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The end of an incredible era as Roker Park faced the bulldozer 25 years ago

It was a poignant finale and it started with the Roker End.

Saturday, 16th April 2022, 4:55 am

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It was 25 years ago this year that the bulldozers moved in on Roker Park to begin the demolition of the 99-year-old stadium.

The Roker End was the first to go, and the timber floors of the Clock Stand were also stripped away.

Next in line were other parts of the ground.

The end of an era as Roker Park faces demolition in 1997.

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East Boldon-based G O’Brien is carrying out the work for Wimpey Homes which was due to begin building 130 homes on the site in late summer.

It was an emotional moment for George Forster, vice-chairman of Sunderland AFC Supporters’ Association.

He said at the time: “A lot of fans thought over the years that this moment would never come - some hoped it would never happen.

“It’s sad to see the old ground go because of the memories it holds for fans. But the club had to move on and the new stadium is very exciting.”

The Roker End at Roker Park bites the dust.

The supporters’ association shop on Roker Baths Road closed, and volunteers were busy setting up in their new base at Monk Street, nearer the new stadium.

The legend of Roker Park lived on, though, at a Wearside pub.

A new sign was made for The Cambridge, on Fulwell Road, showing the famous old ground in its floodlit glory.

And managers Norman Pounder and Margaret Calvert say match-day regulars pledged to return to the pub when Sunderland AFC moves to its new stadium.

An army of workers made sure the Stadium was ready for the safety inspection.

Mercury Inns, owners of The Cambridge, recently completed a major refurbishment of the landmark venue.

Norman and Margaret were keen to see Roker Park in the new artwork. A company in Birmingham did the sign.

The couple had been at The Cambridge for four years and have built up a collection of old football photographs, which are on the walls of the bar.

Elsewhere in Sunderland, a superhuman effort from an army of workers made sure the Stadium of Light was ready for a safety inspection in 1997.

Flash floods caused havoc in Sunderland in 1997. Hundreds of homes and businesses were left under water after more than three hours of torrential rain.

Contractors worked round the clock to make sure the club would not have to call off its sell-out opening game.

Were you there for that historic opening game at the stadium, and what do you remember of the occasion?

And what else was happening in the Wearside news that year?

:: Wearsiders were counting the cost of the worst flash flooding in years. Hundreds of homes and businesses were left under water after more than three hours of torrential rain.

Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade received 180 flood reports in less than two hours in Sunderland and Washington as the storm hit its peak.

:: Castle View School duo Orion - David Cuthbertson and Steven Dorward - recorded their own song, Amazing World.

The demolition of the Roker Park floodlight pylons.

It went on sale in school and got a special live airing in Castletown school’s gig of the year.

:: Children at Diamond Hall Infants raised more than £2,000 for Help The Aged through a sponsored aerobics session.

:: Promising young Sunderland skier Scott Bryson was selected to be a member of the British Children’s Alpine Ski Team.

What are your memories of 1997? Tell us more by emailing [email protected]

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Publicans Margaret Calvert and Norman Pounder with the new sign showing a floodlit Roker Park at the Cambridge pub.