The producers of Amazon Prime Video’s All or Nothing series on Tottenham have revealed how they had to pinch themselves when Jose Mourinho arrived at the club.
Mourinho was appointed less than 24 hours after Mauricio Pochettino was sacked in November and it was all captured on camera as production company 72 Films were on site at Tottenham’s training ground in Enfield.
The Portuguese’s arrival features in the first episode of the documentary, which lands on the streaming site on Monday, and he goes on to be a brilliant leading man in the series, giving a unique insight into the methods of one of the most successful managers of all time.
Series producer Clare Cameron told the PA news agency: “I don’t think we were rubbing our hands gleefully, but we were in an incredibly privileged position to be able to cover someone like Jose, to come in and film it literally from day one.
“We did pinch ourselves when we turned up in the morning and saw Jose walking across the car park in front of us.
“At no point are you sort of gleeful about the drama, you are just trying to react to think about how we cover this story sensitively.
“Obviously the club was going through a huge change, it was obviously going to be difficult for the players, we wanted to just be as sensitive as we possibly could while following the story.”
When he first arrived at the club, Mourinho gave the outward perception to the press that he was not comfortable with the cameras filming him, but the producers were surprised by how open everyone at the club was, including camera-shy chairman Daniel Levy.
“We didn’t really know what to expect with Jose or the players and Daniel,” executive producer John Douglas said. “What comes through more than anything is that he and the players are people who just absolutely love football.
“I think us building up that trust with them and us understanding that we really wanted to tell the story of the club in an honest way, they really responded to that, and once they knew that we were surprised at how open everyone was.”
The coverage of Pochettino’s sacking may leave viewers wanting more as none of the key conversations are featured and the Argentinian’s presence in the show lasts less than 25 minutes.
Douglas insists, contrary to reports at the time, that the cameras were not present at any of those meetings and they stand by their decision to introduce Mourinho so quickly.
“It was in the press at the time that we had been filming all of that and we were in the room when it happened,” he added. “The fact is it was during the international break, the players were all away, we had a light footprint at that time and we weren’t there.
“We hadn’t filmed that meeting, we had filmed a bit of Mauricio in the weeks before and were happy to get that in, but in all honesty we didn’t have loads of really explosive sensational material that we either couldn’t, didn’t or weren’t allowed to put in the series.
“It felt important once that happened, knowing we were going to cover the whole season, we had so much material we had to make some brutal editorial decisions sometimes.
“Jose coming in and there being the start of this new era for the club felt where our centre of gravity should be. Editorially we made the right choice.”
In an eventful season that already had a managerial change, big drama on and off the pitch and serious injuries to key players, there was also the factor of the coronavirus pandemic.
The crisis put the project under threat and presented the production team with major problems.
Cameron added: “It happened when we were just a couple of months into editing, and because the series needs to go out as soon as possible after the season is over otherwise it starts to feel like old news, we started editing back in November, so we had only been editing for a couple of months and then all of a sudden all of our editing facilities had to be moved remotely and everyone was working from home and that was a huge logistical undertaking.
“And then there was the challenge of following the story. Before lockdown it felt like we were seeing something historical. We, like the club and Jose, were questioning what was going to happen.
“What does lockdown mean? Will I be able to go to the shops? Really simple things that were going through everyone’s heads, whether you were in football or not. That felt extraordinary.
“Then we stopped for the period of lockdown and throughout lockdown were trying to establish a way to start filming again and that was incredibly challenging, in terms of the protocols we produced alongside Amazon to make sure we were safe.
“It was extremely challenging.”