The opening scene of Netflix’s new documentary Sunderland ‘Til I Die really stays with you. A priest in a church comes into focus, with his congregation looking on, he then begins to pray for the success of local team, Sunderland AFC.
The new documentary follows Sunderland’s disastrous 2017-18 season where the club is relegated to the third division, League Two, of English football for the first time in 30 years.
- In 2017-18 Sunderland finished a stunning 24th, dead last in the Championship. They won just seven games the entire season.
- This was back-to-back relegations for the club.
- Stars like Jack Rodwell earned an estimated £70,000 a week last season, despite the club being in the Championship.
In a previous blog post, I detailed how content providers, like Netflix, have increasingly become interested in producing warts-and-all documentaries (read it here). In contrast to the glitz and glamour of the other Netflix football documentary, First Team: Juventus (read the review here), this is a raw, unflinching look at a football club. Whereas the Juventus documentary was undoubtedly glossy, it lacked little if any depth.
By contrast, this documentary is outstanding. There are many stand out moments, through the misery that was Sunderland’s season last year. The scenes with new manager Chris Coleman struggling to keep his team afloat, to player Jonny Williams admitting to being alone and that he may need a sports psychologist, there has not ever been too many documentaries like this, especially in the Premier League, ultra-polished era.
I can’t recommend this documentary enough, get Netflix and binge watch it now, it is truly outstanding and gives a unique insight to a club really struggling in the lower levels of football.