Updated: Jul 12
On this day 25 years ago we were introduced to our new home, Roker Park was no more and we found ourselves at the Stadium of Light. The first game that was played that day was a friendly against AFC Ajax.
It was labelled as a ‘Premier League stadium’ and that’s exactly what it was, and still is. Unfortunately the club hasn't met the standard of the stadium in recent years but a day before we begin a new era in the Championship our home turns 25 years old.
Ajax were more than worthy opponents to christen a stadium and perhaps too good, after all you would want your first game there to be a win right? As the game got going we held our own. Kevin Ball opened the scoring-or at least we thought he did- his goal was disallowed but everyone who had been screaming and jumping didn’t mind. It was a friendly at the end of the day.
The game ended 0-0 but no one went home disappointed, we didn’t lose and actually looked decent against a decent side. Everyone was walking out of our new polished stadium with big smiles on their faces and why not? We had a palace to go to every week or so. The massive potential for huge crowds and a stage for bigger games was something to look forward to. The latter is something we’re still waiting for and the potential remains unrealised.
Since that first game this stadium has seen some memorable games, as well as four promotions and four relegations. Let’s hope the latter stays that way. One thing I do hope for the future is that the club can refurbish some things in and around the stadium, as those things that were once polished and shiny are now looking worse for wear and clearly needing replacing.