Afterthoughts: All or Nothing – Tottenham Hotspur

Reading fiction versus writing fiction

Afterthoughts: Heroes by Stephen Fry

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All I can say is wow. This is the first docu-series that I have watched, let alone binged, in a very long time. The only other one being Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos. I am not usually a fan of documentaries, but the insight, production quality, and the narrative was too tantalising. I thought I knew what life at a football club was like, but if anything, this series reinforced that I knew very little.

There were a lot of winners, but biggest of all was José Mourinho. Any casual football fan will know Mourinho as a successful, yet prickly, controversial and ultimately polarising figure. It is a natural perception since most would only have exposure to his viral press conference behaviour. He is never unprofessional, but is often prone to curt responses. Which is fair enough, if I was being hounded for things I couldn’t directly control by a pack of dogs, I would probably not be as measured. Mourinho came across as a genuine article, a student of the game whose passion in life lies firmly in football. Perhaps it has come with his experience at the highest levels, dealing with the biggest of egos, but his player management skills shone most brightly. He is a leader in the dressing room commands respect from his players. If you take him away from the footballing context, I think he would still succeed in that leader role.

To anyone with work experience, the atmosphere at the club felt oddly familiar. If you take away the fact that these players are being paid per-week what most people earn in a year, it looks like a normal workplace. The academy graduates are naturally closer, as are the French nationals in the team, and so are longer-serving members of the club. There are disagreements, anxiety around performance, power dynamics between the medical team and coaching infrastructure, dealing with the budget handed down by the board. It runs like any old workplace.

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