Supporters are being advised to arrive early for the forthcoming Wear-Tyne derby at the Stadium of Light, which takes place at 12noon on Sunday.
In light of the capacity crowd expected and enhanced safety measures in place, fans should allow additional time for their journey both to and from the stadium. There will be a number of changes to the normal match day arrangements, including to the traffic management and entrance and exit procedures.
Sunderland AFC’s head of safety and security, Paul Weir, said: “The derby brings with it some changes to our usual match day operation, as we implement a number of enhanced measures for the safety of all supporters.
“As with every game, we want to ensure that all supporters have an enjoyable day and have worked in conjunction with the police to ensure the safe arrival and departure of supporters. We strongly advise everyone attending the game to plan their journey in advance, arrive at the stadium in good time and to listen to the advice of stewards and police on the day.
“Naturally with a large crowd and the additional safety measure in place, there may be some delays, particularly in exiting the stadium and we thank supporters in advance for their patience and understanding on the day.”
STADIUM OF LIGHT TURNSTILES
Turnstiles for home supporters will open at 10.30am. Supporters can use any turnstile in the East, West or South Stand to enter the stadium and do not have to use the turnstile listed on their match ticket or season card. Ticket holders located in the Premier Concourse must use the designated turnstiles for this area however.
Supporters in the Carling Stand (north) are advised that safety measures will be in place in this area as visiting fans are directed from their buses to the turnstiles in the upper area of the Carling Stand. Supporters seated in the lower Carling Stand area should therefore use the East or West Stand turnstiles in order to enter the stadium.
Sunderland supporters who usually use the emergency access road parallel to the Aquatic Centre as a short cut to access the stadium area on foot are also advised that this area will be closed off during the movement of visiting supporters in and out of the stadium and an alternative route should be found.
The Fan Zone will open from 9am, serving a range of food and drink, including special breakfast options.
Police safety measures will be in place both before and after kick-off, resulting in no vehicle access via Vaux Brewery Way, which runs parallel to the Aquatic Centre. Anyone using the West Stand car parks must enter and exit via Millennium Way (past the Bob Stokoe statue and Fan Zone. Naturally this may lead to some additional congestion or delays and supporters are asked to show patience with police and stewards.
Fans should also be mindful of the roadworks on the A1231 Wessington Way, which may cause delays getting to and from the stadium.
The usual scheduled Metro and train services will be operating. Sunderland AFC supporters can make their way to the stadium from the Stadium of Light Metro station, whilst visiting fans will use St Peter’s Metro Station.
At full-time, Sunderland AFC supporters situated in the Carling Stand can leave the stadium via their usual exit points for a five-minute period. After this time, a sterile area will be created outside the Carling Stand to facilitate the movement of visiting supporters. Home fans will be diverted to alternative exits located in the East and West Stands.
Upon exiting the West Stand, Sunderland fans must turn left. When exiting the East Stand fans should turn right in order to leave the stadium area quickly.
Guests in the hospitality areas of the stadium may face some restrictions in exiting via the main West Stand stadium entrance after the game as visiting fans are escorted from the Carling Stand to their buses. This is to ensure the safety of all supporters.