‘Sunderland Till I Die’: Under the Light

The third series of ‘Sunderland Till I Die’, a Netflix phenomenon that has revolutionised Sunderland AFC, was released earlier this year in February.

The extraordinary fly-on-the-wall documentary, which began in 2018, has been such an enormous success that some of the world’s most prestigious clubs, like Arsenal, Manchester City and Juventus, have since followed suit in producing similar style docuseries.

This ‘Fulwell 73’ production captures everything that it means to support Sunderland AFC, showcasing the passion of the region, including the highs of promotion in series three and the lows of play-off final defeat in season two.

Now, two months on from its release, let’s take a closer look at some behind the scenes insight from this enthralling documentary, with two Sunderland supporters who live and breathe red and white and were involved in the series.

Andy Stobbart, a lifelong Sunderland supporter, featured in multiple scenes of the most recent third series of the documentary.

Andy, along with his friend Chris Nicholas, were just two of the many Sunderland supporters involved in helping to portray just how important of a role the football club plays in people’s everyday lives.

Speaking on how the opportunity to be involved with Netflix arrived, Andy said: “Through our sea swimming group ‘Iceguys’, which was started a couple of years ago through my mate Chris (Nicholas)”

“It’s a men’s mental health group that do all sorts of things aimed at improving the mental health of blokes in the area. It’s a really good group.”

“As you see in the programme (Sunderland Till I Die), I suffer massively with my mental health. Bipolar, ASD (Autism spectrum disorder), Psychosis.”

“So I feel like it was really important to put across that people need something to focus on, and Sunderland AFC, these types of activities and family are that for me.”

Speaking on the preparation involved in his involvement with the Netflix cameras, Andy said: “The plan, I believe, was to focus on Luke O’Nien coming back from his shoulder injury and talk about how that affected him mentally.”

“So we did a couple of sessions that lasted a few hours around that. We were pretty much given free rein but there was the occasional question chucked in to steer the conversation.”
He admitted: “I was terrified about it coming out, mind! In-case I had said something really stupid but I was really pleased with our bits in the end. The whole thing, I think ‘Fulwell73’ have done a great job with it.”

Speaking about the potential of a future series of Sunderland Till I Die, he said: “Sunderland football club is the drama that keeps on giving! So if they decided to (produce another series) I’m sure it would be great, but I think the way it’s ended has been perfect for the run.”

‘The Mad Mistake’, a popular Sunderland AFC YouTuber with over 18,000 subscribers, is another supporter who was included in the latest edition.

His pre-match footage at the beginning of episode one, from Sunderland’s staggering 6-0 hammering to Bolton in January 2022, made the cut to form a dramatic starting point for the opening episode of the latest series.

In an exclusive interview, while discussing ‘Sunderland Till I Die’, he said: “I think it is better the way that they have done it this time because there are only three episodes, where I think it condenses it down more.”

“So we get a little bit more action, a bit more passion and I just think it Is well put-together. I enjoyed season one and two as well but I season three is my favourite.”

Speaking about his involvement with the series, he said: “To be honest, after season one, they (Netflix) got in touch with me and asked if I wanted to be involved in season two.”

“They had the camera crew around with me and Raymond, who I go to the (Sunderland) matches with. We were with the camera crew on three or four occasions, for three or four hours each time.”

“But then, with the whole Stewart Donald thing, I think that they had to cut it all short so they couldn’t use any of that footage.”

Arguably the most significant change in the latest series of ‘Sunderland Till I Die’ is the change in ownership, with Kyril-Louis Dreyfus arriving on Wearside in place of Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven, who had played a large part in filming the first two series.

The documentary highlights the emotion involved with following Sunderland, from the perspective of the supporters but also the players, who develop a deep connection to the club that stretches further than many would expect.


‘The Mad Mistake’ continued: ‘I like, with season three, how they showed you the likes of Lynden Gooch and how he came through from America as a young kid, spent his whole career at Sunderland and how sad it was for him to leave.”

“It got involved with a lot more players, season three, so you get to see about one or two players as well- not just the ownership and the fans. So you got the whole top-to-bottom.”

When discussing the prospect of a fourth series, he said: “I can’t see it happening any time soon but if there was potential to get promoted to the Premier League, I think another season would be good.”

“Again, like a three-episode getting back to the Premier League because it originally started where we went down from the Premier League into the Championship.”

“So to have it full circle, going back into the Premier League, that would be a good way to end it I think.”

The Black Cats remain in the Championship but will set their sights on a return to the illustrious top-flight next season with a new head-coach at the helm!