Today’s the day – Sunderland ready for One Direction

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SUNDERLAND football club is giving pop fans a teaser of what to expect at tonight’s One Direction gig.

Gary Hutchinson, SAFC’s commercial director, travelled to Dublin at the weekend to see the supergroup perform at the Croke Park stadium for the Irish leg of their mammoth Where We Are world tour.

From 8.15pm tonight they will perform some of their biggest hits at the Stadium of Light to just under 52,000 excited fans.

National media will also descend on the home of the Black Cats for the opening night of the UK leg of the tour.

Gary (pictured) said: “It was a great show at the weekend, it was to a bigger crowd, 80,000. But though ours will be more compact, we expect it to be louder, especially with the North East crowds. It was a real occasion for young people. It’s a different challenge for us with that kind of crowd but we’re up for the challenge.”

Gary got to meet the five-piece last week when they snuck into the stadium for a rehearsal

He presented them with personalised Sunderland shirts, which the lads donned for a kick about on the pitch.

“We’d left one of the goals uncovered so they had a good game while they were here,” said Gary. “Louis, Zayne and Niall played the most. It’s a great way for them to remember the venue.

“We’ve got some other gifts we’ll be giving them tonight if we get the chance.”

He added: “They were very grounded down-to-earth guys. There’s not many people their age who have had such massive success but they have a lot of support around them. You can see they’re enjoying what they do.”

One Direction is one of the fastest-selling gigs ever to be staged at the stadium and schoolgirls have already started hanging around the entrance to the venue in the hope of catching a glimpse of their heroes.

Concert-goers are being reminded to check the safety information issued with their ticket.

•You can be part of our coverage of One Direction. Add your tweets, pictures and video to our live blog using #1datthesol or #1dSoL

Stage Times

Fans are advised that external courtyard areas are set to open after 2.30pm today, with the main stadium gates open from 5pm.

Key timings - subject to change on the day.

2.30pm: external courtyards open

4.30pm: hospitality entrances open

5pm: stadium gates open

6.50pm: 5 Seconds of Summer on stage

8.15pm: One Direction on stage

10pm: show ends (approximate time)