overriding image is of a man obsessed simply with enjoying football

"All or Nothing is a show that demands to be seen by fans of all clubs, not just Manchester City, and provides an insight quite unlike anything before."

'A study of success' - Richard Jolly, the National

"Kevin de Bruyne was asked to describe Pep Guardiola’s management. He opted for one word: “Detail”. It could be applied to All Or Nothing, the Amazon Prime documentary of Manchester City’s record-breaking 2017/18 season.

"It is about the details, big and small, that normally remain hidden from the outside world. A glance at the inner workings of a club offers insight.

"It is there in the sight of Sergio Aguero at home with his collection of the spoils of his success, the match-balls for his various hat-tricks, reflecting on the distance from his son, Benjamin, who lives in Argentina, and in Guardiola’s half-time team talk in the League Cup final against Arsenal.

"The Catalan can be animated in public. In the privacy of the dressing room, he bounces around with nervous energy, looking to demonstrate the passing movements that will allow his side to build from the back.

"It is there in the moments Guardiola is filmed at his beloved tactics board, illustrating the importance of attacking full-backs to his system and how, by taking opponents back, they can insulate his side against counter-attacks. 

READ: All or Nothing to launch in more than 200 countries

"It gave outsiders an idea of City’s spirit. “They’ll realise we’re a crazy bunch who had fun and worked hard,” Kompany said on Wednesday.

"The Belgian provided a spoiler for future episodes, which are all available from Friday, by revealing the cameramen were filming him and his wife’s family on the day Manchester United lost to West Bromwich Albion, handing City the title.

"The first instalment illustrates the level of planning that set up that eventual triumph. If Ashton offered some of the comic relief, the more meaningful discussions took place at board level. Guardiola was long confronted with questions if his style of football, honed in Barcelona, could work in England. “There might be a type of player that works for the Spanish league and not for the Premier League,” director of football Txiki Begiristain admits.

"It showed the shift in thinking, how the intellectual challenge of conquering England appealed to Guardiola. Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak revealed the toll a fallow first year in England took on a manager he described as a genius: “It was very hard for Pep.

"Last season it wasn’t easy for him. Mentally, psychologically.” A glorious second season brought different emotions in a series that promises to be study of success and a glimpse into the group who achieved it."

'An absolute treat' - Simon Bajkowski, the Manchester Evening News

"Amazon will have known they were in for something special, peeking behind the curtain of one of the most interesting minds in football and his meticulously assembled squad but never in their wildest dreams could they have envisaged their cameras would capture quite what they did, in part because nobody had ever done it before.

"If the first episode is anything to go by, the series is an absolute treat for Blues (and illuminating for general sport and football fans), the perfect souvenir to an unforgettable season thanks to access never seen before."

'Forward-thinking' - Chris McCullan, Digital Sport

"Another reason City’s achievement will never be forgotten is because of their forward-thinking deal with Amazon to produce a documentary series charting their success.

"Right from the start of the campaign, the producers of All or Nothing were (for better or for worse) given unparalleled access to one of football’s greatest achievements. And that means now, so are we: behind-the-scenes footage of training and even dressing room team talks from a team who broke all sorts of records are available for your viewing pleasure and will be kept for posterity.

"The biggest worries for any team thinking of bringing an external production company into the squad in such an intimate way will obviously centre around whether the staff (both playing and non-playing) are distracted by the cameras, leading to poor performances on the pitch.

"Then there are also questions about what can and can’t be included: clearly the juiciest parts of the programme would be those where players and staff are at each other’s throats or, as De Bruyne said, ‘saying stupid things’. That’s what makes reality TV such a guilty pleasure.

READ: City to feature in Amazon documentary

"Control of their players and the messages they send out is a craving of football clubs who, at the same time, also want their players to be creative with their online output.

"That’s always a difficult line to tread, but with the recent success of Juventus and Real Madrid documentaries, the clear willingness from on-demand platforms like Netflix and Amazon to produce (and pay for) such content, and the evidence that you can still be successful on the pitch while filming might make clubs more likely to agree to producing access-all-areas content in the future.

"It was just dumb luck that City and Amazon teamed up a year ago to document a season which just happened to be historic. But now that it’s out there, it’s not just the viewers who benefit from it, the club, too, will get their best ever season aired to a huge audience around the world."

'A must-watch' - Mark Taylor, the Sportsman

"Similar documentaries have been produced by the same team focusing on American Football and most recently the All Blacks. Whether you are a fan of the team involved or not, the films make fascinating viewing as they make the most of the fly on the wall footage and give us an insight into how the minds of coaches and players work. That said, I imagine the series won't be added to many Manchester United fans' watchlists.

"Since the first trailer for the film was released, excitement has been building about its release and it has actually been brought forward from October. While not giving too much away, the teaser shows the normally calm Guardiola laying into his team during a shock FA Cup defeat at Wigan, blazing: "Today I didn't see the desire to win, today I didn't see it. Some of you play better when you're angry with me so if you hate me, hate me, guys, no problem at all."

"Another trailer clip shows Guardiola telling his team: "Of course I'm going to defend you until the last day of our lives in the press conferences, but here I am going to tell you the truth."

"When other clubs see what the film does for Manchester City's image, it's likely the documentary makers will not be short of other clubs wanting to be subject of the series and give their PR a serious boost.

"The series is narrated by Sir Ben Kingsley and as a piece of sports film-making, this really does take the genre to another level."

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