In these extraordinary times of the coronavirus lockdown, we are all confined indoors needing distraction and entertainment.
The mass cancellation of live sport around the world means turning to sports documentaries and films for escapism. Here on the Pitchero blog, we’ve curated a list for you to try from Netflix, Amazon Prime, DVD and something called VHS!
There’s plenty of uncertainty swirling at present as we try to wrap our heads round everything that’s happening. If you’re in the mood to be distracted, tuck into some of the ideas below.
The might of Netflix has a collection of football documentaries that award the kind of behind-the-scenes access that you’d expect.
Sunderland Till I Die is a docu-series that tracks the North-East football club and its fans following relegation from the Premier League. With the first series proving a hit, the second series is due out at the beginning of April.
The ‘All or Nothing’ sports documentary series on Amazon Prime is absolutely worth seeking out.
It features a range of sports and superb programming that includes Manchester City and their record-breaking 2017-18 season in the Premier League.
Leeds United are also followed in Take Us Home about the club’s 2018-19 push for the top flight.
Diego Maradona is the subject of a 2019 film on Channel 4 that charts the Argentinian footballer’s move to Napoli.
Over on YouTube, there’s a wealth of free content to watch including GOAL! THE DREAM BEGINS about a fictional character, Santiago Munez, who moves to England to play for Newcastle United.
Back on Netflix, how about a newly released historical sports drama called The English Game about the origins of football, if that sounds like your thing?
In a world where US streaming giants dominate the online broadcasting arena, Googling ‘hockey’ is likely to yield plenty of ice hockey results - but (field) hockey, as we know it in the UK, does feature.
Lucha: Playing the Impossible charts the journey of Argentina’s Luciana Paula Aymar to becoming the best of the best in her sport. There’s also Gold about India’s first Olympic Gold medal after independence for a nation with an unrivalled record.
Closer to home, Inside the Circle: The Road to Tokyo premiered on YouTube In January 2020 with focus on five GB Hockey players as they prepare for the Olympic qualifiers.
On Amazon, Living with Lions looks at the 1999 British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa as the pride of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland Test rugby go in search of glory.
If you’ve ever wondered what makes the legendary All Blacks tick then All or Nothing: New Zealand All Blacks is a must-watch.
On BBC iPlayer, Shane Williams: Rugby Concussion and Me looks at the impact of concussion on the sport from grassroots to the professional elite.
The latest cricket documentary on Amazon has exclusive access to the Australian cricket team as it bounces back from the ball-tampering scandal with a new coach and captain.
The Test follows the Aussies on a bruising rollercoaster before bouncing back in the World Cup and Ashes.
Meanwhile, BBC iPlayer looks at the way cricket can break down cultural barriers with Bats, Balls and Bradford Girls. Follow the first all-Asian girls cricket team and the battle to keep them in the game.
For explosive action, Fire in Babylon (Amazon) about the pace dominance of the West Indies in the 1980s takes some beating. Or, you might like a dose of Indian Premier League T20 action (Netflix) with IPL docu-series Cricket Fever: Mumbai Indians.
Best of the Rest…
In Game, Net and Match (free on Vimeo), follow the Scottish netball team as they get ready for the Commonwealth Games of 2014.
We Play League is a four-part Sky Sports documentary airing now (March 2020). It looks at the magic of the Super League XXIV and follows teams and players as they bid for glory.
AFL is under the spotlight in Final Quarter with a searing look at the final stage of indigenous player Adam Goodes’ career at Sydney Swans. Outspoken on racial issues, he was booed by opposition fans and ultimately forced to retire.
For those that like lacrosse, Sprit Game: Pride of a Nation (Amazon) is about the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team on the road as they take part in the 2015 World Box Lacrosse Championships.
Lastly, here’s a trio of documentary recommendations from other sports. Check out:
Formula One: Drive to Survive on Netflix tracks all the teams, rivalries and is riveting stuff, even for non-F1 fans.
Dragon’s Back running race across the spine of the Welsh mountains (free on Vimeo or watch on Amazon Prime) celebrates an unusual sporting challenge.
Andy Murray: Resurfacing (Amazon Prime) shows the former World Number One fighting to save his career from injury.
Ok, that's about it for now but there'll be plenty of content on the Pitchero blog, keep safe and happy watching!