Sam Wollaston finds Liverpool FC in buoyant mood in a fascinating documentary. Ah, the good old days
"You'd travel anywhere to watch Liverpool football club," says playwright and fan Dave Kirby. "If they were playing on a corrugated roof in the middle of Afghanistan, I'd go and see them. I'd get dropped in by parachute if I had to." Well, you might have to soon, Dave. The way things are going, I'd say that by about 2019 your team will be playing in the Travis Perkins Corrugated Afghan Roof League. Taliban Ladies 3 (Sajadi, Wahidi, Azizi), Liverpool 1 (Kohistani OG).
It is strange watching Being Liverpool (Channel 5) now, after the Reds' woeful start. Here they are, on a pre-season tour of the US and Canada, full of hope and expectation and new ideas from the new manager. It's like sitting down on 15 May 1912 to watch a documentary about the building of the Titanic. Well, a bit like that.
There are a few warnings this might not be a return to the glory days: a 1-1 draw with the mighty Toronto FC, a miserable loss to Roma. But manager Brendan Rodgers certainly talks the talk, even if he does say OK too much in his team talks. "OK today is about starting with intent and putting a marker down OK? And today is about playing with the aggression and charism that we want to start with OK?" OK Brendan OK.
This is not up there with the Graham Taylor documentary Do I Not Like That, or the brilliant recent QPR film, The Four Year Plan. The Anfield bosses probably saw those two documentaries and were very careful about where they allowed the cameras to go, and who they pointed at. There's a more guarded, stage-managed feel to it all. But it's still a sneaky peek into an endlessly fascinating world.
Last week's tours of the extraordinary houses of Rodgers and Gerrard were brilliant. This time we leave the safety of those marble palaces and go out into the big bad world (well, Canada). There's some training, even the odd game. Plus a lot of sitting on planes, wearing headphones, staring into iPads. And golf. Footballers play an awful lot of golf.