Stadium Of Light
49,000 (all seated)
Address: Stadium Of Light, Sunderland, SR5 1SU
Telephone: 0371 911 1200
Fax: 0191 551 5123
Ticket Office: 0371 911 1973
StadiumTours: 0371 911 1200
Pitch Size: 105 x 68 metres
Pitch Type: Grass
Club Nickname: The Black Cats
Year Ground Opened: 1997
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Shirt Sponsors: Children with Cancer UK
Home Kit: Red and White
Away Kit: Blue With Red Trim
The Club moved to the Stadium of Light in 1997, after leaving their former home of Roker Park where they had played for 99 years. The stadium is of a good size, is totally enclosed and on the whole is quite impressive. It is composed of two three-tiered stands (at the North end and the West side of the pitch), whilst the others are two-tiered. The West (Main) Stand on one side also has a row of executive boxes (which you can sit outside if you wish), that are situated just below the top tier. Currently, with half the stadium being larger than the other, it looks a little imbalanced, when looking from the Roker Stand. However, if at some point the Club were to add an additional tier to the two remaining sides, then an even more remarkable stadium would emerge. There is also a large video screen perched upon the roof at either end.
Outside the stadium, there is a statue of former FA Cup winning manager Bob Stokoe, as well as some reminders of the former Wearmouth Colliery, on the site of which the stadium was built. Behind the West Stand, there is a large red wheel, an emblem of the lifts that used to take the miners down to the mines. Also outside one corner of the stadium is a large miners lamp. If you feel a little mischievous, then ask the nearest Sunderland fan whether it is a Geordie Lamp. Don’t worry you won’t get any physical abuse, just a long lecture that the lamp is, in fact, a Davy lamp!
In December 2018 the club renamed the South Stand, the Roker Stand, in tribute to their old ground, following a vote by fans.
Kevin Davis informs me; ‘The club have secured planning permission to add another 7,200 seats to the Roker (South) Stand, which would take the capacity to 55,000. The club have not yet confirmed when (if ever) they will go ahead with this. If the club then proceeds after this to add another tier to the East Stand then the final capacity would be around 64,000.’
Away fans are now housed in the Upper Tier of the Carling North Stand at one end of the stadium, where around 3,000 fans can be housed for league games. For cup games then up to 9,000 visiting supporters can be accommodated in this tier if demand requires it). The away turnstiles, which are electronic, are numbered 69-72 and open 90 minutes before kick off. Although the facilities are fine in this area, you do have to climb a large number of flights of stairs to reach this top tier. It almost feels if this area has been ‘tucked in’ under the stadium roof, as it comes down over this section. It means that if you are sitting towards the back of the tier, then although you can see the pitch, you get a limited view of the majority of the rest of the stadium, giving the feeling of being a bit cut off from it all. On the food front, then the club offers; Fish & Chips (£5.50), Various Pies (£3.50) including the Chicken Balti Pie, Cornish Pasties (£3) and Jumbo Sausage Rolls (£3).
When people ask me which grounds are ‘the best’ to visit, then Sunderland inevitably comes out as one of my top five recommendations. On its day the place can be rocking, the PA system deafening (especially when the classical piece ‘Dance Of The Knights’ from Prokofiev’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ is played before the players come on to the pitch at the start of the game and the Futurehead’s ‘Beginning of the Twist’, as the teams come out of the tunnel) and the Sunderland supporters exceptionally friendly (I was even given a Sunderland shirt by one supporter!). But bear in mind you are not allowed to swear inside the stadium, so if you persist you may find yourself being ejected from the ground!
The Club have opened a Fan Zone which is located outside the South East part of the stadium. The area has entertainment in the form of live bands, large screens etc.. Plus food and drink outlets. It is available to both home and away supporters. It is open three hours before kick off and for one hour after the game has ended. Entry is free.
Marcus Bowen a visiting Swansea City fan informs me; ‘Just across the road from the stadium (near to the entrance where the Davy Lamp is situated) is the Colliery Tavern. Although predominantly a home fans pub, it does allow in away fans and we had an enjoyable time on our visit. It shows live football on a number of tv’s and to cope with a large number of fans it has a marquee outside, also serving beer as well as a burger van. Ben King a visiting Ipswich Town fan adds; ‘Also close to the ground is the Wheatsheaf pub, which now allows in away fans and has recently been refurbished’. This pub on Roker Avenue is located next to a busy road junction, going towards the City Centre from the stadium.
Stephen Lundell informs me; ‘There are two social clubs; the Sunderland Companions club, and the New Democratic Club, both on North Bridge Street (the road approaching the Wearmouth Bridge), which are about a five minute walk away from the stadium. Although they get very busy they do welcome away supporters, and serve reasonably priced beer’. Whilst Jason Adderley a visiting West Brom fan adds; ”The Albion pub, on Victor Street, off Roker Avenue, is a five minute walk from the ground, with some parking nearby. I’ve used this pub the last three times I’ve visited Sunderland with West Brom. Always friendly and the landlord even puts on complimentary snacks after the game. Otherwise, there is a chippy a couple of doors away. An all-round top boozer’.
Byron Kemp informs me; ‘One of the best pubs north of the river where you can find parking and walk to stadium pre-match is called “The Avenue”. Away fans are always welcome to this large pub, which is only ten minutes walk to the stadium and only a few minutes from the Stadium of Light Metro station. It is located on Zetland Street just off Roker Avenue’.
If you have a bit of time on your hands, then you may like to try the Harbour View on the seafront, which is around a 15-20 minute walk away. Simply go along Roker Avenue (opposite the main entrance to the stadium) until you reach the seafront. Turn left along the front and you will see the pub up on the left. The pub which is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, serves good beer (up to six ales), reasonably priced food (with its own matchday menu) and has a large screen television. As the name of the pub suggests you get some good views along the coast from its location. Marcus Ford a visiting Southampton fan adds; ‘We tried the Wolsey just down from the Harbour View. It had some real ales and a large eating area and outside decking with glass windbreaks. But by far the best pub was the William Jameson on Fawcett Street in the city centre. It is a Wetherspoons pub that does get busy before and after the game, but they put on plenty of bar staff, so you don’t have to wait long to get served. We spent much of the time talking to locals and having a good time!’
Otherwise, alcohol is also available inside the stadium, in the form of Carling Lager (£4), Carling Cider (£3.80) and Worthingtons (£3.80) and various wines (£3.90). However, for certain games, the Club opts not to sell alcohol to away supporters. The Club also offers 2 Pies and 2 Pints for £12 (well that’s me sorted, where’s yours?).
Exit the A1 at Junction 62, the Durham/Sunderland exit and take the A690 towards Sunderland. After about eight miles, you will reach a roundabout, at which turn left onto the A19, signposted for the Tyne Tunnel. Stay in the left hand lane and take the second slip road towards Sunderland (signposted Stadium Of Light, A1231 Sunderland). This takes you onto a bridge crossing over the River Wear. Turn right onto the A1231 following the signs for Sunderland. Go straight over four roundabouts into Sunderland.
Then go through two sets of traffic lights (keeping in the left hand lane at the second set, going straight on towards Roker rather than the city centre) and you will see the Stadium car park on your right, about a mile after the traffic lights. However there is only limited parking at the ground itself and there is a residents only parking scheme in operation on streets close to the stadium (especially on the estate behind the North Stand). So please check for any warning signs on lamp posts before parking, or you may end up with a hefty parking ticket for your trouble.
Instead you can park at the Stadium of Light Metro Station (cost £1) or alternatively, you can park in the city centre and walk to the ground (about 10-15 minutes). The traffic for a couple of miles around the ground was solid when I went so allow plenty of time for your journey.
There is also a ‘Park & Ride’ scheme in operation on matchdays, free for both home and away supporters. This is situated at Sunderland Enterprise Park, which is well signposted just off the A1231. Buses run every five minutes, for 90 minutes before kick off and continue after the game until everyone has gone. There is also the option of renting a private driveway near the Stadium of Light via YourParkingSpace.co.uk.
Post Code for SAT NAV: SR5 1SU
Sunderland Railway Station is located just under one mile away from the Stadium of Light and takes around 15-20 minutes to walk. Paul Duck informs me; ‘You will exit the station opposite Greggs. Turn right out of the station heading up towards a JJB Sports store and walk through the gap between JJB and a nail bar to the right of JJB. Keep walking straight ahead and within 100m you will see the Stadium Of Light rising up in front of you over the Wearmouth Bridge’. Simply cross the bridge, and turn left into Millennium Way, opposite the now closed Wheatsheaf pub. The away turnstiles are located on the side of the ground which is straight ahead.
Ashley Smith adds; “The Metro stations called the ‘Stadium of Light’ and ‘St. Peters’ both serve the stadium. The metro provides regular and rapid transport from both Newcastle and the South of Sunderland. Both stations are only a few minutes walk from the stadium, although away supporters should alight at St Peters Station as that is closer to their entrance. This provides an alternative to the regular rail services. Please note though that after the game the Stadium of Light metro station only operates Northbound (i.e. towards Newcastle) and St Peters metro station only operates Southbound (i.e. towards Sunderland centre). Michael Freanch a visiting Birmingham City fan informs me; ‘If you are going into Newcastle after the match then then it may be an idea to walk walk into the centre of Sunderland (10-15 minutes walk) and get metro from there. You will get a seat and also avoid the large crowds at the Stadium of Light station’.
Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money! Find train times, prices and book tickets with Trainline. Visit the website below to see how much you can save on the price of your tickets:
The nearest airport is Newcastle which is located 24 miles away. However the journey is pretty straightforward as both the Stadium Of Light and Newcastle Airport are both served by the Metro transit system. There are frequent departures to Sunderland and the journey time is just under an hour.
Younger football fans – as in sub 30-years-old – will probably associate Sunderland with their current ground, The Stadium of Light, and nothing else. The prior generation, however, will always know the Black Cats as playing their home matches at Roker Park; for just short of a century Sunderland called that ground home and it holds plenty of club history be it the record attendance or the Sunderland stadium that first tasted European football. Still, there are a fair few other grounds that have been used by the club over the years – particularly in the early years. Sunderland have also played at Newcastle Road and Abbs Field where they spent two years each.
Before that, Horatio Street, Groves Field and Blue House Field all hosted games for around a year apiece whilst a ground called ‘The Cedars’ is known to have been a Sunderland stadium at some point but with details largely unknown.
Away Fans (North Stand)
Over 65’s £17.50
Under 22’s £12.50
Under 16’s £7.50
StubHub is the official ticketing marketplace partner of Everton FC. This allows season ticket holders to sell tickets for individual matches where they are unable to attend. As they are being sold by supporters, prices tend to be normally more reasonable than going through a ticketing agency. Please note these tickets are for Home or Neutral supporters only. Check out their current availability of Sunderland FC Tickets.
Red & White Review Official Programme £3
A Love Supreme Fanzine £2.50
Sex & Chocolate Fanzine £1.50
Sunderland vs Newcastle rivalry: All football fans know about this derby despite the two teams being separated by an entire league right now. There aren’t a wealth of teams in the North East and these two are just 12 miles apart. There is, however, a non-footballing element to the dislike between Geordies and Mackems; that rivalry can be traced back to the English Civil War. Violent outbreaks are not uncommon in this fixture.
Sunderland vs Middlesbrough rivalry: The Tees-Wear derby does bring a little bit of fireworks to matchday with the clubs both located in the North East of England. Sunderland, however, are much closer to Newcastle and that means their fans care much less about this derby – although winning is still nice!
For details of disabled facilities and club contact at the ground please visit the relevant page on the Level Playing Field website.
The Club offer daily tours of the stadium, except on matchdays.
These cost £10 for adults and £5 for concessions.
A family ticket (2 adults + 2 children) is also available at £25.
For tour times and availability ring the tour hotline on 0871 911 1224.
At The Stadium Of Light:
48,353 v Liverpool
Premier League, 13th April 2002.
At Roker Park:
75,118 v Derby County
FA Cup 6th Round Replay, 8th March 1933.
2019-2020: 30,118 (League One)
2018-2019: 32,157 (League One)
2017-2018: 27,635 (Championship League)
If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at: [email protected] and I’ll update the guide.
Special thanks to:
Owen Pavey for providing the ground layout diagram
Haydn Gleed for providing the YouTube video of the Stadium of Light.
The Stadium of Light Tour video was produced by SuplasVegas and made publicly available for distribution via YouTube.