Manchester City, Juventus, Tottenham, Brazil, the New Zealand All Blacks, a host of NFL teams… and now Crystal Palace.
The Eagles are the latest side to have their own Amazon Prime documentary series centring around a season in the life of the club – though this one is slightly different.
When Eagles Dare does not fall under the ‘All or Nothing’ umbrella that has proven so popular among sports fans (and others) over the last few years. That is because it was a series originally shot by Palace TV – the club’s in-house production team – some while ago, but lay unused before being snapped up by the Amazon team.
The series itself is made up of behind the scenes footage and interviews from the time, as well as retrospective interviews with key personnel. The result is an honest look at what makes a club like Crystal Palace tick.
It took Palace just three years to go from the brink of liquidation to the promised land of the Premier League, and the series does a good job of showing what some fans may already know, and providing clear insight on the decisions going on at the time.
We begin with a look at just how close Palace came to going out of business, with some fascinating input from chairman Steve Parish and shareholder Stephen Browett on the foundations that were laid for their unlikely promotion push.
For those unfamiliar with the story of Palace’s brushes with administration, the opening episode can be an interesting introduction. And while the more knowledgeable fans may find it slightly like going over well-trodden ground, it does at least provide a good summary of how things came together.
The nuts and bolts of the documentary is the 2012/13 season, and the broad range of interviewees give a good perspective on the key moments that year: Dougie Freedman’s departure, Ian Holloway’s arrival; the play-off semi-finals against bitter rivals Brighton and the play-off final win over Watford at Wembley.
The series really starts to hit a high point in the third episode with the introduction of Ian Holloway – what can you say, he is box office. But it’s more that you start to get a good understanding of the team and the relationships between them.
The stars of the show in this regard are Peter Rammage and Damien Delaney. Their friendship and the stories behind their arrivals at Selhurst Park are some of the high points and aspects that will appeal to both Palace fans and the casual observer.
From then on, we’re into play-off territory and it’s full steam ahead towards Wembley after a brief sojourn on the South Coast with a quick toilet break along the way.
The fact that the series only runs to five episodes may leave Palace fans craving slightly more, and where the comparisons to the more slick and up-to-date nature of the ‘All or Nothing’ documentaries stack up against it.
But it’s clearly a series born from the love of Palace, and that shines through at all times. The emotion on show and the high regard the club is held in by the former players are certainly endearing. For fans of Palace and general football supporters, it’s well-worth your time over the summer before the soap opera of the Premier League returns.