Hold on to your hats, it is the 49,000 capacity Stadium of Light (Sat Nav – SR5 1SU) and it is a monster journey of 231 miles from Stadium MK and is a good 4-hour journey by car.
We will be in the Upper Tier of the Carling North Stand that holds 3,000 fans, although I hear that our allocation is just 600.
When you take your seat, you almost get the feeling you are not actually in the stadium but across the road watching. It is without doubt the jewel in the crown in this division, so worth a visit, even if it is just to cross it off the list. Be warned, if you cannot tackle too many stairs, take the lift, its one hell of a climb to where we have to sit.
The usual nosebag is on sale, nothing exceptional, and priced in line with most other grounds, but at least its an indoor bar area with seating.
The Club does have fan zone which is free to enter and welcomes away fans, and boasts live music, plus food and drink outlets, so I can’t see that many will venture into town to sample the local delights, but if you do fancy rubbing shoulders with the locals the Colliery Tavern is just across the road from the stadium and welcomes away fans…. rather you than me.
If that does not float your boat, alcohol is available inside the ground and priced at about £3-50 to £4 a pint depending on your poison, they also do deals for a pie and a pint so look out for those.
Parking I am afraid is a bit or a mare, there is limited parking at the stadium itself and the area is mainly a resident only parking scheme, so watch out for restrictions. You could head to the Stadium of Light Metro Station where you can park for £1, alternatively head further into town where the parking is plentiful but comes with a 15-minute walk to the ground.
If you do not fancy those the Park & Ride system runs and drops off outside the ground, you can park at the Sunderland Enterprise Park and buses run every 5 minutes and its free.
Be warned traffic both before and after the game can be solid, allow plenty of time.
Sunderland Railway Station is just under a mile from the SOL, just follow the inevitable crowds. If you decide to jump on the Metro, both the SOL and the St Peters Stations serve the ground, although the St Peters stop is better for the away end.