‘Sunderland ‘Til I Die’ is a show to kick for success


'Sunderland 'Til I Die' / Netflix / Radio Times Website / CC BY-SA 2.0

Sunderland fans celebrate after a goal was scored.

It has been a month without any athletic games being aired due to coronavirus, and the Netflix show “Sunderland ‘Til I Die” provides the perfect cure.

The show allows fans to watch an underdog-feeling documentary that will make them root for the team to have success.  

Sunderland ‘Til I Die is about the English city of Sunderland and how it has seen its primary industries of shipbuilding and mining fall by the wayside, which means the Sunderland Association Football Club (SAFC) has become an increasingly more important part of the lifeblood of the unique city. The club’s fans are some of the most passionate and loyal in sports; however, their dedication is tested following SAFC’s relegation.

This show follows SAFC and its fans in the club’s first season in the championship as well as league one, and the stakes have never been higher as SAFC is in a downturn. 

What makes the show so good is that it conveys the emphasis of the city and the fans. It also focuses on the owner, Stewart Donald, and its director, Charlie Methven, that come from Southern England and try to turn the struggling club back to its glory as well as keep the club financially stable.

The series intensifies when Methven tries to fix SAFC’s flawed business structure and their financial stress, which causes Donald to make bad decisions that ultimately affect the club. From selling his young star, the goal machine Josh Maja, due to agent problems and Maja wanting to leave to find better opportunities to Donald overspending to bring in a player who could not find the net. 

“Sunderland ‘Til I Die” portrays the reality behind soccer through a social and economic lens. It reveals that agents are hard to negotiate with, the owners and directors are obsessed with profit and bringing in more fans. Additionally, it unveils that the fans are impatient, frustrated, and often waiting for something good to happen to them, and the focus on money weakens what soccer really stands for and disconnects it from the fans and overall community. 

I enjoyed this series since I could see how a soccer club works behind the lines instead of watching the games on TV like I usually do. Furthermore, this show has taught me the reality of a club that is not one of the most regarded in the world and what they go through to survive and succeed. It has also allowed me to enjoy soccer even more, as I get to watch and support teams without worrying about what is going to happen to the club in real life. 

Watching Sunderland succeed at first makes the documentary similar to a sports movie, like the movie “Rocky,” as Rocky draws his strength from Philadelphia and succeeds. Their victories make you feel like the team is going to triumph over the forces of defeat and decay. Nevertheless, in reality, Sunderland is rolling into massive failure for its fans and the club. 

“Sunderland ‘Til I Die” is an excellent show to watch, as it allows you to see things through the fans’ perspectives as well as from the business side of the game while sports are still out of season. 

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