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Sunderland - 3rd February

INFORMATION FOR TOWN FANS

We travel to Sunderland on Saturday 3rd February in the Sky Bet Championship.  The following guide has been produced for Town fans making the trip to the Stadium of Light.

This is based on information on the Sunderland website plus additional information specific to this game. 

For any further information, please contact Elizabeth Edwards, Supporter Liaison Officer on slo@itfc.co.uk or (+44) (0) 7968 876504. 

Sunderland information

The address for Sunderland Association Football Club is Sunderland Stadium of Light, Sunderland, SR5 1SU.    

The Sunderland website includes various bits of information including

Directions and parking:

https://www.safc.com/club/how-to-find-us

Stadium guide:

https://www.safc.com/fans/stadium-guide

Accessibility:

https://www.safc.com/tickets/accessibility

Frequently asked questions:

https://www.safc.com/club/faqs

Information can also be found on http://www.footballgroundguide.com/leagues/stadium-of-light-sunderland.html.

We have picked out the key information for Town fans below, and added other material based on our experience of going to the Stadium of Light and information that is specific to our fans 

Specific information for Town fans:

Ticket sales

Tickets for the game are now on general sale at a cost of £25 with concessions for 65+ and U22s, U16s.  Tickets can be purchased on www.itfcdirect.com under tickets/away matches.  

Travelling to Sunderland

Supporters Coach

For those travelling from Ipswich the official coaches are leaving Portman Road at 07:00 at a cost of £37 for adults (with concession prices for U23s, U19s and 65+ Seniors), and are estimated to arrive back at Portman Road at 00:00.  Coach travel is now on general sale and can be booked onwww.itfcdirect.com.  

Note that all official coaches are non-smoking and the consumption of alcohol on board is strictly forbidden.   ITFC recommend that all supporters under 16 are accompanied by an adult.

Pick-ups at Stowmarket, Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket can be arranged for this game.  If you want to organise a pick-up at any of these locations, please call the Ticket Enquiries Team on 03330 050503.  Your details will then be passed onto the coach company, Galloway Travel Group.

Car

The Sat Nav postcode for the Stadium of Light is SR5 1SU. 

The obvious route is the A14 / A1 / A19.  

From the A1 take the exit for the A168 towards the (signposted) A19 / Thirsk / Teesside.  Continue on to the A19.  From the A19 take the slip road to the A1018 towards Sunderland.  Follow the A1018 which goes over the River Wear, and follow signs for the Stadium of Light / Sunderland AFC.  Once over the river, turn left into Sheepfolds North (you will go past St Peters railway station) and right into Hay Street.  At the end of Hay Street turn left into Millennium Way.  At the roundabout take the second exit and you will see the Stadium of Light.

Watch out for average speed cameras, on a long stretch covering around 25 miles from the start of the Cambridge ring road to Huntingdon and on the A1 between Peterborough and Grantham.  Also note that there are long-term roadworks and speed restrictions on the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon, as the entire section is being rebuilt.  This is causing even worse delays than you would normally expect on that stretch.

The journey time is around four and half hours to five hours but you should allow at least another hour for delays.

Note, if there are problems on the A168 / A19, then you can continue on the A1(M) to junction 16 and take the A690 into Sunderland. 

Parking

Parking in the immediate areas around the stadium is limited.  Note, that there is permit only parking in some areas and that Police parking restrictions are also put in place around the stadium on a matchday with fixed penalty tickets being issued.  Experience suggests that there is street parking nearish to the ground if you are very, very early, but otherwise it is probably best to park in the town centre. 

The Sunderland website advises fans to park at St. Mary’s (SR1 3AH), Sunniside multi-storey (SR1 1UL) and The Bridges (SR1 3PZ).  These are in various positions around the Town Centre and roughly a 10 to 15 minute walk from the stadium.   Parking charges apply in these car parks.  From experience we have used The Bridges Car Park which links to The Bridges Shopping Centre, which you enter via Debenhams ( http://www.thebridges-shopping.com/shops/).  There are usually Town fans in the Debenhams café, wondering how on earth they are having breakfast despite having been up for six hours already. 

www.footballgroundguide.com also suggests the Stadium of Light Metro Station which charges £4 for car parking.

Park and Ride and Park and Walk

A Park and Ride scheme runs from the Sunderland Enterprise Park on Wessington Way (A1231) which is accessible from the A19.  It is clearly signposted; the SatNav postcode is SR5 3XG.  Pick up and set down points are clearly marked.  Note that these are permanent bus stops at the Enterprise Park, while the pick-up points at the stadium are to the north of the ground on Keir Hardie Way.  Buses run every five minutes before the game from 2 hours prior to kick-off and regularly after the game until all fans are back with their cars.   The Park and Ride buses are free.

A Park and Walk scheme operates from two sites at the University of Sunderland City Campus on the A183, Chester Road (SR1 3SD) and St. Peter’s (SR6 0AN).   Both are clearly signposted.   

Disabled Supporters Parking

There are a number of accessible parking spaces available at the stadium.  Please contact ITFC by email on mainticketoffice@itfc.co.uk or by phone on 01473 400556. 

Train

Note:  There are planned engineering works on the Ipswich to London route on the day of the match with buses replacing trains between Ingatestone and Newbury Park – this adds around an hour to normal journey times between London and Ipswich. 

The nearest stations to the Stadium of Light are Stadium of Light and St Peters which are on the Tyne and Wear Metro line from Newcastle Central Metro to Sunderland Metro.

Depending on the time of travel (and connection times) it takes anything from 4 and a half hours up to nearly 6 hours for the journey from Ipswich to Sunderland if you go cross-country.  If you are brave enough to go via London, with the engineering works this could increase to around 7 hours or more.

www.greateranglia.co.uk shows all routes on matchday as being cross-country.  These involve either 3 changes, at Peterborough and Newcastle, where you walk to the Newcastle Central Metro to pick up the Metro to Sunderland, or 4 with an additional change at either Cambridge or York.    Note that the last two stops on the Metro before Sunderland itself are Stadium of Light and St Peters which are closer to the Stadium.

The first train showing after the game leaves Sunderland at 18:17 (St Peters 18:18 and Stadium of Light 18:20) arriving back in Ipswich at 23:22.  You should be able to get an earlier train back from Sunderland to Newcastle Central Metro before walking to Newcastle to pick up the train to Peterborough.  Note that the Sunderland website states that supporters heading towards Newcastle after the game must board at the Stadium of Light station (supporters heading southbound to South Hylton use St Peters).   These restrictions are in place to ease congestion.

Getting to the ground from the station(s)

Sunderland train station is about 10 - 15 minutes from the railway station if you are walking, though you are more likely to be walking the shorter distance from the Stadium of Light or St Peters Metro stations.  Whichever station you arrive at, it’s an easy walk, with the stadium a major landmark, and the inevitability of fans in home shirts walking that way. 

www.footballgroundguide.com details walking instructions from Sunderland Railway station - exit the station opposite Greggs.  Turn right out of the station heading towards JJB Sports and walk through a gap between JJB Sports and a nail bar.  Keep walking straight ahead and will see the Stadium of Light in front of you.  Cross the Wearmouth Bridge and turn left into Millennium Way.  The away turnstiles are located on the side of the ground in front of you.

If you are on the Tyne and Wear Metro from Newcastle Central Metro then, as well as the Sunderland Metro station, you can also get to the stadium from St Peter’s or the Stadium of Light Metro stations.   From Sunderland Metro Station, you head to the Wearmouth Bridge and continue as above.

St Peters is the stadium side of the Wearmouth Bridge on Sheepfolds North and is around a 5 minute walk from the away end of the stadium.  Go along Sheepfolds North and right into Hay Street.  At the end of Hay Street turn left into Millennium Way.  At the roundabout take the second exit and you will see the Stadium of Light.

The Stadium of Light Metro is around a 10 minute walk to the stadium.  There are various routes but the most direct is to follow the Newcastle Road (A1018) to the junction with the A1290.  Turn on to Millennium Way to the stadium.

As noted above, after the game we understand that you will need to go to the Stadium of Light as the metro from St Peters only goes in the wrong direction.   www.footballgroundguide.com suggests walking back to the centre of Sunderland and picking the Metro up there for Newcastle as this avoids the crowds at the Stadium of Light.

Pubs

Sunderland isn’t renowned as a great drinking town for away fans, and we are aware that many Town fans are using this trip as a (quite understandable) excuse for a night or two in Newcastle.  But there are a number of pub options for matchday itself, making Sunderland a pretty good place for pre-match drinking.  Suggestions of away-friendly pubs, courtesy of www.footballgroundguide.com, include:

  • A FanZone at the South-East corner of the stadium itself, which welcomes home and away fans
  • The Sunderland Companions Club and the New Democratic Club, both on North Bridge Street
  • The Albion pub on Victor Street
  • The Harbour View, on the seafront (down Roker Avenue and turn left), which is the best option for beer bores (real ale types…).  The nearby Wolsey is also liked by many.
  • In the city centre, the William Jameson on Fawcett Street is a well-regarded Wetherspoons.

As ever, the extent of away-friendliness of pubs can vary, and may depend on your own attitude.  Individuals or couples wanting a quiet pint and a chat with locals are likely to find a wider choice of pubs than larger groups wanting a loud sing-song. 

At the ground

Tickets on the day?

Fans will be advised whether tickets are available for purchase on the day of the game only one or two days prior to the game.  This information will be published on the club website (www.itfc.co.uk), twitter (@Official_ITFC) and facebook (www.facebook.com/officialitfc) as soon as the information is available.

Away end

We will be located in the Upper Tier of the Carling North Stand.  The away turnstiles, which open 90 minutes before kick-off, are 69 – 72 – check your ticket to see which turnstile you need to use.  

Disabled Supporters

There are six wheelchair bays in the Carling Stand (Upper).   Ambulant fans are able to sit anywhere in the away allocation with their personal assistant.  Speak to ITFC when booking your tickets if you have any special requirements as to where your seats should be.

Accessible Toilets

Accessible toilets are available in the away end; these are fitted with radar locks and keys are available from nearby stewards if you don’t have one.

Security

As at all grounds expect to be searched prior to entering the stadium.  

Programmes

The matchday programme is available to purchase at the ground.

Food and Drink facilities

The kiosks sell a wide range of food and drink. 

We understand that alcohol will be on sale.

Smoking

The Stadium of Light is a no smoking venue.  This also applied to the use electronic cigarettes (and/or similar products) 

Behaviour

The use of threatening behaviour, foul or abusive language is strictly forbidden at the Stadium of Light and will result in arrest and/or ejection from the Ground and a potential ban.  The Club may Racial, homophobic or discriminatory abuse, chanting or harassment is also strictly forbidden and will also result in arrest and/or ejection from the Ground and a potential ban.  If you witness any inappropriate behaviour please speak to a steward.

Keep it Social  - Twitter

The official Stadium of Light Twitter account has regular updates, including any local travel disruption, during the build up to matches, so follow.   If  you are Tweeting from the game, use @StadiumOfLight and include the hashtag #SAFCAwayEnd to keep your tweets in the loop.

Staying in the area

The Sunderland website includes details of local hotels and contact details.

The obvious option is a new Hilton Garden Inn, which is pretty much next door to the stadium itself. 

http://hiltongardeninn3.hilton.com/en/hotels/united-kingdom/hilton-garden-inn-sunderland-NCLGIGI/index.html

Other Sunderland hotels include:

- Marriott Hotel, SR6 8DB; 0191 529 2041

- Roker Hotel, SR6 9ND; 0845 776 7676

- Premier Inn, SR5 3XG; 0871 527 9056

- Premier Inn, SR5 3HR; 0871 527 9058

- Travelodge, SR1 3PT; 0871 984 6050

- Travelodge, SR1 1UD; 0871 984 6336