Sunderland Association Football Club (SAFC) and The Stadium of Light, Monkwearmouth, Sunderland, SR5 1SU – Visit Now
Sunderland Association Football Club (SAFC), known by their nickname the “Black Cats”, or by the regional nickname for Sunderland, the “Mackem’s”, are the football club for the city of Sunderland. Founded in 1879 the club started as a group of teachers who played football before expanding to people from all professions. The team have played in their red and white strips since the club was founded and are recognised for the red and white strips with black shorts wherever they play. The team for a long time played from their old grounds at Roker Park, but moved in 1997 to the Stadium of Light and then expanded it to its current 49,000 seat size. The current stadium is built on top of the Monkwearmouth colliery pit, being another great example of using the old industrial site to redevelop the city. While many know the club for its rivalry with the “Magpies” (Newcastle United) whom they have had a derby game against since 1898, the club have unfortunately gone through hard times of late. They have, however, had amazing past glories, having won the premier league six times and been runners up five times. The clubs encouraging call for the players, “Ha’way the lads”, which contrasts with Newcastle’s “Howay”, a regional difference in accent, but boils down to the same encouragement of “COME ON”, can be heard coming from the diehard fans on any match-day.
The Stadium of Light size and ease of access on the metro and city centre connections mean it is used regularly for concerts, having hosted Beyoncé, the Spice Girls and Bruce Springsteen in its history. This brings huge crowds of people as the pitch itself is transformed and people gather from across the British Isles to enjoy shows performed by world famous names. No matter what draws you to the Stadium of Light, from football through to concerts, it’s a fantastic venue that is a true treasure within Sunderland.