I confess to being something of a fan of fly-on-the-wall docu-series if the subject matter is interesting enough.
After all, who doesn’t like going behind the scenes of a police investigation or being thrust into the midst of a big political scandal?
It can be compelling, gripping even, and you have the reassuring safety of being far enough removed that you have nothing invested in the outcome other than your own entertainment. It’s a perfect mix.
It came as something of a surprise, then, to read that Arsenal had agreed a deal with Jeff Bezo’s all-consuming Amazon behemoth to film a new installment in the All or Nothing series next season, a move certain to net the club a tidy multi-million-pound sum.
Suddenly, I wasn’t such a fan of the fly-on-the-wall docu-series. While it’s someone else involved in the spectacle, someone or something I have no wider interest or investment in, sign me up please. When it’s Arsenal, the surrogate family we all feel mildly protective of, it feels tawdry and invasive, like inviting Jeff and his cronies around to spy on your dinner.
This is, however, a reality of the post-COVID world.
A full 18 months without a key revenue stream, and facing a season outside of any form of European competition, it’s fair to say that our finances are under pressure as a club. I can’t help but feel that might have played a part in the club’s thinking when Amazon came knocking with the cheque book.
Like other installments in the All or Nothing series, it’s sure to be fodder for the social media memers and I don’t doubt some staff and players will come out of it looking worse than others but what can they or we do about it?
Until we find our way back into Europe and get ourselves on a more even financial footing, hawking ourselves around for cash is where we are. We’ve welcomed the big top onto our front lawn and the bearded lady is sharing our bathroom.
Some may argue that it’ll offer an intriguing glimpse into life behind the scenes at Arsenal, and that may be true, but, to give them their due, the club’s media team do a pretty good job or offering fans enough content to keep them happy, and they are charged with upholding a certain image of the club. Amazon, I expect, are under no such obligation.
There will be discussions, I’m sure, about what can and can’t be broadcast, but Amazon are hardly likely to part with a substantial amount of cash to do a PR job for Arsenal. They will want the best moments, unscripted and unadulterated. They’ll want entertainment.
Frankly, I can’t see any benefits to the club beyond adding a few million to the bank balance but, in the situation we are in, that’s more important now than ever.
Will I watch it? Probably. Will I enjoy it? It’s possible. Do I think this is a good idea? Absolutely not.