REVIEW: Sunderland ‘Til I Die

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Wikimedia Commons

A stand at the stadium of light, the home of Sunderland A.F.C.

Jimmy Feeney, Multimedia Manager

Sunderland ‘Til I Die is a show primarily on Netflix that follows a football (soccer) club in England as they fight through some very difficult times as a football club.

The series has two seasons. The first season follows the team as they play in the second division of English football for the first time in over ten years. Within the first season it follows as the club tumbles down from trying to win promotion back to the Premier League all the way to fighting to remain in the second division.

As the club unravels, viewers see a club desperately attempting to get better via buying players in the transfer window as the ownership refuses to help, firing two managers and anything else to possibly help the club. At the end of both season one and the club’s season, the club gets relegated to the third division of English football; a shock for the fans who held an expectation of being promoted back to the Premier League that season.

Season two of the show focuses on the following season as the club plays in the third division for the first time in over 35 years. This season focuses on the change in ownership that the club goes through, a promising young player refusing to resign with the club and yet another stressful transfer period for the club all in the hopes of gaining promotion back to the second division.

This season is much more hopeful as the competition the club faces is lesser in quality. The owners manage to set a league record for attendance as they bring some hope back to the club. The team manages to make it to a cup final, but loses at Wembley stadium, a common occurrence for the club in their history. The season climaxes with the team making it to the promotion playoff finals, where they have one game to earn their way back to the second division.

Failure and disappointment, however, prove to be a theme in both this show and in the club’s performances, as they lose at the death of the game, once again in Wembley stadium. Thus, they are forced to remain in the third division for at least one more season. After the final game, a fan perfectly encapsulates the moment when she states “Why is it never us celebrating?”

The filmmakers of this show had no clue what types of themes or feelings the show would bring them when they began. Likely expecting to follow a club winning and getting back to their usual place, instead pain of an industrial city with not much to do on weekends except watch Sunderland matches is shown through the lenses of many features on fans. 

Additionally, the show encapsulates very well what stress players, coaches, owners and fans all feel when they see their team falling apart from what they once were in front of their eyes.

Overall the show is very well presented as it both is great for not only football fans wanting an inside look at a club, but casual Netflix surfers as well as it still captures emotions that all people have to go through and feel.