‘Sunderland Til I Die’ Season 2 Is Another Tragicomic Slice Of Football Life
The first season of Sunderland ‘Til I Die was a tragicomic odyssey right into a Premier League club’s equal of The Upside Down. As a substitute of bouncing straight again to the top desk, Sunderland had been relegated once more from the Championship to League One.
Out went wantaway proprietor Ellis Brief and chief exec Martin Bain; in got here new brooms Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven. The cameras hung round to see what occurred. As you may know, issues did not get any much less tragicomic final season.
Key voices from The first season are nonetheless round. Peter, the taxi driver who’s been coming to Sunderland video games since 1963, continues to be there, as is Joyce, the club’s head cook dinner. club captain George Honeyman continues to be an cute sunbeam. Methven is the standout character on this new sequence, although.
All the things about him smells a bit off. He says “season playing cards” somewhat than season tickets. He pushes his hair again so it looks prefer it’s received Cadillac-style fins. Within the first episode he makes an attempt a Glengarry Glen Ross-style foul-mouthed rant at employees to impress upon them how fucked every thing is.
“On an operational foundation, this enterprise was shedding, and planning to lose, 30 to 40 million [pounds] a yr,” he says. A pause for dramatic impact. “It’s a failed” – he attracts a giant line via some figures on his whiteboard – “fucked-up enterprise, and except you guys perceive that, you will by no means fucking make it on this world.”
He looks round. “This. Was. Fucked.” He smiles. “Hundred per cent fucked.” No one appears to know the way a lot the club was paying in curiosity the earlier season. “It was in my presentation to all employees,” says Methven, clicking his pen irritably.
Sunderland went virtually a full calendar yr with out successful on the Stadium of Gentle, and Methven desires to show it right into a fortress. For some cause, his weapon of alternative is trance. Sergei Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights has been Sunderland’s walk-out music in the beginning of video games because the Stadium of Gentle opened, however Methven has some ideas.
“My private intuition is: new begin, fresh beginnings, new sound,” he says, tapping on his laptop computer. “That is how I might do it if I used to be DJ.”
Tiesto’s ‘Adagio For Strings’ bangs tinnily into the assembly room. Seems are exchanged. Later, While making an attempt out the PA system with matchday announcer Frankie Francis, he tries to get throughout what he desires.
“You know these huge raves?” Methven says.
“Like a nightclub?” says Francis.
“Yeah,” says Methven, “or a minimum of a really large-scale one.”
If Methven is eerily clean, Donald appears to hold the burden of Wearside on his shoulders. He actually crumples throughout the January switch negotiations for Will Grigg, ultimately forking out a whopping £three million – a bit of over Methven’s £1.25 million valuation – to attempt to exchange striker Josh Maja. You are feeling sorry for him.
If The first season of Sunderland ‘Til I Die was about pleasure and place, and the crumbling however abiding love between town and its club, the second is about cash. Sunderland’s wage invoice is £34 million. In League One. £34 million. League One. The vast majority of the taking part in employees depart. In come off-cuts, children and low-price punts.
The 2 seasons of Sunderland ‘Til I Die really feel like they’ve come from utterly completely different eras in footballing historical past. The first noticed a tightening of belts and a few important pruning. Since then, we have seen Bury expelled from the Football League after collapsing financially, and a former director chain herself to a drainpipe on the floor in protest. We noticed Bolton Wanderers pad out their squad with youth gamers after an exodus left them with six senior professionals. Southend United have simply been served a winding up order. Different golf equipment like Macclesfield City, Oldham Athletic and Coventry Metropolis have struggled to maintain their heads above water too.
That is the corporate Sunderland hold now. They are not a yo-yo club plotting a return to stability; they are a enterprise sprinting towards a cliff edge. Extra golf equipment will collapse. The season begins and ends with video games towards Charlton Athletic – the second a play-off ultimate at Wembley – although with strikingly completely different endings. The worth of that ultimate is not simply financial, it is existential. The shock and ache is much more visceral than it was within the first season.
While most of the Football club documentaries which adopted Sunderland ‘Til I Die had been little greater than very properly produced exercises in myth-building, none can contact this one for capturing the on a regular basis struggling followers endure.