Sunderland welcomed tens of thousands of England fans on Friday night, with the Stadium of Light taking centre stage as it hosted the prestigious international friendly game as part of the Three Lions Euro 2016 preparations.
A sell-out crowd saw Roy Hodgson’s side seal a 2-1 victory, in what was their penultimate warm up game before the squad heads to France for the tournament.
City bars and restaurants were packed throughout the day and night and many hotels in the region, including the brand new Hilton Garden Inn Sunderland, were full – providing a timely boost to the local economy of an
Hundreds of international media descended on the stadium, with the game broadcast live in the UK and Australia simultaneously and fans from all over the country enjoyed a warm Wearside welcome and the famous North East hospitality.
Gary Hutchinson, Sunderland AFC commercial director: “This has been a fantastic event for the club and the city. To be chosen to host the national team as part of their Euro preparations was a tremendous honour for us and the capacity crowd proved the huge appetite there is for major events of this kind in the North East.
“We are tremendously proud of the efforts of everyone, from club staff, the City Council, police, transport agencies and everyone involved in the planning, preparation and delivery of the event. Our thanks also go to our colleagues at the FA, who have worked hand in hand with us to make this such a special occasion.
“Sunderland shone on a global stage on Friday and demonstrated to the world what makes our city so special.”
Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, Coun Harry Trueman said: “It was a pleasure and an honour to host an England international match especially so close to the European Championships in France and I hope everyone enjoyed the game
“We were delighted to welcome England supporters from across the country, and of course our guests from Australia. Such a showcase occasion not only brought tens of thousands of visitors into the city and £millions into the local and regional economy, it also showed again Sunderland and the Stadium of Light as a truly global venue for top class sports, music and outdoor events.
“Sunderland is a city with a proud sporting tradition, which loves football, so as we say to our local heroes ‘Ha’way the Lads’ to England in UEFA Euro 2016.”