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There was much more going on beyond the Jose Show – Tottenham’s All or Nothing glosses key parts

Less than 22 minutes into the first of nine episodes and Mauricio Pochettino is history. 

A crackle of stunned reaction from TV and radio follows, and chairman Daniel Levy talks earnestly about his head fighting his heart as he made the most emotional decision of his life.

Then, we move swiftly on, nothing to see here, as we gloss over the sudden demise of a manager who served the club for more than five years.

No behind-the-scenes footage of Pochettino packing up and leaving for the last time. No shots of him scrawling his farewell to players on a whiteboard at the training ground, photographs of which were soon posted on social media courtesy of his assistant Jesus Perez.

There is some awkward chatter among players in the canteen, a few heavy silences and absolutely no revelations. Then comes the thrust of ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur’, the documentary series to be broadcast on Amazon Prime from Monday.

Do not expect it to dwell on the ugly stuff. The sickening elbow injury suffered by captain Hugo Lloris does not merit a mention in the first three episodes, which take the season up to Christmas and the home defeat against Chelsea.

Nor does the horrific broken leg suffered by Everton’s Andre Gomes which so shocked those who witnessed the damage from a seemingly innocuous trip by Son Heung-min. Nor does the ignominy of a League Cup exit at the hands of Colchester United.

The most explosive clips involve players throwing water bottles on the floor and Son sitting in silence and shaking his head after a red card.

Rather it is stylish and polished. Awash with majestic drone shots of the fabulous stadium and plush training centre, and clumsy corporate messaging to help the world understand how Tottenham cares for its run-down, inner-city community and yet is vibrant and futuristic.

And, now, they boast one of the world’s most recognisable coaches. Levy signs the 45-page contract and purrs smugly at the coup of recruiting someone he considers one of the two ‘top, top managers’ in the world. Harry Winks marvels at the blanket coverage. ‘Twitter, Instagram, Daily Mail,’ says Winks, stunned.

From here, they might as well have called it the Jose Mourinho Show. ‘Jose’s first game…’says actor Tom Hardy in his role as narrator. Or ‘Jose’s next game…’ or ‘Jose’s first Premier League home game…’ or ‘Jose’s first defeat… or ‘Jose’s big test…’

Mourinho makes for compelling viewing. He may have rolled his eyes in mock despair last season when asked about the constant presence of the film crew. ‘These guys are 24 hours,’ he said in January. ‘Only when I go to the toilet they’re not coming with me.’

But he is a natural showmen. Someone who introduced his own brand of performance art to English football in the rolling news era with his soap opera feuds and touchline theatrics. It is impossible to watch him and believe he is not in his element as the cameras roll.

The plot locks onto Mourinho. He is one of the game’s serial winners, after all, and here he is on this quest to transform Tottenham’s shower of perennial underachievers into winners, too. Can he lift them from the perilous depths of 14th in the Premier League?

There is plenty of ‘football is about winning’ and ‘I hate to lose’ and ‘nice guys don’t win’, and there is an exchange with Harry Kane where the new head coach promises to help the England captain ‘explode’ and achieve ‘universal’ status, akin to his own.

All of which is perfectly enjoyable and entertaining.

The real gems lurk within the details of his assessment of the players. In the head-to-heads across the desk as he attempts to transform their minds. In his ‘private’ discussions with his assistant Joao Sacremento or chairman Levy.

Sacremento returns from an undercover mission to declare Moussa Sissoko is an influential voice in the dressing room. Eyes widen. They are suitably surprised. Mourinho speaks glowingly of Eric Dier, the only player in the squad, he says, who ‘likes living the conflict’.

He runs through marking duties at set-pieces and explains there is no option other than for Serge Aurier to be one of the markers. Mourinho teases, saying this fills him with fear because he is liable to concede a penalty. Aurier looks distinctly unimpressed.

And there are snarky remarks from Levy about Christian Eriksen’s agent and the contractual impasse which led to his exit to Inter Milan in January.

Perhaps the most pertinent exchange of those episodes released for preview concerns Dele Alli, who shines as one of the big personalities in the club. Alli quips at the camera and the humorous dialogue revolves around him, whether he is recounting a low-speed prang with Kyle Walker-Peters’ parked car or the way he brushes his teeth.

Mourinho tells Levy how, during his two-and-a-half years in charge of Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson only offered him one piece of advice and that was to sign Alli. With his talent, attitude and aggression, Ferguson was sure he had the hallmarks of a United player.

Levy likes this nugget of info, nods and giggles, but the pair agree Alli is not what he was. ‘He was here,’ says the chairman, lifting his hand above his head. ‘He doesn’t train well,’ says Mourinho. ‘I’m not saying a disaster but he’s not Harry Kane. Harry Kane trains well. We need to find the right motivation for the guy.’

Mourinho summons Alli to his office for a friendly lecture. ‘There is a huge difference between a player who keeps consistency and a player who has moments,’ he says. ‘That is what makes a difference between a top, top player and a player with a top potential.

‘It’s for you to analyse and to realise why you go ‘MK Dons, Tottenham, national team, bang’ and then you reach the top and why do you have in your career these little ups and downs? I don’t know. I don’t know if it has to do with your lifestyle. I don’t know if in one period you are an amazing professional and in another period you are a party boy. Only you can know that.

‘Time flies and one day I think you will regret if you don’t reach what you can reach. You should demand more from you. This is not me demanding more from you. You should demand more from you.’

Alli’s form improves a little under Mourinho. Tottenham’s results improve. We know how it ends. It ends with Spurs winning nothing again and finishing sixth, which means Europa League football and a backwards step.

Yet this was an extraordinary season: Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger claims he was racially abused by a Spurs fan during a game, Dier wades into the crowd to confront a supporter after an FA Cup defeat at the hands of Norwich, Alli is banned for a social media video.

Hugo Lloris tries to fight Son for failing to track back against Everton. When these sort of clashes erupt, football people line up to tell us they happen every week in training. Perhaps these, too, fall victim to the airbrush.

By the time all football has been suspended for three months amid the coronavirus pandemic and then returned behind closed doors, it has been an incredible 12 months to be inside Tottenham Hotspur.

There was so much more going on beyond the Jose Show.

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