With all of us spending a lot more time at home during the COVID-19 crisis each week we’re going to recommend to you something different to listen to, something to watch and something to read
Watch... Being Liverpool.
Being Liverpool is a curious sort of a document looked at from the vantage point of July 2020 with Liverpool on the cusp of their first league title in well over a generation. Back when it was filmed the new regime headed by the Fenway Sports Group were just getting their feet under the table and, undoubtedly, the decision to go ahead with the fly on the wall series was theirs.
It's a decision that their freshly installed manager, Brendan Rodgers, probably rues to this very day as it probably didn't do his reputation any favours. Whether the depiction of the Antrim man is a fair or unfair representation of how he behaved in front of the cameras, it gave an unfair impression of his seriousness as a coach and as a manager.
At Liverpool - despite the way his tenure petered out - at Glasgow Celtic and now at Leicester City, Rodgers has shown himself to be an excellent coach and a serious football man, but it was in Being Liverpool that the meme of Rodgers as football's answer to David Brent was born.
There's the famous scene with the envelop which he says contains the name of the player he knows is going to let the team down by the end of the season. There's the scene in his house where there just so happens to be a giant portrait of the man himself.
Still despite all this, and despite it being an obvious misstep by FSG, it's worth viewing to see how far the club has come in the eight years since it was filmed. It's worth seeing the level FSG have managed to raise Liverpool to from the dog days of the Hicks and Gillett regime.
It's fairly fluffy stuff and there's little of any great substance to it, but all the same this is probably a less polished version of what we've seen from FC Barcelona or Manchester City in recent years. For a Liverpool fan it's still a much watch and it's probably not something Jurgen Klopp would agree to.
Being Liverpool is available to view on Amazon Prime.
The Changing Face of Football - Racism, Identity and Multiculture in the English Game
There's never a 'good' or 'right' time to educate oneself about ills and injustices in the world; instead any and all the time it's worthwhile and essential that being better informed is just better. That said, if you haven't read anything beyond a few articles in recent weeks about the appalling history - and on-going - blight of racism in sport, and football in particular, you'd do worse than pick up this tome co-authored by Tim Crabbe, John Solomos and Les Back.
That the book is almost 20 years old but many of the issues it deals with still hovver over and infest the sport is nothing short of depressing, but given the whole Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing racism in the game - the explicit stuff on the terraces and the more insidious stuff at an official level - The Changing Face of Football merely illustrates that in the 20 years since it was written not a lot has actually changed, at least not for the better.
This book provides the first systematic and empirically grounded account of the role of race, nation and identity within contemporary football cultures. This book draws on research conducted at the height of campaigning activity within the game, as well as on contemporary scholarship about racism and sport - Paul Brennan
Hang Up and Listen
Online magazine Slate was one of the first media organisations to really embrace the podcast medium and harness its potential. It all started with their - still wildly popular - Political Gabfest podcast and then their Culture Gabfest offering and soon flourished into a stable of shows including this week's 'Listen to', the Hang Up and Listen sports show.
This is - much like a few others we've mentioned - very much for those who have an interest in American sports, but even for those who don't necessarily there's some good stuff here on a regular basis. The show is generally hosted by Slate writer Josh Levin with contributions from regulars Mike Pesca and Joel Anderson.
It's very slick, as you'd expect from an American audio production (they really do radio better than anyone else in the world) with a good rapport between the contributors and some really good analysis. A recent episode focussed on the National Football League Commissioner Roger Godell's reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement. Even if you've very little interest in the NFL the discussion was enlightening for those of us looking at the situation from the outside - Damian Stack