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Esquire (Malaysia) - - MACHINERY -

(1998) Di­rected by John Alexan­der

Twenty years ago, a BBC film crew de­camped to Sun­der­land to record a year in the life of the club, then, as now, yo-yoing in and out of the Premier League. They got full ac­cess: board­room, dress­ing room, treat­ment room, ter­races, team coach, fan coach. The five-part se­ries had to be shown af­ter the 9pm wa­ter­shed be­cause bleep­ing out the fucks would have turned the sound­track into an Aphex Twin al­bum. Any­way, foot­ball wasn’t fun for all the fam­ily back then. An­other trait of mod­ern foot­ball, the idea of the “foot­ball fam­ily”, is cen­tral to the film’s suc­cess. The sense that ev­ery­one con­nected to a foot­ball club is con­nected to ev­ery­one else, which sup­port­ers in par­tic­u­lar hold dear, is pal­pa­ble. There are other foot­ball-club fly-on-walls (City!, about Manch­ester City in 1980–’81; Club for a Fiver, about Ley­ton Ori­ent, in 1994–’95) but none as com­pre­hen­sive or en­light­en­ing as this.

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