10 great football documentaries you can stream right now
You can still get your fix of the beautiful game by checking out these awesome football films and documentaries!
We miss football. We miss it badly.
From obsessing over Football Manager to poring over new football kits, we’ve all been finding new ways to get our fix of the world’s most beautiful game. However, nothing scratches our itch quite like looking back at the game’s most memorable moments, which is why I’ve put together a quick list of the best football documentaries you can stream right now.
Netflix. Amazon Prime. YouTube. There’s awesome content just about everywhere right now. You can even watch the official film for almost every single World Cup...
1. Sunderland ‘Til I Die
You have surely by now seen the recent viral clip of Sunderland’s former Executive Director Charlie Methven doing his best David Brent impression, proposing an ‘Ibiza-like’ atmosphere for the League One club’s Stadium of Light to a rather stunned meeting room.
This clip is a good indicator of the Mackems incredulous plight in recent years; the first series had hopes of documenting the team’s return to the Premier League, but instead only managed to film their relegation to League One. The documentary does anything but poke fun at the club, though, instead showing the great commitment and devotion of what is undoubtedly one of the best fanbases in Britain. It’s a binge-worthy must-watch.
2. Diego Maradona
Arguably the greatest footballer of all-time, I’ll waste no time here with introductions.
This film documents Maradona’s arrival in Naples from Barcelona, and the unprecedented glory the club went on to find with him at number 10, before the scandals and corruption that brought him crashing back down to Earth. Directed by Asif Kapadia, who also directed Britain’s highest-grossing documentary film Amy, it features a raft of previously unseen footage and immerses you in the narrative as is customary with Kapadia’s style. Keen on reminding you of the pitfalls of fame, it is a thought-provoking watch.
3. World Cup - Official Films (from 1954 onwards)
Platform: Amazon Prime
Whether you still can’t believe Kane didn’t square it to Sterling, or work out just how Jorge Larrionda didn’t see Frank Lampard’s volley cross the line in Bloemfontein, there’s plenty in here to feast your eyes on if you can take pain.
Giving narrative and context to each edition, FIFA produces a film for every World Cup, detailing the immense highs and the dreary lows, whilst giving a profile on the host country and what it meant to the locals to have it there. It’s especially fascinating to watch the versions from way back in the 50s and 60s and compare them to recent editions, and marvel not just at how much things have changed, but how other things have remained very much the same. The greatest show on Earth, there really is nothing quite like it.
4. Britain’s Youngest Football Boss
Platform: BBC iPlayer
This series at first glance appears nothing more than a vanity project for Jack Sullivan, Managing Director of West Ham United Women and son of West Ham owner David, but it is so much more than that. Delving deeper into the women’s game and the lives of female footballers, it documents the inner workings of a female football team, and showcases the sharp contrast between the women’s game and the men’s.
West Ham United Women are a historically woefully underfunded side so it brings pleasure to see them now receiving proper attention and investment. With the Women’s game in general on the rise, and after record-breaking viewing figures of last year’s World Cup, the series has now been renewed for a second series too.
Platform: Amazon Prime & Netflix
Touted by some as England’s most naturally gifted footballer of all time, ‘Gazza’ really could do it all. He wasn’t particularly quick or strong, and his fitness and weight issues were well documented throughout his career, but he could still light up any game in an instant.
Some phenomenal performances and iconic moments in an England shirt endeared him to the hearts of the nation but, away from the field, the pressures of fame, fortune, and the British press weighed heavy on his shoulders. This documentary tries to explain the man behind the madness, and the unfortunate events and struggles that time and time again tried their best to break him. Magic on the pitch, but plagued by demons off it, he was the ultimate enigmatic figure.
6. COPA90 - Derby Days
Copa90 do some great documentaries, telling stories from right around the globe and, in doing so, highlighting football’s true universal appeal - the standout content, however, is their ‘Derby Days’ series.
In these, COPA travel to some of the biggest and fiercest derby matches in the world, to experience them first-hand and document them from a fan perspective, attempting to explain their significance whilst doing so. Rather than just sticking with the most obvious ones, rivalries from the likes of Turkey, Croatia, the USA and even Ireland are explored - watching a couple of them back-to-back to witness the true contrast in fan culture around the world would surely be a great way to spend an afternoon.
7. One Night in Turin
Platform: Amazon Prime
For a more detailed look at one of Gazza’s most famous moments, this 2010 documentary by James Erskine and Pete Davies is a great watch.
The squad that came desperately close in Italy was one of England’s most fabled sides, and some would argue they manufactured a turning point for English football - violent English hooliganism had been rife in previous years, leading to the staging of England’s games in Sardinia as per the request of the British Government; Margaret Thatcher was still Prime Minister too, and the Nation had never seemed so divided up until this point.
This film provides narrative and context to the heroics of the team, and what it meant for both the country back home and the reputation of England worldwide.
8. No Filter UCL Film: 2018-19
Platform: BT Sport & YouTube
The most captivating UCL in recent history culminated in a rather anticlimactic, yet tense, final, but the story of how both teams got there is breathtaking. Some phenomenal comebacks ladened with drama resulted in an all-English final and proved that the Premier League’s top boys can compete with the very best.
The competition was given BT Sport’s acclaimed ‘No Filter’ treatment throughout the season, providing an up-close and personal account of both the matches and the fans. Here, they have been compiled to tell the story of the season, including interviews with coaches, players and fans as well as the glorious match footage; lacking an audio narration, the recap is full of raw emotion and is sure to give you goosebumps.
Particularly if you’re a Liverpool fan.
9. Take us Home: Leeds United
Platform: Amazon Prime
Leeds United last played in the Premier League in 2004, and the financial implosion which followed their drop into the second tier lead to them being relegated even further in 2007, the first time in their rich history that they had played below the second tier of football.
Three years later they returned to the Championship, but after eight failed attempts thereafter to return to the promised land, something had to change; that ‘change’ was Marco Bielsa. This superb series documents the team’s effort to return to the top flight under Bielsea’s genius, but sometimes zany, tutelage and just how desperately close they came - all the while highlighting just how much it means to one of the largest and most faithful fan bases in England.
10. Becoming Zlatan
Platform: Amazon Prime
Love him or hate him, the colossal Swede’s arrogance is definitely justified. Conqueror of every country he has played in, at every level, there is no doubt he is one of this generation’s greatest players.
Things could have been very different, though, had the superstar’s arrogance and volatility got the better of him in the early days. This documentary delves deeper into his formative years, and showcases how even from early on, Zlatan knew he was the best - it was just a matter of living up to his own, and everybody else’s, soaring expectations.
Featuring rare archival footage from his Malmö and Ajax days, it is an interesting foray into one of football’s most controversial figures.