Into the Light

From coals to goals - the SoL taking shape!

Transforming the site of the former Wearmouth Colliery into a top-class football stadium was a monumental task.

After planning permission was granted from the Tyne and Wear Development Corporation (TWDC) in November, construction finally began the following May.

50,000 tons of concrete foundations were removed, old mine workings were filled in and 350,000 tons of clay and soil were cleared in excavating a huge bowl for what would be the below-ground level pitch.

Seven acres of land were readied for thousands of parking spaces, for roads to get to them roads had to be built and then there was the matter of new gas, electricity and water supplies.

By February 1997, seats were being fitted and the new £500,000 pitch was coming along nicely, at 68 metres wide it was the same width as Roker Park but at 105 metres long it was a little bit bigger than the former ground.

At midnight on July 30 1997, chairman Bob Murray and vice chairman John Fickling took to the stage in the Sports bar to announce that Sunderland's new home would be called the Stadium of Light.

The name of the ground comes from several connections, not least in tribute to the miners who worked at the site when it was a colliery and relied on their miners' lamps - this also reflects the desire of the club and its supporters to be in the limelight and illuminate the way forward!