Luzhniki2008 visited Stadium of Light on 28/12/1999
Game watched: Sunderland 2-2 Manchester United
I last went to Sunderland's old Roker Park Stadium to watch Man Utd play there when we lost 2-1 there in March 1997. United received a very poor ticket allocation that day, on an open terrace behind the goal. Roker Park at the time still had a large proportion of terracing, but due to safety regulations capacity there had been reduced to just over 22,000 as the club was allowed to temporarily keep terraces open until they either re-developed Roker Park or moved to a new stadium. Sunderland could do little to extend capacity of Roker Park so moved to a new stadium, at the start of the following season.
Sunderland started the 1997-98 in this new 42,000 (soon expanded to 49,000) Stadium of Light stadium no longer in the top flight. The Stadium of Light name is said to be in tribute to the mining industry from the area, not just a copy of the name Benfica call their stadium. Sunderland returned to the Premier League for the 1999/2000 Season and stayed there until the end of 2002-03. They returned for the 2005-06 Season, but were relegated straight back down. They returned in the 2007-08 season with Roy Keane as manager and have remained in the Premier League ever since. This is not a popular away trip for United fans as we have continually received a severely restricted ticket allocation, due to our fans ‘persistantly standing’ during matches. For the 2012-13 Season away fans have been moved to the top tier of the opposite side of the stadium.
If driving up there by car, there is a free park and ride system for fans, from outside the stadium to Enterprise Industrial Park a few miles away. There is very limited parking close to the stadium. The stadium is about a 15 minute walk from the centre of Sunderland.