WELCOME to Ashbrooke Sports Ground.
These grand gates mark the end of the shabby side door which once marked the entrance to the historic ground.
Paralympic sailor John Robertson, who will represent Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics, performed the official opening of the new entrance, which now makes the venue more accessible to everyone.
Rob Deverson, chairman of Ashbrooke Sports Ground, said: “We’ve had two or three different entrances over the year and the last one was in use for about 25 years.
“It looked like the entrance to a drinking den.
“But back then Ashbrooke was a members-only club, so it was supposed to look exclusive. Now, though, we want it to be welcoming to everyone in the community.
“John trains a lot in Weymouth but is from Sunderland and is a regular to the club where he knows a lot of the rugby lads. With the old entrance and stairs he had to be carried down by a couple of the burly players, but the new gates and ramp make it accessible to everyone.”
He added: “We also have new doors, which were provided by Aspect Door Company in Hendon for free.”
The new gates also mark the installation of a Blue Plaque to mark the season in the late 19th century when Sunderland AFC played at the ground.