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From local underdogs to league championship, see how 'Sunderland 'Til I Die' is the football team documentary fans have been waiting for!

How A Football Team Failure Made An Excellent Netflix Documentary

Netflix is home to some of the best entertainment of past and present. They have a wide selection of films, TV shows, documentaries, and much more. In the past few years, they created a new niche in the documentary market, which was creating a documentary based around a football team’s season, following their every move from the first game to the last and allow viewers to see the ins and outs of how a football team is ran and how they complete each season, with all the shenanigans that goes on along the way.

The first football team they trailed this with was Sunderland Athletic Football Club. Sunderland are a team with great history, having spent a lot of their time in the top flight of English football. This was until 2017 when Sunderland found themselves being relegated from the Premier League, alongside Middlesbrough and Hull.

Despite their relegation, many football pundits and analysts expected Sunderland to bounce right back and gain promotion back to the premier league the following season, something Netflix also thought was a great possibility. Sunderland were one of the bookie favourites to win the Championship. You can take a look at the latest football odds for each team on a list of betting sites, like the ones listed at Odds Index. Therefore, Netflix teamed up with Sunderland to follow their first season in the Championship from start to finish.

football team documentary

In fairness, there wasn’t a better team they could have picked. The documentary was hopefully going to offer lots of excitement, goals and ultimately success. Sunderland is a club with a huge local following and as they touch upon in the documentary, for a lot of Sunderland fans, that football club is their life, it’s what they live and breathe.

If you haven’t already watched it, then you can head over to Netflix and watch it now. Without giving away too many spoilers, we will touch upon why this documentary backfired for Sunderland but ended up being one of the most entertaining from an audience perspective.

Sunderland’s 2018-19 season was fully focused on making it back into the premier league and Netflix wanted to document this. However, the documentary couldn’t have been further from that. What us viewers actually got to see was a team getting relegated again into the third division of English football! Everything went wrong for Sunderland and the documentary captured the back to back relegation that made for great entertainment.

football team documentary

The reason a lot of people loved this so much, no matter what team they supported, is because it was different from the typical storyline of success but also it was so real. We were watching a mesmerizing season of failure after failure, staff under real stress and time constraints and many players producing errors and jumping a sinking ship.

There was an element of sympathy for Sunderland fans, as Netflix managed to interview many fans before a number of games, who were always in high spirit and expecting big wins but ending up with shocking results and another relegation, leaving them completely in despair and speechless.

If you’re a football fan and you haven’t watched Sunderland Til I Die then we highly recommend you go and watch it now. Once you have finished the first series, you can also watch the other series which follows them through League One, where they still make some costly errors but find themselves in a nail biting Play Off, inches away from clinching promotion back to the championship.

football team documentary

Many viewers headed over to IMDb to give their opinions on the Netflix documentary, much of which was positive. The show has an overall average rating of 8.1/10, voted by almost 8,000 users. 14.5% of users gave it a 10/10, 25.2% rated it 9/10 and then the large majority, 38.2%, voted it 8/10.

In the future we expect more documentaries like these to appear. Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur followed suit and brought out their own documentaries on Amazon Prime Video. It appears most people would like to see Manchester United be the next club to make one, with all the controversy that is going on over there.

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