November 7 – Netflix might finally have understood what it means to be a football fan. Rather than another sycophantic love-in with one of the world’s big money club, the producer-come-streaming service has invested in the far grittier story of Sunderland’s disastrous fall from grace into the third tier of English football.
The documentary follows Sunderland’s Championship campaign, and like all good things (for pain-junky football fans), will come at Christmas with a release date on Netflix on December 14. The story is a far cry from Netflix’s previous forays into football with Juventus and Boca Juniors where flash style and the implicit Gucci bags of cash were about as far removed from the reality of what it means to be a ‘real’ football person (fan, player or administrator) as could possibly be.
Produced by production company Fulwell73 (whose previous credits include Class of ‘92 and I Am Bolt) the eight-part series charts Sunderland’s 2017-18 campaign that saw them ssuffer a second consecutive relegation.
A Fulwell73 press release said: “In the era of multi-million dollar sponsorship deals and transfers, where the stakes have never been higher or the rivalries more fierce, this brand new Netflix original series sets at its heart the unfailing passion of this UK Northern town for its beloved football club.”
Executive producer Leo Pearlman said: “Sunderland Till I Die is a deeply personal series for us at Fulwell – we named our company after the club, it’s where our family is from, and we are still and will always be passionate fans of Sunderland Football Club.
“It was always a dream to follow our club through the highs and lows of a season and although this past year didn’t give us the success we all craved, we do believe through this story we’ve been able to show the unique relationship every fan has with the club they love and follow, no matter what the circumstances.
“This series captures the drama and heartbreak that the club experienced last season, told through the eyes of the management, players and most importantly Sunderland’s incredible fans.
“We hope audiences all across the globe will recognise something in this universal tale of strength in the face of adversity and fall in love with the characters as we have.”
At last, hopefully, a documentary series that every fan can relate too. One can only hope that the big money owners and players of Europe’s glutinous elite take time to watch this series and reflect on what their wealth is built on.
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