The Stadium of Light was built in 1997 and now houses the League One outfit Sunderland AFC. The ground is located on the former site of the Monkwearmouth Colliery by Ballast Wiltshire plc, less than two miles away from their previous home.
Its current capacity stands at an impressive 48,707 and it has a pitch that measures 105m by 68m. The surface is covered with natural grass, it has undersoil heating installed and no running track surrounding it.
The record attendance for a football game at the Stadium of Light was set on 13 April 2002 when 48,353 watched the hosts’ clash against Liverpool.
When the Stadium of Light was built in 1997, it replaced Sunderland’s former home for 99 years, Roker Park, that is now located about two miles away. And the main force behind the decision to build a new ground was actually the Taylor Report that stated all stadiums in the top two tiers in England had to be all-seaters.
With Roker Park’s design, it was practically impossible to convert it into an all-seater without dwindling the capacity to nonexistent figures that would surely harm the club. So, a decision was made to move to a new ground instead. Construction started in May 1996 and took 14 months to complete, ultimately producing one of the finest stadiums in Europe at the time, which could still be said in the present day.
The initial capacity was just around 40,000 – which would shortly be expanded even more – and with the famous atmosphere the Sunderland fans can produce, it was set to be as fiery and as exciting as the former ground was.
On 30 July 1997, the Stadium of Light was officially opened and the first game to be played there was a 0-0 draw with Ajax. But over the next couple of years, it would host numerous other big events such as international clashes and a huge match with Liverpool in 2002 that set the record attendance of 48,353.
Luckily for them, just a couple of years prior to that, they extended the North Stand to boost the capacity to 49,000, which reportedly cost a further £7m. All of that, and the modern look along with the facilities and the hospitality, would play a part in the Stadium of Light hosting a huge Euro 2004 qualifying game between England and Turkey, which ended in a 2-0 win for the former side. Two years later, the Three Lions would play there again, this time against Australia.
Over the years, there were some changes made to the ground such as the construction of a learning facility known as the Centre for Light, a sensory room followed in 2015 and a Fan Zone in that same year but the latter has been on and off on numerous occasions and is not a steady part of their repertoire.
The Stadium of Light also has a complex called the Stadium Village, A 30 hectare site area around the ground, which is a mixture of commercial, residential and entertainment facilities.
All tickets to watch Sunderland AFC play at Stadium of Light can be found on the club’s official website. The adult tickets cost from around £20 to £40, depending on the category chosen.
The club also offers a season ticket scheme and memberships that can get you a discount.
https://www.safc.com/ – Official website of Sunderland AFC
https://www.safc.com/history/stadiums/stadium-of-light – The history of Stadium of Light
https://www.eticketing.co.uk/safc/ – Tickets to watch Sunderland AFC at Stadium of Light