In the aftermath of the recent home defeat to Millwall, I met two German football fans. Neither had allegiance to Sunderland. 

That was until Netflix played a part and this little corner of the world and the fluctuating fortunes of its soul, the football club, found a global audience. 

Both acknowledged the Sunderland ‘Til I Die series as being the catalyst for them travelling West across Europe. In light of seeing the act through modern viewing they wanted to see it live, up close and personal.


SUBSCRIBER EXCLUSIVE: Win a pair of Black Cats Bar season tickets for Sunderland's 2024/25 campaign


They, of course, are not the only football fans, even wider public, who have been captivated at a series which reinforces the idea that personal contentment can come through sporting success. Or, at least, temporarily absent the challenges of everyday life. I imagine there have been others who have ventured to these shores, seduced by the support and taken by the turbulence.

The series - football, frustration and farce, triumphs, trials and tears - lays bare the heart, soul and dreams of a community that places so much value on what transpires most Saturday afternoons. 

There is a type of sadness in that, an acceptance that the deprivation around them is so normalised that they see football as an antidote to whatever daily struggles impact them. It has been said of football that it is the working man's game. In this part of the world it is not only that but transcends ideas of gender and includes those with bit-part or no employment. A steady presence on any poverty index covering England reinforces that. That it has captured the imagination isn't too hard to absorb.

A hard luck story will often transcend country, creed and culture and there may well be marginal benefits for the club insofar as those from elsewhere who have never developed a tribal allegiance to clubs closer to their respective homes, feeling an allure to a team through what modern technology allows.

Beyond that, however, is where my thoughts travel: the obscenely affluent, the high flying success story who is looking for pastures new and the possibility of fulfilment but without that necessarily meaning exclusively financial rewards. 

We Are Sunderland: Netflix's 'Sunderland 'Til I Die' series chronicles the trials and tribulations of Sunderland AFCNetflix's 'Sunderland 'Til I Die' series chronicles the trials and tribulations of Sunderland AFC (Image: NQ)

While that doesn't simply mean a "billionaire who doesn't care," it does imply someone, or a group, who would place football progress ahead of financial prowess. Who would measure personal satisfaction through the adulation of a community rather than an increased share price. 

Surely it is not beyond the realms of possibility to think, perhaps hope, that some such figure has viewed the series and not been solely consumed by the melodrama of past play-offs and promotion, but can detect the potential in a borderline religiosity of a fan base. A support in large quantity and loyal quality and which is largely seen against a backdrop of adversity. 

So, if you are out there, if you are looking for a fusion of business and hobby but with the latter understood to determine the emotional wellbeing of a people, then give it some thought. Great acclaim awaits any such individuals who can propel the club to a standing that would more reflect stadium and support.

And, if that is not enough, you will be doing me a favour and stopping family and friends in Scotland and Ireland continuously asking me 'What's happening with Sunderland?'