We’ve all seen the fantastically-produced Manchester City documentary which aired on Amazon, but that followed a successful team as they went on the path to glory. In terms of the story you captured, how would you say ‘Sunderland Til I Die’ differs?
Premier Passions is one of the most iconic football docuseries that has ever been produced, and whilst it’s still fondly remembered, Sunderland supporters can expect a whole other level of production value when it comes to ‘Sunderland Til I Die’.
In recent times the football world has been treated to the Amazon series about Manchester City, “All or Nothing”, and whilst it wasn’t exactly a warts-and-all style of production, it gave viewers a level of insight into how such a huge club is ran that certainly opened up the floor for other, similar types of docuseries to go one further.
Sunderland’s 2017/18 season was one filled with heartache, depression, apathy and angst. If the Fulwell73 production can capture not only the pain felt by the supporters as the club we love was brought to its knees, but the joy which came as Stewart Donald arrived to breathe new life into an institution that desperately needed it, then it’ll make for compelling viewing.
What has it been like, as fans, having such access to the inner working of the club?
I don’t know about you, but - as a supporter - I can’t imagine anything better than having unprecedented levels of access to the club like the Fulwell73 camera crews had when following Sunderland around behind the scenes as the season unfolded.
On top of that, it’s fairly common knowledge that the group were behind an attempted takeover of the club, so it’ll be fun hearing about their perspective on why that never came to fruition, and how getting to learn about the state the club was in gave them a platform to produce the series that they did.
I imagine that whilst it’s fun being so close to the action, it’s actually quite disheartening too, particularly when you can see first hand how and why Sunderland managed to plunge to such depths on the field.
Without necessarily going into details about what was said or what happened, was there anything recorded that the club asked you didn’t include in the series?
Obviously, the answer to this is probably ‘yes’, but I’d be interested to learn about just how much access they actually had.
Were there bust-ups between players and managers that the club preferred were left off the series? Did any of the players speak out about high profile figures like Ellis Short or Martin Bain in front of the camera, or were the majority of their interactions strictly professional and respectful?
I wonder how much of a say the club had in how the series portrayed us.
There’s stuff that cannot be denied, such as the poor results on the pitch leading to a relegation, a lack of investment causing problems during transfer windows and so on, but how ‘warts-and-all’ does it really get?
It’s often alluded to in the series that there are players with bad attitudes about the place, and that there’s a negativity surrounding the squad that ultimately led to our downfall. How well do you feel that has been captured in the series?
In a special preview article which featured in the Sun this week, the piece detailed comments made during the series about Chris Coleman and Lewis Grabban by Aiden McGeady, who is of course still with the club.
It hints towards certain players displaying the wrong attitudes, ultimately leading to our continued decline under Coleman’s tutelage as he struggled to turn results around with his own brand of ‘positive’ management.
The piece also includes a hint towards an interesting scene including Jack Rodwell:
From that is some fascinating footage, including a team-mate asking £70,000-a-week outcast Jack Rodwell if he might play at the weekend, to which he replies, “No chance mate”.
Just how bad were things last season, particularly around the squad, and do the Fulwell73 lads - as Sunderland supporters - feel that they were able to fairly portray the characters that many from the outside suspected were having a negative influence on how things were going?
What can you tell us about series 2?
We don’t mean to get too far ahead, of course, but it’s well-known that the Fulwell73 crew have been filming additional footage ever since the summer, with a future series planned as a result.
What can they tell us about series 2 and how that will all go down - are Netflix committed to running it or is that dependent on how series 1 is received? Can we expect more episodes than we get in series 1? How have their crews found filming footage for the next installment in comparison to how open the club were to working with them during last season?
So many questions, so little time.
The Roker Rapport Podcast with Fulwell73’s Ben Turner and Leo Pearlman will be available to listen from Friday morning - be sure to check it out!