STADIUMS: Stadium of Light

Driven by the vision of former chairman Bob Murray, the decision was made to leave Roker Park and build a new home in a new area of Sunderland to help develop the club.

After much discussion about potential sites, Sunderland found their new home on the site of a former pit.

The idea behind the decision to build on the old pit was to commemorate the fact that coal miners and shipyard workers had long provided the backbone of Sunderland’s support.

Slowly but surely the stadium was constructed and eventually it opened in 1997. The stadium's original capacity was 42,000 but was later increased to 49,000 after the construction of an extra tier on the North Stand.

Sunderland’s first match at the stadium was in a friendly against Ajax, however fans would have to wait to celebrate the stadium’s first goal as the game finished goalless.

Thankfully fans didn’t have to wait too long for the first goal as Niall Quinn netted it in their first league game at the stadium in a 3-1 victory over his former club Manchester City.

The Stadium of Light soon became renowned as one of the country's finest arenas and staged its first full England international in October 1999 when the Three Lions beat Belgium 2-1 - Kevin Phillips also won his second cap that night.

Five years later the stadium hosted a crucial Euro 2004 qualifying game against Turkey that England won 2-0, with the most recent friendly coming in 2016 as the Three Lions prepared for Euro 2016 against Australia.

Besides international encounters the stadium has also hosted some famous league matches.

Rewind a decade and a high point came when Kevin Phillips inspired Sunderland to an emphatic 4-1 victory over Chelsea; the list is endless...

And the stadium has continued to develop and has held some of the biggest concerts on the planet, with the likes of Oasis, One Direction, Foo Fighters and Take That all coming to play at the Stadium of Light.

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