Best ever SoL atmosphere? We asked the fans

Fans celebrate Jermain Defoe's stunning derby winner against Newcastle United.
Fans celebrate Jermain Defoe's stunning derby winner against Newcastle United.
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There’s only one way to find out which was the best ever atmosphere at the Stadium of Light – ask the fans.

So we did on social media and here’s what they had to say.

Sunderland fans make the atmosphere electric for the  1998 play-off semi-final against Sheffield United.

Sunderland fans make the atmosphere electric for the 1998 play-off semi-final against Sheffield United.

More than 25,000 Echo followers responded when we asked whether the play-off semi-final against Sheffield United in 1998 was the best ever day at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland reversed a first leg deficit to win 3-2 on aggregate.

But was it the best day to be a fan? Many agreed, including Chris Collier, who said: “I remember the mist descending into the stadium that night. The atmosphere was that powerful, we were literally pulling clouds down from the sky.”

Others who agreed included:

l Ken Hutchinson: “Yes brought the roof off, class night.”

I remember the mist descending into the stadium that night. The atmosphere was that powerful, we were literally pulling clouds down from the sky

Chris Collier

l Ian Brown: “What a save by Lionel!!”

l Rachel Brown was seven months pregnant at the time and said: “Remember the ladies in the queue for the loos letting me go before them!!”

l Lee Thornby: “Aye awesome night that, best atmosphere ive ever heard.”

l John Palmer said: “Sheffield utd for me. The whole ground was singing nearly all game. Goosebumps.”

Ji Dong-Won runs to the Sunderland fans after scoring the winning goal against Manchester City. Picture by FRANK REID

Ji Dong-Won runs to the Sunderland fans after scoring the winning goal against Manchester City. Picture by FRANK REID

l Paul Maple: “Yea, that was the best by a mile.. look at the stark contrast now!!”

l Alan Darwin: “I must agree; fantastic night, will never be forgotten.”

l Barry Ross: “Was best I’ve ever experienced ... ‘we are Sunderland’ constant stream was awesome.”

But not everyone agreed it was the best ever and here are some of the alternative offers.

Top of the alternative list was the day Sunderland fought back from two goals down for a draw with North East rivals Newcastle.

Paulus Antonius reminisced: “Super Kev’s equaliser against the Mags 2-2. Reidy and even Bobby Robson said it was the best atmosphere they’d ever heard.”

Kiel Watson agreed: “This or the 2-2 against Newcastle,” while Brian Appleby said: “The noise when Kevin Phillips equalised against the Mags in the 2-2 draw.”

Kevin Shaw said: “Nope, when came back from 2-0 down at home to Mags and Phillips scored the equaliser.”

Alan Downey chipped in with: “Always remember the first ever Mags game at the Sol – Stadium was bouncing at 2.30 – never seen it so full at that time – cracking game and came back from 2 nil down #superkevinphillips.”

There were plenty of other contenders as well.

Paul Higgins said that the day Sunderland beat Everton to relegate Newcastle United was “priceless”.

Keiran Ferry commented: “The Chelsea one the Saturday before was better. The roof came off with Borini’s equaliser. Defoe’s winner sent it into orbit. Absolutely amazing atmosphere that day.”

Paul Usher was a big fan of the Sheffield United play-off game and said: “The noise when we scored was unreal. But ... When Kevin Ball put the ball in the net but it was disallowed in the stadium opener against Ajax ... The noise then was something else.”

Phill Turton said: “Mags at home with the Defoe goal, only time can remember fans celebrating right the way through half-time break ... Thierry Henry was in the commentary box and couldn’t believe the support we gave the lads that day.”

Graham Binks also loved the Defoe goal against Newcastle and added: “It was Easter Sunday late kick-off the place was bouncing.”

Another big winner was the day Sunderland thrashed Chelsea 4-1 and Kevin Phillips scored a spectacular goal. Gary Symonds hailed it as a “Phillips screamer”.

Another contender was the day Carlos Edwards thrashed home a spectacular goal against Burnley and Chris Sumby said: “The stadium was bouncing and literally moving.”

Michael Wilson-Dukes said: “When Edwards scored it was beyond mental. Was great in town afterwards too.”

Big Sam’s era was a winner, especially the victories against Chelsea and Everton for Paul Anderson.

Kevin Johnson said: “Good photo. Days like that seem a way off. Sunderland 2 Man Utd 2 when Keane had a right go at his team mates, Beckham and the rest after they went 2 down.”

Ian Morland reckoned the loudest the stadium ever got was “without a doubt” the night Sunderland sealed a 93rd minute winner against Manchester City.

Thanks to everyone who responded with their comments.