Sunderland ‘Til I Die is a truly incredible insight into a football club and how it supporting a team can be utterly heartbreaking as a fan. This Documentary was supposed to be tracking the club who had just be relegated from the Premier League to the Championship to seeing them return to the top flight of English football as soon as possible. What was about to follow was so far from that you still cannot quite believe it actually happened.
It is a fascinating watch for any football fan of any club, it shows just how wrong everything can go when your owner decides he no longer cares and will not invest. The club was rotten to the core, with players who were not interested in actually playing and just wanted to pick up a big pay cheque each week. Yes, Jack Rodwell I am talking about you! We had all seen the story about him and making his mouth go in the papers about playing for England again but this shows some behind the scenes clips where you’d think he would be more switched on about the cameras? Obviously not.
Transfer deadline day is always a tough day for football fans and we get to see even worse inside the club. Will you manage to get the players you really need at the last-minute in order to get your season off to a better start? Or in January can you get the deals over the line to help with the second half of the season, this is something we get to see in such a fantastic way. As they make the calls and get the players in for a medical, but also the deals which fall completely through.
Simon Grayson came into Sunderland to take over as manager the role that no one in football wanted. The problem with Grayson was that he seemed to be totally clueless, the documentary highlights that as he goes on about it being a big club and having the amazing stadium yet doesn’t really mention much about training and how they are going to improve. Which in all honesty was pretty scary coming from the manager and coach! If we had seen some of this as it was going on I am sure what would happen to this club over the 2017/18 season would not have been such a big shock.
Darron Gibson was very much involved and not afraid to speak up, but the video which surfaced on a night out telling fans about players not wanting to play for the club. Not a great moment, but his season would come to a premature end when he was sacked following a charge of drink driving. Which I guess just built up how bad the season truly was at every single level of the football club.
Something I really loved was seeing the support staff at the training ground and inside the stadium being praised for their work. Everyone within a football club is part of it and that is a truly important message. Just a shame a lot of the more senior pros in this did not come across very well. The younger players coming through especially George Honeyman came across very well, showing that they actually care and want to play football. Most importantly wanting to play for Sunderland AFC.
The production company behind the documentary are Fulwell 73, which is homage to the football club as Fulwell was one of the stands in Roker Park and 73 is the year 1973 in which Sunderland won The FA Cup. So that just shows the passion behind the cameras as they covered every single part of the football club they loved over this football season. This is season one with eight episodes and season two will hopefully have more happy moments. So far this season the fans have really backed the club in League One and enjoy having players with passion who actually want to play for Sunderland.
It really does manage to capture the true rollercoaster journey throughout the season and that is something I was very impressed with, sometimes as a football fan you feel alone at times. This shows that the fans were on the same page, with the passion, the drama, the trauma and the hurt. Overall though each and every fan will come back again for more each and every game.