Saturday 17th August will find Pompey’s Blue Army making the well worn, long trek North to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, Sunderland, SR5 1SU. An early start will be needed as kick off time is at 12.30.
The Black cats moved from Roker Park to the Stadium of Light in 1997. The stadium has a capacity of 49,000 all seated and Blues Fans will be in the upper tier of the North Stand at one end of the stadium. The away fan turnstiles are numbers 69-72 and they will be open ninety minutes before kick off. You will find that there are quite a few flights of stairs to climb up to reach the top tier. If you require a lift please contact the club in advance. On past visits searching has taken place at the turnstiles, so please allow plenty of time.
Please bear in mind that Sunderland has a no swearing policy inside the stadium, so if you persist in swearing you may find yourself being ejected.
Getting to the Stadium of Light
Exit the A1 at Junction 62, the Durham/Sunderland exit and take the A690 towards Sunderland. After about eight miles you will reach a roundabout at the junction with the A19. Turn left there onto the A19, signposted Tyne Tunnel. Stay in the left hand lane and take the second slip road towards Sunderland, signposted Stadium of Light/A1231 Sunderland. This takes you onto a bridge over the River Wear. Turn right onto the A1231 following the signs for Sunderland. Go straight over four roundabouts into Sunderland. Then go through two sets of traffic lights (keeping in the left hand lane at the second set, going straight on towards Roker rather than the City Centre) and you will see the stadium car park on your right about a mile after the traffic lights.
Parking at the stadium is mostly for those with passes and the car park will be closed for half an hour after the final whistle. There are residents only parking restrictions in more than sixty streets surrounding the stadium and these are heavily enforced, so best to check for warning signs to avoid a hefty fine.
You are recommended to use the park and ride facility on Wessington Way (A1231). This is clearly signposted from the A19, post code SR5 3XG. Buses will pick up from the permanent bus stops on Sunderland Enterprise Park, while pick up points at the stadium after the game are to the north of Keir Hardie Way. Buses run every five minutes before the game, from ninety minutes prior to kick off and regularly after the game, until all fans have been transported back to their cars. Parking is also available at St Mary’s SR1 1UL, Sunniside SR1 1UL and The Bridges SR1 3PZ. Parking charges apply and all are around fifteen minutes walk from the stadium. There is also parking at the Stadium of Light Metro station for a charge, alternately you could find parking in the city centre and walk to the ground. Traffic does get very heavy on match day, so allow plenty of time.
It would just be possible to get to Sunderland by train in time for kick off. The journey will take just over six hours and will mean catching the 05.19 from Portsmouth Harbour (05.22 Town; 05.27 Fratton) to London Waterloo, then getting across London to Kings Cross where there is a direct train to Sunderland departing at 08.06, arriving in Sunderland at 11.38, giving just enough time for a quick dash to the stadium for kick off. Earlier trains from Kings Cross will mean travelling via Newcastle and using the metro to Sunderland. Metro details can be found at www.nexus.org.uk/metro
After the game there is a direct train from Sunderland to London Kings Cross departing at 15.29. All train details can be found at www.nationalrail.co.uk
Sunderland railway station is just under a mile from the Stadium of Light and will take about fifteen minutes to walk. You will exit the station opposite Greggs, turn right out of the station heading up toward a JJB Sports store and walk through the gap between JJB and a nail bar to the right of JJB. Keep walking straight ahead and you will soon see the stadium. Cross over the Wearmouth Bridge and turn left into Millennium Way opposite the Wheatsheaf pub.
For up to date travel information on the day, go to @PompeyfcCop on twitter
Eating and Drinking
The club has opened a Fan Zone which is located outside the south east part of the stadium. The area has entertainment and large screens, plus food and drink outlets. It opens three hours before kick off and for an hour after the game.
There are two social clubs nearby, The Sunderland Companions Club and the New Democratic Club, both on North Bridge Street, SR5 1AH, ( the road approaching the Wearmouth Bridge) about five minutes walk from the stadium.
The Albion pub, Victor Street, SR6 0EN, is about five minutes walk from the stadium. There is a chippy nearby.
The Wheatsheaf, Roker Avenue, SR6 0BN, is another pub not far from the stadium.
The Avenue, Zetland Street, SR6 0EQ is near the Stadium of Light metro station and about ten minutes from the stadium. The pub serves real ale and cider and has some car parking.
In the town centre there is a Wetherspoons, The William Jameson, Fawcett Street, SR1 1RH. There are also pubs down towards the sea front.
Alternately, if you are travelling via Newcastle, or staying the weekend there, then it may be best to find somewhere in Newcastle to eat and drink before travelling to Sunderland.
At the stadium the club offers fish and chips and a choice of pies, pasties and sausage rolls. Please note that alcohol is not always on sale inside the ground.
If you have a bit of time on your hands then why not visit the Fans Museum, Northern Gateway, SR5 1AP. Entry is free and the museum is housed in a unique, old station building very close to the stadium. It has a licensed bar and serves snacks. There are many items of Sunderland memorabilia on display. More information can be found on www.fansmuseum.or