Sunderland – Stadium of Light

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stadium of lightFollowing the publication of the final Taylor Report in 1990, Sunderland needed to convert Roker Park, their home for nearly 100 years, into an all-seater stadium.

As it was enclosed by residential areas, expansion was impossible and relocation was necessary. The site of the new stadium, on the North bank of the River Wear is close to Roker Park and the city centre.

With an initial build cost of £15 million, construction began in June 1996. The capacity was revised twice and the 42,000 all seater stadium was completed in 1997. The name eventually adopted was the Stadium of Light, reflecting the stadium being built on the site of the former Wearmouth Colliery.

A £7 million extension of The North Stand in 2000 increased capacity to 49,000, making the final build cost some £24 million. The stadium’s design allows possible expansion to produce a capacity of 63,000, though there are no immediate plans. The East Stand has the Sunderland emblem on the seats, while the North Stand has the slogan “Ha’way The Lads.” The stadium also has a Davy lamp monument, and a statue of 1973 FA Cup winning manager Bob Stokoe. Away fans are seated behind the goal, in the west half of the South Stand.

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How to get to the Stadium of Light

By Road:
stadium of light directionsFor satnav purposes, the address of the ground is Stadium of Light, Sunderland SR5 1SU.

Drivers arriving from both North and South should exit the A1 at junction 62, following the A690 for Sunderland. After 8 miles, turn left at the roundabout onto the A19, signed “Tyne Tunnel.” Remain in the left lane, taking the second slip road, signed Stadium of Light / A1231 / Sunderland. Cross the Wear Bridge, turning right onto the A1231, following signage for Sunderland. Go straight on at the next 4 roundabouts. On passing through 2 sets of lights (taking the left lane at the second set) the stadium car park is situated on the right after about a mile.

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By Rail:
sunderland train stationSunderland train station, in the city centre is a 15-minute walk from the ground. On exiting the station, turn left into High Street West and left again into Fawcett Street. Cross the bridge and turn left into Millennium Way. The away turnstiles are straight ahead. The “Stadium of Light” and “St. Peters” Metro stations both serve the stadium. Away supporters should alight at St. Peters, nearer the away end. N.B. Numerous fans have been caught out by the fact that after the match, only Northbound (towards Newcastle) trains can be caught at the Stadium of Light station, while St. Peters only operates Southbound (towards Sunderland centre). Click here to check the current train timetables

By Air:
The nearest airport is Newcastle, some 24 miles away. The journey is straightforward as both the Stadium Of Light and Newcastle Airport are both served by the Metro system, with frequent connections. Journey time is about an hour. Click here to check the current flight times

There are several taxi companies in Sunderland that can take you to and from the stadium. You can always prebook a private hire taxi, or hail a black cab on any highway.

Calling all Sunderland Taxi Companies – Why not advertise your company here?.

Where to Park?

Sunderland fc parkingParking is limited at the ground, and most fans recommend parking in the city centre, which is only a 15-minute walk away. A free “Park & Ride” scheme operates on match days. This is situated at Sunderland Enterprise Park, which is well signposted just off the A1231 (see “By Road,” above). Buses run every five minutes, for 90 minutes prior to kick-off and for as long as necessary following the game.

Away Friendly Pubs near the Stadium of Light

pubs near sunderland fc stadiumFor early arrivals, many fans have recommended the Harbour View on the seafront, some 20 minutes from the ground. Serving real ales and excellent food, this pub also offers a large screen TV. In the town centre, the William Jameson and the opposite Yates’ bar have both been noted for an excellent atmosphere.

A little closer to the stadium (a 5-minute walk), The Sunderland Companions’ Club and The Democratic Club, on the stadium side of the river, near Wearmouth Bridge, both offer a warm welcome to away fans, but become very crowded. The Albion, on Victor Street has also been noted for its consistently friendly welcome. Nearby parking is available. Alcohol is on sale inside the ground but bars become uncomfortably overcrowded.

Hotels near the Stadium of Light

sunderland marriottThe 4-star Sunderland Marriott Hotel, Queens Parade, Sunderland, SR6 8DB is located 2 miles from the city centre and has received exemplary guest reviews. It offers seafront views, spacious accommodation, indoor swimming pool and fitness centre. Limited free on-site parking is available. washington premier inn

The Washington Premier Inn, Emerson Road, Newcastle, NE37 1LB, just over 5 miles from the Stadium of Light is an ideal choice for drivers, located just off the A1. Guests have been impressed by the facilities on offer, with the “Eat as much as you like” breakfast particularly popular.

Click here to see all hotels near the Stadium of Light

What have other Away Fans said about their trip to the Stadium of Light?

away fans sunderlandThe vast majority of visiting fans have been extremely impressed with the Stadium of Light, noting it as one of the better Premiership grounds. Most have been pleasantly surprised at the friendly welcome they received from the home fans. One recurring disappointment is the rather “hit or miss” atmosphere within the ground, which can be very quiet on occasions, and deafening on others. Overly strict stewarding has been a constant cause of complaint, with visiting fans ejected from the ground for minor “offences.”

17 thoughts on “Sunderland – Stadium of Light”

  1. This was my first away game and i thought it was brilliant, they generate alot of atmosphere in the corner to the right of the away fans but not much else tbh.

  2. Went there on the last day of season, We won 3-2, Rangers won the league and Newcastle went down! Its was just a massive party up at the stadium of light! Best away day, Stewards were nice and friendly loads of banter! The old bill bit heavy handed but then again when are they not? Top away day will carry on going there every season even if we do keep getting on a wednesday night!

  3. Visited for the first time for the Carling Cup game which saw West Ham win away for the first time in over a year!! Simple drive down from Paisley with son and daughter and parked in a side street off Roker Ave…Sunderland fan moved his car so I could squeeze into the parking space. He pointed us towards the Wheatsheaf for a couple of pre match pints and despite us wearing colours the locals couldn’t have been nicer…..many stopping for a chat and wondering why 3 Hammers fans were down from Paisley.
    Stadium is first class but was half empty so atmosphere was a bit quiet at times. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable trip and many thanks to this site and the good fans of Sunderland.

  4. This is an impressive stadium when you’re inside but it’s somewhat bland to look at from the outside. The locals are certainly noisy enough, particularly when they think that they’re not getting referee’s decisions go their way!

    We parked at the Park and Ride on the Enterprise Park, as mentioned above. It’s very well signposted from the main road (A1231), but be aware that there is no specific parking facility provided. Instead you use one of the many small car parks that serve whichever of the various office buildings are not open on a Saturday or an evening. This can be quite confusing as none of them are specifically labelled as being for matchday parking. In the end we actually parked in the big retail centre car park, having checked with staff in one of the shops that it was OK to do so, but as there were signs up saying “customers only” I’m still waiting to see if I get a parking ticket in the post!

    If you do park at the Enterprise Park, note that the buses, which are free, only start running two hours before kick off, so won’t be any good if you’ve turned up nice and early for some food and drink. I’d also seriously consider not bothering with getting the bus back to your car after the game, as the buses pick up from the opposite end of the ground to the away fans and by the time you get there the queue will be enormous. Add to this the heavy traffic that the bus has to get through once you’re on it and you’re just as well off walking back. Keep an eye out for the cycle / pedestrian path on the left of the main road which will keep you away from the heavy traffic.

    In terms of drinking, we headed up Roker Avenue to near the seafront and the Harbour View. It’s a very friendly pub, with a good range of real ale. It was extremely busy, though, so you might want to try elsewhere if you want to sit down. It’s about a mile from the stadium, and there are plenty of burger vans and the like on the way for pre- and post-match food. We were told that the on-street parking near the Harbour View is free, and there seemed to be plenty of spaces available, so this might be a good bet if you’re travelling by car, although it does mean driving through more of the city traffic than the Park and Ride option.

  5. Made the long trip north for the carling cup game. Parking was pretty good although I did get there quite early. Parked in the retail park opposite the ground at a cost of a couple of quid. The ground itself was pretty good but as Jimmy said, it was only half full so not too much in the way of atmosphere from home fans. Stewards and ground staff were all pretty friendly and the old bill weren’t too bad after they realised they were fighting a losing battle at trying to make us sit down. The trip away from the ground was a nightmare and took me nearly an hour to reach the A19, but all in all an enjoyable experience and no real trouble from home fans outside the ground, apart from some mouthy kid on a bike who i put in his place. Definately recommend the Stadium of Light and would go again

  6. Made the long trip north at the weekend. Parked at the Stadium of Light Metro station carpark for £4 for matchday parking. Arrived early so don’t know what it’s like nearer kick-off. Like Jimmy we went to the Wheatsheaf Pub 5 minute walk from the station. Couldn’t get in after the game as it was 6-deep at the bar but popped in past the bowling alley on way back to station to find a very nice bar there too whilst letting traffic die down before heading back. Great stadium but lots of empty seats.

  7. I drove to this game and was by myself for my first visit to Sunderland, this being a midweek game and quite a distance from Norwich. Around 1,000 fans travelled to the game to see Norwich’s worst performance of the season and Sunderland trounce us 3-0. I arrived early and parked for free in a car park on an industrial estate just to the south of the ground and less than five minutes walk away. The car park is on the corner of Hay Street and Easington Street. Other football fans used it too and there was no hassle. It may be a different story on a Saturday as I assume the businesses would be open. The only problem was getting away after the game. Thousands of Sunderland fans walk through the industrial estate and progress was slow. All the same, I’d use it again.

    I took a walk around the stadium, which is a bit of a concrete monstrosity from the outside and quite dour looking. The club shop was really good as was the matchday programme I bought there. There are numerous food stalls around the ground and the quality is quite high. There’s a famous statue of Bob Stokoe outside the ground and a steward took a photo for me. We had a bit of a footy chat and he was typical of the friendly, helpful staff they have at Sunderland. I needed some money so went looking for a cashpoint and ended up walking across the Wearmouth Bridge into the city. I was delighted to find some Asian food shops on Bridge Street and stocked up with Japanese noodles (an obscure hint, I know, but useful if you like your noodles). I then had nice pint of local real ale in the City Tavern on Bridge Street and a good chat with some Sunderland fans. A few Norwich fans arrived and there was a good bit of friendly banter. One of the best pubs I’ve been in this season.

    In the ground the experience is quite different from the outside. The view of the pitch is immaculate and the atmosphere top quality. Sunderland fans were passionate and noisy but they did win 3-0. The in-stadium catering was pretty average and I had a mushy pea supper pie, which consisted of a normal pie with a layer of mushy peas inside it. Next time I’m going for a Hogroast bap outside the ground. The post-match traffic in Sunderland was horrendous and I assume you can times that by ten for a Saturday match. I got home really late. Nevertheless, it was a good evening all in all mostly credit due to the good people of Sunderland.

  8. Having grown a great emotional attachment to roker park and the “Roker Roar” over my years supporting the clu I was causiously opptimistic when the move to the SoL was announced however I must say it has been a move for the better on the whole, Despite the drop in attmosphere. The increase in the seating capacity is a bonus although as some people have mentioned it is rarely observed by home or away fans who are desperate to cling on to one matter of choice from roker. There are pleany of bars arround the ground and any away fans (bar N*****tle United) will recieve a warm welcome, It is no secret that the north easts supporters are some of the most passionate in the country, however they wont start a fight with you over looking at them funny. If you are coming up your best bet for a pint would be the wheatsheaf which is just 5 mins from the ground, or failling that the coliery tavern over the road from the stadium.

  9. I’m a home fan – just a note on parking. Agree with the park and ride tips, but as most of you will be coming from the south you can avoid the city centre if you are prepared to walk a little way to the ground (15-20 minutes).
    (For my sins) I drive up from Leeds each match day, we park near the Kings Arms on Beach Street SR4 6BU – it does look like an industrial wasteland but the pub is a really good ale house (albeit heaving on matchdays). It’s near the B&Q but rather than risk a clamp in the car park there’s plenty of street parking round there.
    If you walk quickly you can get back to the car in time to miss most of the match day traffic.
    The walking route to the ground takes you along the river by the old Vaux brewery site, which one day (if Sunderland council are to be believed) will be the pulsing heart of all business in the world. For the past 12 years it’s looked like a post-apocolyptic wasteland.
    As for the atmosphere, it is a lot more hit and miss than at Roker, but they have made moves to improve it. This means me and other season card holders in the north stand have been moved (for 2012/2013) and the away fans are now in the north stand upper (bloody good view from there).
    You should find the ticket prices reasonable, which means we (SAFC fans) always grumble going to pricey away grounds!
    Enjoy and I hope you lose! ;)

  10. Recently attended the game at the Stadium of Light on 3rd November 12 versus my club Aston Villa. Parking no problem, we parked on a multi storey near a large bridge crossing (Wearmouth Bridge), I assume the tyne. Walked across the bridge looking for a pub. I asked a badge seller where I could have a pint and he told me all the local pubs let in away support so ended up in the Wheat Sheaf near some road works.
    Locals friendly and bar staff great with no problems, big screen to watch the lunch time football (Man Utd v Arsenal), cheap beer too, £2.80 a pint for a lager.
    A 5 minute walk to the ground. Its been about 5 years since my last visit and it appears the away fans have moved since then, we were in the top corner of the large stand. Stewards and police and people in general very helpful.
    Stayed over night at the Port of Tyne Premier Inn in South Shields (£41) so had a good weekend, ended up walking along the pier at South Shields and having coffee and breakfast at Minchelo’s, recommended by hotel receptionist, so cheap compared the south and great value, next to this little boating lake.
    On thing about Sunderland, the people are great, very welcoming.

  11. Well ive visited the staduim of light hundreds of times and well i think we as fans very passionate fans us north east lot for us we breath and live football as for away fans i have to say we are quiet friendly to fans except Newcastle United the dirty mags and maybe Man Utd also the Glory lot, inside the ground for away fans good view for them and we create an atmosphere at the SOL for the away fans and all good ground to visit for any away fan.

  12. If your looking for an away freindley pub go to the wheatsheaf. The atmosphere inside/outside the groud is amazing. The beer and food inside the ground is good but a bit expensive. legroom is fine.

  13. Some of the information on hear is a bit dated, if your arriving the night before or early on the day I recommend staying in the city centre itself, if your arriving a bit closer you’ll find free parking spots in Roker or use the park and rides.

    The away fans are welcome in every pub and don’t get abuse, usually quite friendly depending on how the how fans are acting them selves. The new away end is now placed in the north stand upper tier, a good view of the pitch but expect a trek up the stairs and even less atmosphere than before. I’am a Sunderland season ticket holder and sit in the west stand pretty much on the half way line, away fans in the north and home fans in the south, all you get is muted chants across the pitch at each other, there’s only ever atmosphere when it’s close to a sell out.

    Another small problem is empty seats, although the average attendance is 41,000 every week which would fill around 15 other premier league grounds most of the empty seats (usually 6000) is around where the away fans are.. Hence the bad atmosphere.

  14. I am a gome fan and just a word on atmosphere if it’s quiet and you away fan’s want noise mention newcastle and we will lift the roof but 9 times out of 10 it’s tocking anyway’s.

  15. Was directed to park in the industrial estate just behind the ground. Large “wasteland” area used for parking but less than 5 minutes walk from the ground (Opposite end to the Away End). Went to the Wheatsheaf for a pint before the game, really good atmosphere with home and away fans mixing well and reasonably priced beer. Obviously not overly impressed with the décor – Pictures from the ’73 cup final!
    Really good stadium and Police and Stewards were excellent throughout and they had obviously agreed not to bother trying to get the Leeds fans to sit down! Apart from the result a good place to visit.

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