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Roker Roundtable: “Are you looking forward to the return of ‘Sunderland ‘Til I Die’?”

Two more episodes of the acclaimed series have been confirmed, so how do our panel feel about our League One promotion being documented on film?

Ewan Bowman says…

When this was first rumoured, I was concerned that it would cover the whole of the current season, which as the previous two series’ of ‘Sunderland Til I Die’ showcased, those campaigns ended in failure.

Now it has been announced as a mini-series documenting our promotion to the Championship in 2021/2022, I actually believe this is a good thing.

Since February 2022, the club has finally been on the up after being in the doldrums for almost seven years.

During the first two seasons of the show, many football fans enjoyed it and took note of how passionate our fans are about the club. The fact that it was shown worldwide will have encouraged fans to read about Sunderland, check the results, buy a shirt, and become a fan.

Commercially, this is a good idea as well.

It shows the rest of the world that Sunderland are finally back on an upward curve, that the crowds have returned, and that things will only get better. It may also appeal to future signings, particularly with the club seemingly focusing on a club merger in South America.

It’ll be nice to watch it and be happy with the outcome!

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One - Play Off - Final - Wembley Stadium Photo by Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty Images

Andrew Smithson says…

I must admit to having a bizarre hangup about the series.

I’m not sure I could explain it properly, but I don’t like it when Sunderland AFC becomes the butt of a joke, so having our struggles laid bare for the world to see was pretty painful.

It’s a bit like how some people slag their own family off but wouldn’t allow anybody else to say anything about them. We all knew about the problems within the club but when other supporters then started chirping, I became super protective.

I’m also pretty obsessive about details, so rather than enjoy it as a piece of television, I’d get hung up about things like footage from a home crowd being dropped into a bit about an away game, etc- minor things that are probably commonplace in production anyway.

All that said, I loved some of the behind-the-scenes access of the previous episodes, and the fact that it focuses on an ultimately successful playoff campaign means that it will be a more enjoyable experience to relive.

I was in Asia with my Dad a few months after series one was released and we were the only people from England in a touring party of about twenty five.

Everyone else was from North America, and yet they all knew about Sunderland purely through Netflix. This didn’t come up through me pushing it either - as soon as we were introduced as being from the area, members of the group started approaching us and bringing it up.

Not all of them were into sport, but had enjoyed watching for the human aspect, whilst two blokes from New Jersey had started taking a real interest in the club and were thrilled to be able to ask questions and learn more. Another man happened to be a well-known college football coach and he was also fascinated by the programme and how he could incorporate some of what he’d seen into his own area.

The Premier League is world-renowned, but there is an argument that we are the best known team in the country outside of the top flight, and that could be massive.

The aim still has to be stability, and if the club can capitalise on the interest this brings and generate more income and support from around the world on the back of it I’m sure I can put up with a few more daft chants and memes from opposition fans!

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Paddy Hollis says…

It’s something that I felt was on the horizon, and now that more details have been announced, it’s nice to know that we’ll finally see a happy ending.

I’m actually looking forward to this one, as we know we’ll not be put through the emotional meat grinder of watching a relegation or another playoff final defeat.

However, I do hope that this really is the end of the series. It’s introduced us to so many brilliant individuals who live and breathe our club, and now does seem like the perfect place to stop it.

I also can’t wait to watch the Patrick Roberts goal vs Sheffield Wednesday, and Ross Stewart’s goal at Wembley again, and again, and again!

Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Semi Final 2nd Leg Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Andy Parrington says…

I remember looking forward to the first series, because I felt I could watch it in the knowledge that we were under new, fresh ownership.

When the second series came out, any optimism I had was gone. I only actually watched it a few months ago when promotion was confirmed, and I was surprised to discover that I appear in the crowd scenes at least twice. That Charlton goal still stung, however, and knowing that there is a happy ending, I will likely watch the new mini-series when it comes out.

In my opinion, I think it’s a net positive for us.

Yes, we have been watched by millions of people at our lowest ebb, but for the most part I think it’s raised our profile internationally and, from chatting to outsiders, people seem to connect with the story better than other documentaries that follow more successful clubs. It might not have always shown the club in the best light, but the people in our city have shone through.

I think this is probably the right place to end it.

If and when we return to the top flight, there might be an argument for one final special episode to make the journey symmetrical, but right now I can’t think of anything better than reliving that warm Wembley day once more.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

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