It was lovely to visit Stadium of light. Though I came for graduation ceremony of University of Sunderland. The facilities look good and the hospitality staff very friendly. I have to come again to watch a game.
We went here for the England Lionesses Vs Scotland women game. We parked at the Sunniside car park which was around a 10 minute walk from the stadium itself. You can pre-book stadium parking but from our experiences at other places this is horrendous if you want to try and get away after the game. Cars cannot move for a long time after the game due to sheer amount of people and traffic.
Parking a bit away from the stadium itself saw us get away pretty much clean and free of major traffic or delays. The carpark was also free which was a bonus!
The stadium itself was very well laid out with bar areas and toilets, there were a lot of steps to negotiate but you can get other access options if you need them. We had a great view of the pitch!
We got chatting to a couple of stewards before the game whilst we waited for the gates to open, they were really friendly making the time pass quickly as we had arrived quite early.
We got a burger and chips from a van just outside the stadium which was reasonably priced for a burger wagon.
Inside the stadium the bars serve all manner of alcoholic drinks, soft drinks and food at a premium cost of course.
There is free WiFi within the stadium which I made use of as the mobile signal, although showing as strong was clearly struggling to cope with the number of people present.
Based on this experience I would certainly recommend a visit to the stadium of light. We had a great night with no issues at all.
Following the release of the Taylor Report in January 1990, Sunderland was obliged to make plans to turn their Roker Park home into an all-seater stadium. Roker Park was a ground that mainly consisted of standing terraces, and if converted into all-seater it would have held far fewer spectators than before. Enclosed by residential streets on all sides, expansion was practically impossible. So, by 1991, Sunderland chairman Bob Murray had started to scour the local area for possible sites to build a new all-seater stadium. The front-runner that emerged was a proposed stadium located on an area of land adjacent to the Nissan car plant. The 49,000 all-seater ground was labelled "the Wembley of the North" by Sunderland fans and would boast a capacity that not even Manchester United'sOld Trafford exceeded until 1996. The plans did not come to fruition. Shortly after the plans were announced in 1992, Nissan launched an official objection, ultimately forcing Sunderland to abandon the idea. By 1995, the site of the Wearmouth Colliery, which had closed in December 1993, was identified as the club's preferred location for a new stadium. The area, on the north bank of the River Wear in the Sheepfolds district of Sunderland, was only a few hundred yards from Roker Park, and close to the centre of the city.
In 1993, Sunderland's planned new stadium was on the shortlist for Euro 96 venues, as England had been named as hosts of the competition in May 1992. However, it soon become clear that a new stadium in Sunderland would not be ready in time for the tournament.
On 13 November 1995, the Sunderland chairman Bob Murray announced that the Tyne and Wear Development Corporation had approved plans for Sunderland to build a 34,000-seater stadium on the Monkwearmouth site. Ballast Wiltshier plc, a contracting company that had built the Amsterdam Arena, was contracted to build the stadium at an initial cost of £15 million. In June 1996, as the planned capacity rose to more than 40,000, construction work began. The capacity was revised again in early 1997, and the stadium was completed on time, with a capacity of 42,000. The stadium's design allows possible expansion of a further tier; completed expansion of the whole upper tier would produce a capacity of 63,000, although it is believed by some that the stadium can expand to a maximum capacity of 84,000, this would seem unlikely ever to be exercised.
The stadium was opened on 30 July 1997 by Prince Andrew, Duke of York, with bands such as Status Quo, Upside Down and Kavana playing. To celebrate the opening of the stadium, Sunderland played a friendly against the Dutch side Ajax, which was drawn 0–0. The move did not happen without criticism. Famous actor and Sunderland supporter, often named in the media "Sunderland's most famous supporter", Peter O'Toole, said he wasn't as much a fan as he used to be since the team left Roker Park. Playwright Tom Kelly and actor Paul Dunn created a one-man play called "I Left My Heart at Roker Park" about a fan struggling with the move and what Roker Park meant for him - the play originally ran in 1997, and had a few revivals since.
The North Stand was extended in 2000 to bring the capacity to 49,000, costing the club a further £7 million, making the final cost of the stadium £23 million. On 18 July 2006, a statue of 1973 FA Cup Final winning manager Bob Stokoe was unveiled outside the stadium. At the end of season Football League awards, the Stadium of Light was named the Best Away Ground, with other contenders including Crewe Alexandra's Alexandra Stadium and Plymouth Argyle's Home Park. Sunderland celebrated the tenth anniversary of the stadium with a pre-season friendly against Juventus on 6 August 2007; the game was drawn 1–1.