Sometimes, “fly on the wall” documentaries do end positively (Video)

There has been much talk in recent weeks over the production of “Being:Liverpool”, the fly-on-the-wall documentary produced by the club’s owners, the Fenway Group, showcasing the initial challenges they faced on a daily basis as they took ownership of the club. The documentary has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in Britain as it is said to show details of the infamous meeting in Boston between John W Henry and Kenny Daglish in May, which ended in “King Kenny’s” sacking. Additionally, the documentary highlights incidents that are almost always confined in secret to the dressing room, such as Brendan Rodgers’ expletive-filled dressing down to young starlet Raheem Sterling on the club’s tour to the USA this summer.

Liverpool fans fear that the program will bring some thoroughly un-needed embarassment to their club, which has already made it’s worst start to a season since 1963 and hardly covered itself in glory with it’s transfer “inaction” on the last day of the transfer window. Indeed, the worst case scenario evokes memories of a similar documentary in the 1990s involving Leyton Orient, “Sold for a Fiver”, where the rants and raves of then Orient manager John Sitton continue to evoke merciless laughter from football fans to this day.

However, on occassion, such documentaries have led to better things. Take the example of Peterborough United and their involvement in the SKY program, “Big Ron Manager” in 2006. The concept involved Ron Atkinson as a football “troubleshooter”, coming in to assist Peterborough’s young caretaker manager Steve Bleasdale. The trouble was that Bleasdale was actually doing a good job and had won four from five games to leave Posh placed comfortably in the play-off positions before Atkinson arrived. Peterborough and owner Barry Fry only agreed to the making of the program due to the dire financial situation at the club.

The program itself made fantastic television as the so called “experiment” exploded. Bleasdale struggled to come to terms with the presence of Atkinson and completely spun out of control, allowing player discontent to rise and his tactical naivity to show. Predictably, results and performances began to fade to the extent that the players famously came to blows in the dressing room while a young Sean St Ledger disrespected manager Bleasdale (shown in the video below). Bleasdale eventually resigned and despite Atkinson’s presence, Peterborough finished out of the League 2 play off positions.

However, watching the documentary and seeing the club fall into disarray, was one Darragh MacAnthony who in September 2006, four months after the documentary went off air, took over the club and pumped in the finances to not only rescue Peterborough from the perilous situation it was in at the making of the program, but help it rise from mid-table in League 2 to the Championship within three seasons.

So perhaps when Liverpool fans are up in arms at “Being:Liverpool” supposedly denigrating their club’s grandiose history and pride, they should watch the video below and think about just how Peterborough fans must have felt then and how they feel now.

Adam Mazrani

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