Football

The Stars Of Sunderland Til I Die Season 2: Where Are They Now?

The Stars Of Sunderland Til I Die Season 2: Where Are They Now?

The second season of Netflix's 'Sunderland Til I Die' premiered earlier this month. It follows the English club's attempt to gain promotion back to the Championship a year after suffering a second successive relegation.

The season begins with new owner Stewart Donald and executive director Charlie Methven making a good impression - at least with the fans, though perhaps not with some of the staff.

Much has changed since the conclusion of the 2018/19 season, one in which Sunderland fell at the final hurdle to promotion: the League One playoff final against Charlton.

We've taken a look at where some of the players and staff are in their careers right now.

The players

Josh Maja

The striker departing the club during the January 2019 transfer window is one of the major events of season two. Maja, who came through the Sunderland academy, joined French side Bordeaux.

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In that first half season in Ligue 1, he scored once in seven appearances. 2019/20 - what has been played of it so far - has been far more prolific: In 24 appearances, he has scored eight times.

Earlier this month, the 21-year-old was linked with moves to West Ham, Crystal Palace and Rangers.

Maja recently told Chronicle Live that along with Bordeaux, he also had offers from Premier League, Championship, German and Italian clubs.

"I have been able to grow as a person and learn and I think with more time here it will keep getting better," he said.

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Everything is so different to the UK. The language, the food, the lifestyle. But settling in wasn't a problem because the people here were so welcoming.

Obviously I didn't know the language but they just made everything so easy for me to just try and get to grips with things on the pitch as quickly as possible.

I think I did that quite quickly. I am still taking lessons but I can understand nearly everything but the speaking is still quite difficult.

Luke O'Nien

In contrast to the first season, Sunderland players do not spend much time in front of the camera. One of the few exceptions is new signing Luke O'Nien who comes across as ambitious and enthusiastic but also likeable.

The defender/midfielder is still with the club. This season, he has played 35 times in the league and scored four goals.

Jack Baldwin

The 26-year-old centre-back, who transferred to Sunderland from Peterborough ahead of the 2018/19 season on a two-year deal,  joined League Two side Salford City in a deadline day loan move September. He has made 18 appearances in all competitions for the club.

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Lee Cattermole

After a decade at the Stadium of Light, Cattermole left in the summer of 2019, joining Dutch side VVV-Venlo on a free transfer after his contract with Sunderland expired. He has played 11 times for the club in the Eredivisie.

"Sunderland is a special club and this decision has not been easy," Cattermole said.

"But I believe it is the right time to find a new challenge."

Tom Flanagan

The centre-back, who joined Sunderland in the summer of 2018 from Burton Albion, is still with the club and has played 22 times this season.

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The 28-year-old's contract is up this summer. Earlier this month, he admitted that he has not yet started negotiations.

"I’m not really concentrating on it at the minute," he said.

"I’ve got eight games to play for this club to hopefully get us promoted.

"I’ve got a lot more on my plate than to be worrying about my next contract. If everything goes the way I want it to go, I’ll be offered something I’m sure."

Aiden McGeady

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The Ireland international is currently on loan at Charlton, the team which defeated Sunderland in the 2018/19 League One playoff final.

He signed a one-year extension with Sunderland last summer which was due to keep him at the club until 2021. However, in December - due to what manager Phil Parkinson called a "mix of both on the field and off the field" issues - the 34-year-old was told he could leave in January.

He made three appearances for Charlton before the season was halted by the Covid-19 emergency.

Will Grigg

The Northern Ireland international striker scored just five goals for Sunderland in their push for promotion after arriving for a League One record £3 million in the January 2019 transfer window.

So far this season, he has added just three more with just one of those coming in League One. His last goal for the club (the fourth in a 5-0 win against Tranmere) was scored on October 22nd.

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He reportedly turned down a move to Salford City in January.

Non-playing staff

Jack Ross

The Scot was sacked as Sunderland manager in October with the club sixth in League One after 11 games.

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"This is a decision that has been made with a heavy heart," club owner Stewart Donald said at the time.

"When we arrived at the club 18 months ago, we appointed Jack because we felt that he was the right man to take Sunderland forward over a number of years.

"Jack has worked extremely hard, and has helped us achieve stability at the club."

Just three weeks later, the 43-year-old was named manager of Scottish Premiership side Hibs on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

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Stewart Donald

Less than two years after taking ownership of Sunderland, Donald is actively trying to sell the club and has come close to doing so on a number of occasions.

At the turn of the year, with promotion looking increasingly unlikely, several Sunderland supporters group banded together, demanding that Donald pack his bags. The club swiftly confirmed that is his intention.

In an interview with Talksport earlier this month, Donald said that he didn't regret buying the club but added, "but if I was presented with the same deal again that we got to buy it, I probably wouldn’t take it".

He also said that being so open with supporters may have been a mistake.

"I think when we walked in I don’t think me or Charlie [Methven] realised just how big Sunderland Football Club is. When you walk in and see the enormity of it, you suddenly realise that every little thing that you say is dissected 20 different ways, and people position those comments sometimes, they don’t show half the interview, or whatever.

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"I think at the start we were extremely open, but naive to that. We were like rabbits in the headlights. It took a little while to get used to the size of the club."

Charlie Methven

After 18 months at the club as executive director, Methven - the star of the show's second season - departed Sunderland in December. Though, he still retains his six per cent share in the club.

In an interview with the Daily Mail at the beginning of April, Methven said neither he nor Donald anticipated the attention they would receive due to the show.

"It’s very strange when you’ve reached your middle age, in more or less anonymity, that suddenly people will be seeing your face and making a judgement on you,’ he said.

"Nothing can really prepare you for that.

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"We agreed to the second series because we felt it would be good for the club. We probably didn’t think too much about the implications for ourselves.

"They take thousands of hours of footage and then condense it into a melodramatic version of an entire year. Having said that, I think it’s a fair depiction of that mad and crazy period."

Sophie Ashcroft

Following a squabble with Charlie Methven in episode three, one in which the club garners the largest ever attendance for a League One game, head of corporate communications Sophie Ashcroft is pictured leaving the Sunderland offices with her belongings in a box.

She did depart that particular role with the club but remains connected to Sunderland. Since March 2019, she has been the head of marketing and communications with the Foundation of Light, Sunderland's official charity.

See Also: The Best Moments Of Charlie Methven, The Unrivalled Star Of Sunderland 'Til I Die

PJ Browne
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