Terim review – a fatih-ful biography

By Marc Miller
Published: September 16, 2022 (Last updated: November 25, 2023)
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Terim, while at times playing as a glorified puff piece, excels when articulating the legendary figure’s drive for football glory and respect. Particularly under racial tensions and abuse from European elitism.

This review of the Netflix docuseries Terim contains spoilers and specific plot points.

The great ones ruffle feathers. Nor will they satisfy you and hold your hand. Those are some of the thoughts I had while watching the Netflix docuseries Terim. There are so many great docuseries covering the greats. You have Michael Jordan’s bullying and drive to win in The Last Dance. Not just to his teammates or his coaches, but even unrelenting behavior with support and security staff. The Man in the Arena captures Tom Brady’s cruel way of cutting the cord with the revelation that you must surround yourself with people who will bring you to the point of greatness. Or move on. Hearing Terim talk about waging war with his superiors, cohorts, and the media gave me those same chills. After all, this is a man whose family says he plays card games and backgammon just as intensely as soccer.

What else can you expect from a man known as The Emperor in two different languages? Fatih Terim has been heralded as one of the greatest football managers the world has ever known. Terim gives you a full 360-degree view of the man behind the legend. During his upbringing, his parents let him play soccer until the wee hours in the streets of one of the oldest regions of the world. His rise to the Turkish League is a fascinating one. They paid under the table as a player. There are those 51 stints on the National Team. Terim then took Turkish Football to its first European Football Championship appearance. The man not only became a national hero but a legend around the hallowed halls across Europe.

Take more pride in his ability in information, coaching strategy, and training, and he never liked the fact that he was regarded as a great motivator. The implication, from my analysis, is that motivation is like a carnival barker’s skill. It’s not real, and being such a genius strategist is. Something he never received the credit for and is a quality that traditionally will bring appreciation. In reality, the man took training so seriously that motivation should come organically from preparation.

While you must admire the accomplishments of Terim, let’s make no mistake, this is purely a puff piece. Terim glosses over the manager getting into a brawl and resigning. There are multiple walking contradictions here. Many have Terim talking about money being a significant issue competing on not just a national Turkish stage but a European one. So, after winning the cup during a successful four-year period, he left for the Italian League. His responses to the reasoning behind it are tame. Even underplayed, as if money and playing in a premier company weren’t factors when they were.

It’s as if the legendary player and manager are trying to play it safe. Why? Possibly to keep in good graces in Turkey and Italy. As seen will reflect, there is an out-of-place sequence talking about Florence as if it were a paid advertisement for the city’s Chamber of Commerce. And while I get the need to earn those precious bonus points with the wife while you can, it’s a subject he returns over and over to, in the end leaving the viewer saying, “We get it.”

The docuseries, as a whole, is well done, balanced, and has an evocative score as the filmmaker tracks Terim’s career from conquering European fame to his return home to his beloved Turkey, gaining world respect. The series excels when director Burak Aksoy and Altug Gutan show Terim’s struggle for respect, achievement, and changing the game under multiple circumstances. Particularly under racial tensions and abuse from European elitism. 

Terim may be a glorified advertisement for one of the greatest football managers of all time, but it’s a damn good one.

What did you think of the Netflix docuseries Terim? Comment below!

Netflix, Streaming Service, TV Reviews
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