Sunderland ’Til I Die, and the plight of the merely-very-good football player | Andrew Anthony

10 February 2019 08:59
The Netflix series is fascinating for many reasons, but primarily for the insight it gives into the plight of players who have fallen just below the standards of the game’s eliteAmong the many joys of the eight-part Netflix series Sunderland ’Til I Die is a glimpse of football that is seldom seen, and little discussed in the media. Not the behind-the-scenes problems faced by managers with limited budgets and a distant owner looking to sell. That’s all fascinating stuff, though not quite as warts-and-all gripping as Premier Passions, the 1998 fly-on-the-dressing-room-wall account of Sunderland’s relegation, in which Peter Reid’s team talks would have made a stevedore blush.No, what was most revealing was the plight of professional sportsmen a rung or, as it would turn out, two down from the elite. Sunderland, who in the documentary had been relegated to the Championship and were on their way to League One, had operated as a kind of transit hub for pros going in different directions. There was young talent on the way up (the England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had moved to Everton), old talent on the way down (John O’Shea, five times a Premier League winner with Manchester United), players on loan who hadn’t quite worked out elsewhere (the Wales midfielder Jonny Williams, borrowed from Crystal Palace), and players whose bright futures seemed suddenly behind them (the former Everton prodigy Jack Rodwell). Related: Sunderland ‘Til I Die shows all that is right and wrong in English football | Barry Glendenning Related: Jonny Williams: ‘People said it’s nice to see some honesty from a footballer’ Continue reading. . read full article

Source: TheGuardian