Club Profile

Sunderland

A club that was just hanging on in the Premier League for years took a dramatic fall a few years ago–but they are back in the Championship this season, returning hope to an amazing group of supporters.

LOCATION: Sunderland is about four hours by train from either London or Manchester.

CONTACT: safc.com, 0371 911 1200, #SAFC

NICKNAMES: The Black Cats, apparently because of a black cat that lived in their old stadium

History

If you used measurements like top-flight titles, FA Cups, support, and stadium capacity, Sunderland would be a right big club. And indeed, they used to be—80 years ago. Now they are happy just to be back in the Championship after playing in the Premier League from 2007 to 2017. The club was founded in 1879 and has since spent 86 years in the top…

Rivalries

Newcastle United, which is about 12 miles away, is the main rival—and it’s positively tribal. They can’t even agree what to call it. Sunderland is on the River Wear, Newcastle on the Tyne. So Sunderland call it the Wear-Tyne derby and Newcastle the Tyne-Wear. Each club has won it 53 times, and there have been 49 draws. Middlesbrough is also…

Women's Team

Sunderland Ladies play in the Women’s Championship, the second tier. Home games are at The Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground in the southern part of the

Songs

Not so much a song as a chant, you will regularly hear fans yell, “Haway the Lads!” It’s northeastern dialect, but of course in Newcastle it’s spelled Howay. They also sing “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and another that says, “Things Can Only Get Better,” which they adopted during a great escape year in

Stadium

The Stadium of Light holds 48,707, but when they were in League One, they closed the upper tiers for home games. It is yet another example of a fairly bland, fully enclosed oval—just bigger than most. The name comes from the city’s long mining heritage. A light would be left on at the top of the mineshaft until the last miner was out. This became…

Going to a Game at Sunderland

GETTING THERE: From the Sunderland train station, you can walk it in just over 20 minutes. You can also take the Metro tram’s Green Line to St. Peters and walk just under half a mile. That line also continues on to a stop called Stadium of Light, but it’s a little farther away. The Metro also connects into Newcastle. Note that after the game,…

Sunderland Tickets

In League One, tickets cost £20, and it’s unlikely they will sell anything out unless they draw a big Premier League club in a Cup.

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