Sunderland ‘Til I Die – Review20th December 2018
Any supporters who may not want to watch this documentary should definitely reconsider: it is gripping, must-see television for all fans.
The series follows Sunderland Association Football Club and their downward spiral to the bottom of the English Championship, the second tier of English football, showing not only the business aspects of the club but also focussing on the local community and the loyal fans.
It starts with the introduction of Simon Grayson as the new manager of Sunderland as they enter the Championship in the 2017/18 season. From there, the documentary gives an insight into how Grayson managed the players and all the troubles he had to face, such as injuries, incidents outside the club and poor results, before being shown the door half-way through the season. Chris Coleman, former manager of the Welsh national side, then takes his place.
As the season goes on, the poor results doesn’t go down too well with the fans as they progress through the year. The filming, whether down by the sideline or in the crowds, successfully transmits the emotions of the fans through the screen. This immersive feeling is well demonstrated in one particular sequence, when a camera lens appears to be smashed by angry Sunderland fans during a match.
The documentary also highlights some of the issues within the club that most fans would’ve suspected at the time, such as the [now former] owner Ellis Short not wanting to invest into the underperforming club. When the January Transfer Window comes and goes without significant signings, we see that this was a major part of Sunderland’s double relegation season.
By the end, with Sunderland officially relegated into League One, everything seems to be at boiling point for both club staff and supporters. However, even in that atmosphere, we see that the fans will always be by their club’s side in the hardest of times as they attend the final game of the season.
The show should be watched by anyone who is a fan of football or who loves documentaries. It gives a fascinating insight into how a football club deals with its own problems and how it tries to overcome them to get better results, making Sunderland ‘Til I Die entertaining viewing from start to finish.