|Sunderland 1 v 0 Leeds United
Tuesday, 12th December 2023 Kick-off 20:00
Sunday, 10th Dec 2023 20:57 by Tim Whelan
Our game at Sunderland kicks off on Tuesday night at 8pm, and the time has been changed by yet another Sky Sports selection, if not the date. You'll find the Stadium of Light on the site of the former Monkwearmouth Colliery on the north bank of the river Wear, the opposite side from the city centre.
To get there by road you need to take the A1231 exit off the A19 (signposted Sunderland North) and follow that road till the fourth roundabout, from which it is another mile along the B1289 to the stadium. Parking however is limited, so it is advised that you park well away from the ground and the best bet is probably to use the free park and ride service from Sunderland Enterprise Park, which is signposted from the A1231.
There is limited parking by the stadium, and a residents’ only scheme on the surrounding streets, which naturally is strictly enforced by the local traffic wardens. But you can park at the Stadium of Light Metro Station (cost £1) or one of the city centre car parks in the city centre (about 10-15 minutes walk from the ‘Light’).
Sunderland’s railway station is an underground affair, and looks surprisingly grotty and insignificant for the main station in quite a large city. To get there you’ll have to change trains in Newcastle, and when you emerge above ground you’ll find yourself in the midst of the pedestrianised shopping streets.
It won’t be possible to get a train back to Leeds after the game, but I’ll include these directions for the benefit of those who live a bit closer to Wearside. The station is about a mile from the stadium, and you have to turn right outside, then go through the gap between JJB and a nail bar, emerging on Bridge Street. By then you’ll see the stadium in the distance and you just have to go down the main road and over the Wearmouth Bridge.
If that seems like too much effort, you can get the Tyne and Wear metro to the ‘Stadium of Light’ or ‘St Peters’ stops. After the game the metros from ‘Stadium of Light’ only go northbound (towards Newcastle) and southbound only from ‘St Peters’, presumably in the interests of relieving congestion at both stations.
There is a fan zone outside the south-east corner of the stadium, which is available to both sets of fans. But the best watering hole close to the SOL is the Colliery Tavern, which gets packed but is safe for away fans to use. Also close to the ground and slightly bigger than the Tavern is the Wheatsheaf, but like its rival, the Wheat gets packed to the rafters on Matchdays.
There are also two social clubs which admit away fans on North Bridge street, which as the name suggests is the main road just north of the Wearmouth Bridge. These are the Sunderland Companions club, and the New Democratic Club. Other options are the ‘Albion’ on Victor Street, off Roker Avenue (heading away from the stadium on the other side of North Bridge street), and ‘The Promenade’ or the CAMRA listed ‘Harbour View’ on the sea front.
Alcohol is also available inside the stadium, in the form of Carling Lager (£4), Carling Cider (£3.80), d Worthingtons (£3.80) and various wines (£3.90). The Club also offer 2 Pies and 2 Pints for £12. The food is a bit average, though the meat and potato pie isn't bad and the vegetable balti is a particularly cheeky little number. Outside the stadium there are quite a few takeaways along North Bridge street, and a chippie next to the ‘Albion’ pub (see above).
The stadium has a present capacity of 49,000 (expanded from the original 41,590). When the new stadium was first built Sunderland were one of the few clubs where the atmosphere had improved since they went all seater. At one stage the crowds had dipped alarmingly after they’ve got relegated from the Premiership a couple of times, but now they’re back to getting over 40,000 at every home game.
According to Simon Wade of the now defunct 'The Wearside Roar' fanzine: "One day, all stadia will be made this way. It was designed and built with the fan in mind. There's no such thing as a bad seat. Uninterrupted sight-lines from every one of the 49,000 seats". The allocation to visiting clubs is in the upper tier of the north end of the stadium, where the allocation for league games varies from 1,100 to 3,000, depending on the size of the travelling support.
We are getting 2,000 this time around, and thanks to a good old reciprocal pricing deal they cost £29 for adults, £26 for over 65s, £22 for Under 22s and £12 for Under 16's. Tickets for the home parts of the stadium “are only available to supporters with a purchase history up to and including Norwich City on 28th October 2023”.
Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com .
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