The behind-the-scenes documentary from English soccer clubs has become quite the rage of late, and one of the best now has a second (mini) season. Take Us Home: Leeds United is back for two episodes.
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Why only two? Well, it looks like they were back for last season to follow Leeds’ pursuit of promotion to Premier League, and of course that season was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. And when that hit, they suddenly had (A) three months with nothing to show and then (B) a shortened season with, I assume, less than usual access.
So the “second season” is basically one hour of pre-Covid Leeds, followed by an hour of post-Covid Leeds.
And since we know how it ended — after all, Leeds are currently playing in the Premier League — the suspense they try to build in is, as always, hard to maintain. But it still works for me, for two reasons.
One is that it captures the suddenness and strangeness of March, when we seemingly went from “some virus in China” to the whole world shutting down in about a week. It also shows the same fans who, last season, were jumping up and down at Elland Road but are now clutching throw pillows on their couch, or sitting just a few feet apart from one another at the pub.
It also gives us The Moment everyone had dreamed of: the players watching West Brom lose the deciding game, followed by the fans descending on Elland Road to celebrate — only they didn’t realize the players were inside Elland Road. So this leads to some pretty special scenes of joined celebration, as well as an all-too-fitting overhead shot of players celebrating in the stadium while fans celebrate outside.
This “season” also benefits greatly from having more access to manager Marcelo Bielsa, who only showed up at the end of last season for an interview but here dispenses wisdom and perspective, then joins in the hopping and hugging.
I have said for some time now that Leeds is a pretty special club, with great support and a rich history, both of which are probably unfamiliar to non-British people. Well, this little mini season is another reminder of that. It’s also a reminder of the bizarre conditions we’re still living in.