The Liverpool F.C. documentary, Being: Liverpool , was both an exciting and terrifying prospect. As a Liverpool fan, the potential of having your club exposed to this extent opens the flood gates of criticism and the possibility of becoming a laughing stock (although, arguably, things couldn’t get much worse this season). The opportunity to enter into the inner workings of a football club is something the general public are usually denied and rarely is it televised. Are the effects of having unprecedented access to a club ever positive?
Many would argue that this documentary is unnecessary and purely for financial motives. It is speculated that the clubs’ American owners John Henry and Tom Werner commissioned this documentary to expose Liverpool F.C to a lucrative American market. This is reinforced by the fact the series was produced by Fox Soccer Channel, before the rights were purchased by Channel 5. By employing an American company, Henry and Werner are unashamedly aiming the documentary towards Americans. It could seem that they are selling out and forgetting the loyal Scouse fans, who travel to Anfield week in and week out.
On the other hand, there is the phrase ‘all publicity is good publicity’. Rarely do clubs such as Liverpool open their doors as wide as this. It may be a very polished version of a fly-on-the-wall documentary, but it does provide a fascinating insight into the work behind a Premier League club and the appointment of new manager, Brendan Rogers. The hype surrounding Being: Liverpool could also create a platform for a larger North American fan base, bringing desired revenue to the club that is necessary for future success.
The thought of a documentary did terrify me as there was an opportunity for Liverpool F.C to be negatively portrayed, causing embarrassment to fans and providing rivals with further ammunition. Nevertheless, I believe that the heavy input of the owners and the awareness of those involved created a pleasant, yet unrealistic, view of Liverpool; a P.R. job on a large scale.
If the documentary had been truly opened the doors without censorship, I would have reason to be terrified. However, the obvious objective of this documentary is to generate new fans whilst appeasing existing ones. After watching the first few episodes, I’m happy to receive the adjusted, Americanised gloss that is Being: Liverpool.
Image from Channel 5