Ground: Stadium of Light
Date: 3rd April 2010
Match: Sunderland - Tottenham 3-1 (Premier League)
Attendance: 43 184
Day 2 of my trip started with a train journey from Sheffield to Newcastle. Once all the tourists left (York!) there seemed to be mostly football fans on the train. My hotel was only a short walk from Newcastle train station and after checking in at the Newgate Hotel I hurried to the metro station. Newcastle and Sunderland are connected with a metro service and it only take around 25 minutes to travel from the city centre of Newcastle to Sunderland. When I arrived at the Stadium of Light metro station Paul from the Footballgroundguide met up with me and we then headed towards the Avenue pub. The pub has been refurbished recently and was a really nice place to have a drink at, not to mention chatting to Paul and his friends. We watched Chelsea win at Old Trafford before heading towards the ground.
Sunderland used to play their matches at Roker Park but with that ground being mainly terraced and surrounded by residential streets, making an all-seated expansion impossible, Sunderland started looking for land to build a new ground. In 1995 the search was over and in June 1996 construction work could begin. The new stadium was named Stadium of Light and when it was opened in 1997 it had a capacity of 42 000. Three years later another tier was added to the north stand increasing the capacity to 49 000. Even though I didn´t expect that many to turn up I had plenty of reasons to look forward to an interesting match this Easter Saturday.
Both Sunderland and Tottenham have been doing well recently and with a good crowd expected I knew there was every chance of a memorable afternoon for me. For the visit of Tottenham 43 000 turned up and for most of them this was to be a memorable afternoon. Spurs reject Darren Bent scored for Sunderland after after only a minute. As he celebrated in front of the Tottenham fans he had a bottle (and probably a few not so nice words) thrown at him. Bent then scored a second goal, this time from the penalty spot, which generated a cracking atmosphere inside Stadium of Light. Sunderland was then given a second penalty. Bent missed this one meaning 2-0 to Sunderland at half-time. Early in the second half I couldn't believe what I was seeing, yet another penalty for Sunderland. A new chance for Bent to score a hat-trick but he missed this penalty as well! When Tottenham later pulled a goal back the home fans around me feared the worst "We should be six goals up by now" was one comment. Four minutes from the end Zenden made sure Sunderland won the game when he scored with a spectacular volley. If the atmosphere was cracking earlier it was even better now. It is actually difficult for me to describe how good the atmosphere was. When I met up with Paul after the game he was a very happy man "Best performance and best atmosphere this season" was his verdict. I guess I picked the right day to visit Sunderland and if I sometime in the future has the chance to see a derby against Newcastle I will do my best to get hold of a ticket. I can only imagine what the atmosphere will be like for that game. After a short stop at The Avenue I said goodbye to my new friends and could once again look back on a very good day out!
Going to football
Stadium of Light
From the main stand at Roker Park
View of play