The Sunderland Stadium of Light was opened with a showpiece game against Ajax in July 1997 and initially had a capacity of 42,000. With the subsequent North Stand extension and other ground improvements, the present-day capacity is 49,000.
Sunderland AFC has always been famous for producing an intense atmosphere in its ground, and the traditions of Roker Park have remained at the Stadium of Light.
The Stadium of Light hosted its first full international in 1999, when England took on Belgium in a friendly, and housed its first competitive international in April 2003, when England faced Turkey in a Euro 2004 qualifier.
The stadium stands on the banks of the River Wear, a vision of the future and a landmark for Wearside. Sunderland has always been a city without a cathedral, but the Stadium has created a spiritual home for local people. On a matchday thousands of supporters flock to games to experience the passion and enjoy the action.
The Stadium's design drew inspiration from Sunderland's proud industrial heritage in glass-making, shipbuilding and coal-mining. With its bowl-shaped lower deck and a second tier over the West and North stands, it provides the ultimate in spectator comfort.
The Stadium of Light was opened by HRH The Duke of York.