I think I’m now a Sunderland fan. Over the Christmas break I checked out the Netflix docu-series out of England called Sunderland ‘Til I Die. It drew me in instantly because it’s basically Hard Knocks for a soccer club. In addition, if you can imagine, things in Sunderland are worse than they are in Cleveland for the Browns.
Imagine after Sashi Brown and Hue Jackson joined the Browns, they played their first season going 1-15 and then were kicked out of the top echelon of the NFL. In Premier League Football that’s exactly what happened to Sunderland. The series kicks off following the team as they look to re-establish themselves and make it back into the Premier League. That was the plan, however.
I thought about telling you about this series without spoiling anything, but as a Browns fan watching it all unfold, I don’t think to tell you what happens actually detracts from the entertainment value. The parallels are unbelievable between how awful the team was and what they were going through, only here’s the kicker. The Browns under Sashi Brown and Hue Jackson were at least compensated with high draft choices as they collected assets. Sunderland got no such rewards in their system and instead faced further relegation.
Now, for the spoilers for those who don’t plan on watching this series.
Sunderland not only fired their coach in the middle of the show, they fired the next one too as the lame, cheap ownership agreed to sell the team as they were relegated a second time. In their own British soccer way, they did a full Browns when they followed up 1-15 with 0-16 almost exactly, except it’s even worse because they didn’t get to draft Myles Garrett, and Baker Mayfield in back-to-back years.
It’s well worth watching and I think it made me a fan of Sunderland. I love soccer. I still play it and I love to watch it, but I’ve always had trouble finding a team to root for. I think this might be it for me finally. Nobody can accuse me of being a front-runner, anyway.
Podcast on Baker Mayfield, and a potential Corey Kluber trade