Netflix Documentary Review: Sunderland 'til I Die

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Avatar for rapsantos
3 years ago

Drama, Tension, and Pressure. These are the things I would describe in this sports documentary as they invite a camera crew to view different perspectives from the management, the players, also to the fans of Sunderland Association Football Club. It follows the club's relegation from EFL's The Championships to League One.

Who is Sunderland A.F.C.?

Sunderland A.F.C. is a professional football club based in the United Kingdom, in the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear, in the city of Sunderland. Founded in 1879, originally named as Sunderland and District Teachers A.F.C by schoolmaster James Allan. From the club's foundation, they won six titles from the Premier League in 1892, 1893, 1895, 1902, 1913, and 1936.

They also won the FA Cup in 1937 and 1973, a runners-up twice in 1913 and 1992, including the FA Charity Shield in 1936, and finalists in the following year. Their home ground was in Roker Park from 1898 to 1997 until they moved to the Stadium of Light which is bigger and more seating capacity than their previous stadium.

The fans and their supporters at that time don't want to move with their new home until it was demolished in 1998. Roker Park will always be in their hearts. The club went to play for the Premier League for numerous years, then faced their fears of being relegated to the lower divisions of English football.

Why were they relegated?

In football terms, relegation means you'll be demoted to a lower division if the club is not performing well throughout the season, ending at the last 3 or 4 places in the league table. Proving you're still worthy to play for the top division, you'll need to win by getting 3 points or a draw with 1 point either finish at the top or in the middle table of the league. Once the season is over, the bottom 3 or 4 clubs will be demoted to the lower division.

All Football Leagues around the world follow this system. Throughout the 2016-17 Season of the Premier League, Sunderland was at the bottom table with 24 points ending with 6 wins, 26 draws, and 29 losses. It was a devastating result for the club and it was the first time after 10 years at the end of the 2016-17 season.

In Season 1, this is where the camera crew steps in to document the club's progress. Sunderland was relegated alongside Hull City and Middlesbrough to the EFL Championship 2017-18 Season. As fans are hoping to get back on the Premier League but ended with a poor result being relegated again to another lower-division to EFL League One.

Jack Ross, the new head coach of Sunderland.

At the end of the 1st Season, Ellis Short sold the club to Stewart Donald, and Chris Coleman was released from his contract replacing Jack Ross as the new head coach. With fresh faces to manage the club in Season Two, the people around are enlightened to see the club's progress after numerous defeats & draws from the last season. Things didn't go as expected in the last 2 episodes of Season Two.

My Thoughts on this Documentary?

First off, the drama. It's not just focusing on the fans, but also on the media, the players, and the management as it gives you different points of view. From a fan's perspective, I can relate to them why we burst out our anger with endless cussing to everyone around.

Second, the tension. Aside from the fans paying their tickets or their season pass just to get a glimpse of the game and support their beloved club, the management was so stressed out. It is normal for business owners to manage a big organization, as well as for football clubs until they would find different ways to get back on track again.

Finally, the pressure. Everyone around is pressured throughout the series. From the players to the management and the supporters hoping the club will go back in the Premier League, but it will be a long road to achieve that. For the fans, this is their life, even for me, Football is Life.

Whether you fought with your parents, your siblings, or anyone else around. You had a tough day, or it could be worse. Lost your job, broke up with your other half. Once you're on the terraces, you leave your worries and escape the real world just for 90 minutes, singing in unison with a few strangers, eventually your friends until the end. It's our way of life, and you feel at the top of the world.

Where are they now?

Sunderland is still playing at EFL League One. For the players & management, click/tap on the link above to view more. There is a possibility of a third season, but it wasn't pushed through when the pandemic strikes, causing all football tournaments in the United Kingdom to be postponed.

This would be my first documentary series watched on Netflix, and never skipped the series' introduction called Shipyards by The Lake Poets. One of the best introductions that I've ever seen. I missed the terraces so much, and can't wait to watch a football match live. Sunderland 'til I Die is now streaming on Netflix.

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Avatar for rapsantos
3 years ago