Gus Poyet Exclusive: The Pain Of Sunderland’s Netflix Documentary

Former Sunderland boss Gus Poyet says Netflix’s Sunderland ‘til I Die was a tough watch – but one which gave an insight into the challenges he faced on Wearside. The Uruguayan spent almost 18 months in charge at the Stadium of Light, guiding the club to a League Cup final and Premier League survival, a feat he would later describe as a ‘miracle’. Sunderland were relegated less than two years after parting company with Poyet before suffering the ignominy of a second successive relegation to the third tier of English football, League One. This decline, broadcast to the world via a fly-on-the-wall documentary, brought the pain home to the former midfielder.


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Tough To Watch

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “It was very difficult for me to watch it, because of not only what was happening in the year that they went down again, but also because that was my office. 

“They were my people, that was my training pitch – every single morning, that was my life. 

“I was very pleased that Netflix made the show, but it was sad to watch because it’s how we (Sunderland) finished, going down again.

“The programme showed the world what I was saying when I was there. 

“When I was there and when you’re part of a club, you realise, from inside, how important football is for the city, how important it is for the fans.  

“Sometimes you can say that a thousand times and people don’t listen.

“Sunderland is something that will stay there forever, I will always follow the club.”

Sunderland Fans The Most Passionate

Having played for six clubs and coached at a further 10, Poyet has met a wide range of supporters, but those on Wearside were amongst the most passionate.

“Sometimes you see fans and they are happy to see you, they will remind you of a goal or they will remind you of the team you played in,” he explained.

“When you meet a Sunderland fan, they remember their objective.  

“I remember when they said to me after one week, ‘You have to keep us up and you must beat Newcastle’.  

“The objective was there, the objectives, they are more passionate, that’s the difference between playing and managing.  

“I’ve been lucky and good enough to achieve the objective in most of the clubs I’ve been at, the exception maybe was Betis. 

“When I go to a club and the owner says, ‘OK, you need to win the league’, if I don’t believe that is realistic I’m not going to accept the job because I won’t be able to achieve my objective.”

Clear Objectives

Poyet switched the south coast for the north east when he left Brighton to take the reins at Sunderland in 2013.

The Uruguayan led the Seagulls from League One to the Championship play-offs before being offered the job in the top flight. But he only accepted both roles due to the objectives set upon him.

“I don’t want a job just to have a job, I want to be part of something,” he said.  

“And when an owner says to me, ‘OK, you need to do this and this,’ and I believe that it’s possible, I go in. 

“At Brighton, they asked me to save them from relegation for a year, and we did it. 

“I said, ‘How are we going to go from avoiding relegation to promotion the following season?’ and we won the league in League One and then we went into the Championship and began the philosophy. 

“Then we were very close to the Premier League, the team was growing.  

“Then you get the opportunity of managing in the Premier League (with Sunderland) that you have to take and the objective is to stay up – we stayed up and we beat Newcastle every time. 

“I like objectives, I like to sit down with a chairman, owner or sporting director, and if they tell me something realistic or something that I believe inside me that is possible, I go – 100%.”


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