TV TIMES: An amazing 1981 football documentary is a media period piecePosted: June 16, 2020
Some people have been binge watching over the lockdown and fair play to them.
Me? I’m in a rabbit hole of old sport documentaries on YouTube.
Let me recommend ‘City!’ a 1981 documentary on Manchester City.
It shows beautifully how the media landscape has changed.
In 1981 Manchester City were owned by a local businessman with a combover called Peter Swales. In the programme, the struggling club sack one manager and bring in another.
It bookends beautifully with 2018 when Manchester City now owned by United Arab Emirates billionaire Sheikh Mansour allowed cameras for a docu-series for Amazon that recorded their title win. Slick and glossy this is a global sports brand using a global distribution network.
The 1981 documentary is comms archaeology
If you are interested in comms, ignore the 2018 version and go to the 1981 version. Like an archeological find this shows not just how football used to be but how the media used to be. Look out for:
- Every journalist is a white bloke over 40.
- The press conference is delivered in front of strip-pine rather than sponsors logos.
- There is only two TV cameras covering the action.
- The media scrum is all photographers and all white males.
- There appears to be no press officer anywhere in sight.