Work began on Sunderland’s new stadium on 15th May 1996 and the ground was officially opened on 30th July 1997.
Niall Quinn scored the Stadium of Light’s first official goal on 15th August ‘97 against his old club Manchester City but these wags set up a makeshift net and beat the Sunderland legend to it - ‘scoring’ here in the spot where the ground’s North Stand goal currently stands.
The stadium was built as a bowl with a lower deck and an upper one installed above the West Stand. The pitch stands a few metres below ground level.
Seats began being installed in February 1997. They were a sumptuous bright red for several years until the unrelenting Wearside sun turned most to a dirty pink.
Work had started on the East Stand’s cantilever roof by November 1996. The pitch was initially sown in the October.
The West Stand was to be the main stand at the ground and initially was the only one to house three tiers.