If you’re craving some soccer action while the leagues are shut down, the Netflix documentary Sunderland ‘Til I Die is the perfect way to feel slightly less deprived.
Season 1 of the Netflix documentary Sunderland ‘Til I Die is a riveting look at Sunderland’s 2017-2018 season as they battle to stay afloat in the Championship (division below the Premier League). As an American, it’s hard to fully grasp the gaping differences between soccer in the United States and soccer in Europe until you see a show like this. We enjoy it. They live it.
In Sunderland, the football club is the town and the town is the football club. For the people of the poor, northeastern city, football is their light, the bright spot in their otherwise dreary day and uneventful city. So when the football club succeeds, the city is on cloud 9 and when they fail, the city is up in arms.
To say this show is an emotional rollercoaster would be putting it lightly. The team is inspiring one moment and heartbreaking the next. And the fans are an absolute riot, tattooing player’s faces and Sunderland colors on their bodies, naming their kids after Sunderland greats, and praying about the team in church.
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Half the time they’re drinking and celebrating like they themselves have just won the World Cup, and the other half of the time they’re still drinking, cursing and damning every player and staff member on the team.
They continue going to the games win or lose, though when times are rough they spend the game flipping off anyone they can get their finger in front of, and you have to wonder who on earth that could possibly be helping. The entertainment value is through the roof though, and the best part is it’s all real.
Unlike Season 1 where the managers are put under the microscope, Season 2 focuses far more closely on the owners trying desperately to keep a flailing club with a formerly abysmal business structure afloat. As they navigate their way through the 2018-2019 season, stress levels at the club are at an all-time high, job security is threatened daily, and more than a few harsh words are exchanged between colleagues. Let’s just say you won’t be chomping at the bit to own a soccer club after seeing this show.
Following Sunderland football is a simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating ride.
Whether you are a Sunderland fan or not, the show is a great opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of a major European football club. And you might just find at the end of it all that you suddenly are unusually invested in a club you had no connection to before and are anxious for the leagues to start up again so you can see how their present season unfolds.
If you haven’t followed Sunderland up until this point, I suggest refraining from looking up their league standings or player transfers, etc. to keep the mystery alive as you watch the show. If you know how it all plays out however, it’s still worth a watch to find out why everything turned out the way it did. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy this absolutely wild ride. Ha’way the lads!