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Sunderland’s disastrous Championship season to be shown in Netflix behind-the-scenes TV documentary

With the Black Cats facing an unthinkable second relegation in a row, Mackems supporters will find the TV show X-rated

TV crews have been following Sunderland this season for a behind-the-scenes docu-series.

But when it is shown on Netflix in the summer, Black Cats fans might want to hide behind the sofa.

Because surely only a Mackem masochist would fancy watching a rerun of their club’s car-crash campaign.


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Chris Coleman is the latest manage to suffer - and this time the Black Cats seem destined for League One

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Chris Coleman is the latest manage to suffer – and this time the Black Cats seem destined for League One

There was a theory  that last year’s  dismal demotion from the Premier League could turn out to be a blessing  in disguise for Sunderland.

A season in the Championship would give them the chance to start from scratch — gut the dressing room, promote the youngsters and get that winning  feeling back at the Stadium of Light.

Well, if that was the plan it has  spectacularly failed.

Owner Ellis Short has cut the funding after relegation - meaning another struggle was inevitable

PA:Empics Sport
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Owner Ellis Short has cut the funding after relegation from the Premier League – meaning another struggle was inevitable

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For the Black Cats are now on the brink of dropping into the third tier of English football for just the SECOND time in their 139-year history.

So how has it come to this for the  six-time champions of England and two-time FA Cup winners? In some ways the answer is simple: Ellis Short.

The club’s wantaway owner is the American arsonist who has set fire to Sunderland and then fled to Florida.

Simon Grayson and then Chris Coleman were the managers handed the thankless task of rebuilding from rubble — and it has proved a job beyond them both.

Short, who bought the club in 2009, has been looking to sell for 18 months now and the house of Sunderland will not stand tall again until he does.

Simon Grayson was sacked at the end of October after just 18 games in charge

PA:Empics Sport
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Simon Grayson was sacked at the end of October after just 18 games in charge

 


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He has led the Black Cats into the mess they are in, on and off the pitch, by hiring the wrong people in the boardroom, in the dugout and dressing room.

Accounts published last May showed Sunderland’s debts to be £137million — a figure likely to have risen following a drop from the top flight which had been coming for years.

And it has meant that Short has now stopped spending, leaving chief executive Martin Bain to run the club in his absence with a brief of simply cutting costs.

It is hardly an environment conducive to a promotion push, something Grayson dreamed of when he replaced David Moyes as manager last summer after they had gone down.

Yet the writing was on the wall as early as pre-season when Sunderland lost 3-0 at St Johnstone, then were stuffed 5-0 at home to Celtic on the eve of the new Championship campaign.

Experienced boss David Moyes endured a miserable time as Sunderland went down

Rex Features
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David Moyes endured a miserable time as Sunderland went down

Following that friendly defeat to the SPL champions, a drunk Darron Gibson was filmed by a fan describing the Black Cats as “f****** shit” and accusing his own team-mates of not giving “a f***”.

And while his words now seem pretty prophetic, it set the tone for a shambolic season.

Despite banking £30m for Jordan Pickford, Grayson was given just £1.25m to spend in the summer.

And though he was unbeaten in his first three Championship games, a 13-match winless run saw him sacked at the end of October.

To the amazement of Sunderland supporters and football fans up and down the country, Grayson’s replacement was Coleman, the man who had led Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

In December, the Welshman helped the Black Cats end an English record run of 21 league matches without a home win — a streak which had stretched back one day shy of a year.

But Cookie has only tasted victory at the Stadium of Light once since that 1-0 defeat of Fulham — and not at all in seven games, following Norwich’s late leveller on Tuesday night.

Darron Gibson had his contract terminated following a drink-drive charge

PA:Press Association
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Darron Gibson had his contract terminated following a drink-drive charge

Coleman prayed Short would open up his wallet in the  January transfer window but that was never going to happen.

Instead, he was left looking for unproven kids on loan, while his top scorer Lewis Grabban cut and run —  then scored against Sunderland on his return with Aston Villa.

And at the same time, ex-England international Jack Rodwell has been left rotting in the reserves on an eye-watering £70,000 a week — although his wages will be slashed by 40 per cent next season.

Ex-England man Jack Rodwell is in Sunderland reserves on £70k a week

EMPICS Sport
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Ex-England man Jack Rodwell is in Sunderland reserves on £70k a week

Midfielder Gibson also saw his contract terminated last month after being charged with drink-driving following  a car crash on his way to the club’s training ground.

Despite this catalogue of catastrophes, Sunderland might still have found themselves safe if only they had a goalkeeper with any ability.

Because summer signings Robbin Ruiter and Jason Steele, and January gamble Lee Camp, have all cost the Black Cats on countless occasions this campaign.

But those cock-up keepers are just one part of what has been a season-long horror show.

And for long-suffering Sunderland  supporters, this Netflix series should come with a certificate 18.