For the last few months, the staff and players of Feyenoord have been followed around as they go about their business - literally - by a camera crew from Disney.
The 15-time Dutch champions have been managed by Dick Advocaat for almost 18 months. The former Black Cats supremo became the oldest manager in Eredivisie history in September 2020.
The Sunderland Till I Die blueprint
The project is merely the latest attempt by the giant subscription streaming services to replicate the magic of the Netflix global smash, Sunderland Till I Die.
**Now, can we all just pause a minute and consider the obvious joke here, the humongously inappropriate remark which some viewers might find offensive - see the bottom of this article**
The documentary on the ups and downs of footballing life at Feyenoord will air later in the year in an eight-part series. The Mickey Mouse makers reckon they’re onto a winner.
That’s partly thanks to the unending triumph-failure cycle that the Dutch giants specialise in, particularly in the last decade or two. For Disney, the aim is to gain more adult subscribers to the streaming service that was launched in 2020 (they also own ESPN).
It also promises not to be a sugar-coated affair like the Manchester City and Juventus fly-on-wall jobbies that featured on Amazon Prime and Netflix recently. So it should be more “Sunderland Till I Die” than “All or Nothing” then.
Feyenoord are actually set to receive around 3 million euros for their participation in the broadcast. They also see opportunities to exploit it commercially such as playing exhibition matches in far flung corners of the world where they may otherwise be largely unheard of.
Sunderland never did really attempt any commercial activity off the back of their Netflix infamy. A chance missed or an opportunity for fresh cock ups averted? Who knows, but it seems footy docs are here to stay as a fixture on global telly.
Sunderland, Feyenoord and Dick Advocaat
Of course, Sunderland fans need no introduction to warts-and-all TV shows or indeed to Dick Advocaat.
The Till I Die double-header made global stars* (*clowns) of the likes of Martin Bain and Charlie Methven. The true heroes of the piece were of course the gadgies and gadgesses who follow The Lads.
Sunderland Till I Die has been billed around the world as “the mother of football documentaries”. Loads of foreign folks really only know about the Stadium of Light, and the glorious tribe who (once over) throng into it, from the show.
And as Sunderland fans we like Feyenoord. The Eredivisie giants have long held an affinity with us as their red-and-white brethren. It’s based on a shared ship building legacy and dates back decades. So this Disney effort could be a decent watch. Feyenoord flags are often seen at the SOL and Sunderland shirts appear at the 52,000-seater De Kuip on a regular basis.
Advocaat enjoyed triumph and sorrow during his two short stints as manager of Sunderland. Dick saved us from relegation in 2015 before buggering off after finding out that a 2-4-4 formation rarely works in the Premier League.
Advocaat even announced his retirement twice after his spells on Wearside ended but he’s still at it in football, at roughly the same age as Prince Philip.
On the subject of being filmed, Advocaat has said he had to hold in the cursing and that the TV cameras even followed him to the Feyenoord toilets.
So, *and here’s the deeply unfunny punchline to the piece*, it seems a whole lot of Dick will be appearing on Disney very soon. What would Minnie Mouse say to that?