Friday, September 25, 2020

Sunderland ‘Til I Die: Second season review

The second series of ‘Sunderland Till I Die’ is out now on Netflix and follows a similar theme.

What you got to see from the first series was the passion of Sunderland fans, whether it be the high of winning games at the start of the season to the low of relegation at the end.

The second series shows all the same emotions again but in a different manner. The Black Cats weren’t in a relegation battle and instead were in the fight for promotion to the Championship.

This series showed Sunderland play two games at Wembley for both the Checkatrade Trophy final and also the League One play off final.

Both would end in defeat, one through penalties and one through a last gap winner in injury time.

Whilst you saw heartache in the penalty shoot loss to Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy final, you saw more despair and plenty more tears when the Black Cats lost in the last minute to Charlton in the play off final.

Some of the tears shown were from the owner Stewart Donald and part-owner Charlie Methven.

They both featured heavily in the series and what you could see was their desire to be successful and to see Sunderland do well. Donald showed this emotion particularly in the play off final when you could see his reaction at full time and he looked a broken man.

Methven particularly showed his emotions during the Checkatrade Trophy final, where he was repeatedly shouting and telling the team to “Wake Up”.

Methven became one of my favourite people during the series, with his business approach clear to see. Often he seemed ruthless but at the same time he wanted to be a success and you could see his desire to do so.

In the first episode he was very keen to change the pre game music at the Stadium of the Light and his aim to get more tickets sold was clear. He is not one to worry about how his words or actions impact others which shows a shrewd businessmen and also one who wants to do well.

One aspect of owning a football club we got to see during the series was the nature of players coming in and players leaving the club. Part of the series featured both the issue of keeping a player at a club and another part saw the experience for owners of transfer deadline day.

Josh Maja came on to the scene and scored 15 league goals in 24 league games for Sunderland during the first half of the season.

His contract was due to end at the end of the season and what we could see if the impact of agents. Maja told fans that he was going to be at the club and that “his agent was sorting it out”.

It turns out that more money was being asked for, however it is unclear whether that was Maja himself or if it was his agent. All signs led towards it being the agent asking for money and Maja was soon sold to Bordeaux.

Sunderland had to find a replacement striker and this then led to us seeing how clubs run on Transfer Deadline Day. Sunderland had their eyes set on Wigan striker Will Grigg and Wigan wouldnt budge on their asking price.

Owner Stewart Donald offered £1.1 million, £1.25 million and £2 million and as time was getting closer towards the deadline, Wigan accepted an offer of £3 million from Sunderland with an hour left.

This made Grigg the most expensive signing in League One history and this pressure potentially got to the Irish Striker as he never hit the ground running and only scored a handful of goals.

I do feel that if Maja had stayed then Sunderland would have gone up. I question how the club went from paying almost three times what they initially offered for Grigg but wouldnt give Maja what was wanted.

During the series we saw the same fans as we saw in the first series, whether that be the taxi driver or whether that be the club chef. All the regular characters still showed their love of the club and the despair of the two losses was clear to see.

Sunderland is a working class city where the football club is the life and soul.

It was a hard watch when fans were getting excited when the ending was on its way. You knew that with all the optimism that it was all going to end on a bad note.

I’d most definitely like to see a third series, fourth series and more after that. It is a very enjoyable series and a must watch for a football fan, perhaps not if you support Sunderland.

Even if you are not a football fan, it is good to see how a business works and i felt you got to see this more than the first series.

The way Donald and Methven handled their business and the way the whole club ran, whether that be the media team, ticketing team or even the players conducted themselves is a worthwhile way to spend your days in lockdown.

I would give the series an 8/10 and i would watch the series again.

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