We can't wait for season two. One of the best football documentaries in recent times, Sunderland Til I Die really gripped fans of the sport from across the world. It showed a big club at their lowest ebb in some time, displaying all the nitty gritty of what went on behind the scenes at a sleeping giant.
It got huge international attention, with many people now closely following Sunderland as as result. That group apparently includes Thomas Meunier.
Does someone have a streaming link for Portsmouth-Sunderland? Thanks
— Thomas Meunier (@ThomMills) March 31, 2019
While the story itself was interesting, it was the characters in the series that made it. Some were likeable, some were easy to hate, but all caught your attention. With the show's second season set to air on Netflix on April 1st, we take a look at where some of the key personalities are now.
The star of the show, but probably not in a good way. It was hard to fulfil the role he did in the series without looking like a bit of a tit, but the David Brent comparisons were unavoidable. Between the tight shirts, espresso machine and meaningless business rhetoric, he was a joy.
To be fair the Scot had a bit of an impossible job on his hands considering the lack of funds and direction at his club. He definitely didn't help himself though.
Unsurprisingly Bain left his Sunderland chief executive role soon after filming ended, being let go by the club's new owners. Having held similar positions at Rangers and Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the past, he seemed to vanish off the face of the earth for well over a year.
For a while his last sighting was when he was killed off in the latest Kingsman movie.
However, Bain would take another job in football late last year. According to The Chronicle, he was appointed CEO of Football Sports Development, the company that run the Indian Super League. We imagine those tight shirts work up quite a sweat in the humid Indian heat.
Maja was billed as the next great hope for Sunderland, the rising star from the academy who was set to help restore the club to their former glories. In some respects, those predictions were correct.
Maja banged in 15 goals in 24 League One appearance in the first half of the 18/19 season and had become a fan favourite. The 21-year old wanted out however, and with his contract expiring at the end of the season, the club had little choice but to sell him in the January window.
He was linked with Spurs and Manchester City, but ultimately he would move to Bordeaux for around £3million. He has enjoyed a decent season in France, scoring six goals in 21 league appearances thus far. He also made his international debut for Nigeria in September of last year.
Manager Simon Grayson came across as an unlikeable and somewhat incompetent figure during his brief time in charge of the club. He left the Stadium of Light in October when they were second from bottom, and while the problems at the club were huge, you got the feeling that Grayson certainly didn't help himself.
He made plenty of excuses for himself after he left anyway.
"Alarm bells started ringing after two days!"
"We created a real good atmosphere at the training ground and it was brushed over. I didn't give them the access they probably wanted."
Simon Grayson reflects on his time at Sunderland and the documentary that followed... pic.twitter.com/W4kwAIfB1Y
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 6, 2019
Grayson would go on to have a short spell in charge of Bradford City between February and May of 2018, before a brief seven-month foray with Blackpool which ended in February. It's fair to say his stock has fallen since that ill-fated spell in the North-East.
Williams was perhaps the most likeable character in the entire show. He was an honest and hardworking player, one who went through major struggles with injury during his time at the club. You couldn't help but sympathise with the Welshman as he went through a number of personal struggles.
After five loan spells in eight years at Crystal Palace, Williams would finally leave the club permanently in January of 2019, signing a six-month contract at League One side Chartlon Athletic. He helped the club earn promotion to the Championship, and despite a knee injury in the middle of the season, he has managed to make 19 league appearances so far this season.
After a historically successful stint in charge of the Welsh national team, giving up that job to slum it at the bottom of the Championship always seemed like an odd move by Chris Coleman. It would prove to be a disastrous decision.
Coleman spoke very well in the documentary, but he would ultimately lose the backing of the supporters. He would be unable to save them from relegation, and his confrontation with an angry local after the loss to Burton has become stuff of legends.
Supporter: How do you feel?
Coleman: I feel responsible.
Supporter: You haven't got a fucking clue, mate.
Coleman: Okay. You don't know me very well.
Supporter: Bullshit. Fucking prick.
Coleman: You calling me a prick? I'm a married man with six kids.
Coleman had to go all the way to China to get his next job, spending 11 months in charge of Hebei Fortune. He reportedly earned a salary of around £3.5m per year. Plenty of money to feed his six kids then.
Speaking to The Athletic last year, he revealed he offered to take a big pay cut to stay in the Sunderland job after their relegation, but would be shown the door by the club's new owners:
I was asked when we were going down, by (chief executive) Martin Bain, would I take a pay cut. I said, ‘Absolutely. Rip my contact up. We’ll start again. You can’t pay me that in the next division.’
But we never got the chance to even discuss that because the new owners came in and we were out. They went their own way, which they’re entitled to do.
Without doubt the villain of the show, Rodwell was portrayed as everything that was wrong with the modern game. He was happy to sit on his arse and pick up his £70,000 per week wages, without caring if he actually played or not. When the club pleaded with him to leave in order to ease their financial struggles, he was having absolutely none of it.
To be fair, Rodwell was probably dead right. People in any other profession would not be expected to just tear up their contract, especially when there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that he wold get the same money elsewhere. Stuff like this certainly didn't help his case though.
WATCH: "I don't even know where Jack is, to be honest with you."
Chris Coleman says that £70,000-a-week midfielder Jack Rodwell will not be involved against Fulham this week. https://t.co/bkkEks21uV pic.twitter.com/Dwcjptr6L3
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) April 26, 2018
After his wages were slashed to a miserly £44,000 per week after relegation to League One, Rodwell eventually agreed to void the final year of his deal.
He spend last season at Blackburn Rovers, making 21 league appearances. He somehow managed to blag his way into a contract at Sheffield United in January after being released by Blackburn last year.
There seems to be two camps when it comes to Lewis Grabban's role in the series. On one hand, he left the club high and dry when they were at their lowest ebb in some time, running a mile when the gang was tough.
On the other hand, he was probably right to do it. Why would he stay at that car crash of a club when he didn't have to? He was scoring goals and had the option of moving to a club with promotion aspirations. We all remember the reaction when he scored against the Black Cats later that season.
Grabban scored eight goals on loan at Villa in the second half of last season, before moving to Nottingham Forest on a permanent deal during the summer 0f 2019. He got off to a flying start, bagging 14 goals before the turn of the year.
He fell out of favour somewhat after the arrival of Martin O'Neill, but has been on fire since the former Ireland manager was sacked at the end of last season. He has 17 league goals so far this season with Forest currently fifth in the table.