It is a proud day in the pristine ivory tower for which Cans & Megabus HQ sits atop.
From our lofty vantage point we have guided you through the post-industrial towns, the quaint hamlets, the desolate Teesside streets and wherever else Sunderland have found themselves over the past few years.
However, it is now our pleasure to give you the fruits of our knowledge on the grandest footballing arena in the land - the stadium that has witnessed such magnificent scenes like Sol Campbell’s never-ending sliding tackle, 57-year-old Dean Windass’ sweet volley, the worst FA Cup final of all time (that’s the 2007 final for anyone wondering) and, of course, countless, countless Ed Sheeran concerts.
Sunderland are going to Wembley but, more importantly, Cans & Megabus is here to give you every ounce of information you need to ensure the entire weekend becomes a complete haze. We could not think of a much higher honour, from our nearest and dearest to yours, we are truly humbled.
What’s The Ground Like?
Ah Wembley. Old Wembers, Wembo, The ‘Bley, New Wembley, The Home of Football, Wemberini. Quite nice isn’t it? Obviously, I mean it’s not as good as the one it replaced that was falling down and honked of stale urine but this is alright, I guess.
One thing going for the national stadium is that its bloody, bloody massive with the ability of cramming 90,000 folks inside. From the moment you step off the tube the enormous arch looms over the hordes heading along Wembley Way.
Now that Tottenham have finally moved out, the stadium has regained some form of aura as the grand prize for teams progressing through tournaments.
Sunderland supporters are housed in the East Stand of Wembley and no matter where you sit you can expect a perfect view of our glorious boys attempting to bring home that Checkatrade Trophy.
How Do I Get There?
If you are among the more level-headed Sunderland supporters or an utter legend for volunteering to drive the lads and lasses down to Wembley, you deserve a hearty slap on the back for your commitment to the cause. Join up with the convoy and let’s head to Wembers.
Take the A1(M) down to junction 35 exiting for the M1 heading south. As you edge closer to London, you will be able to spot the famous arch on your right hand side as you exit the M1 onto the North Circular Road. Continue along here until you reach Brent Park where you take the B4557 which will plonk you right outside Wembley. Should you get lost smash HA9 0WS in your sat nav.
You can pre-book a parking spot through Wembley Park’s website. Find out more here.
For the big dawgs arriving by train or those attempting to shake off the post-Trafalgar Square festivities, get the full ‘cheesy chips on Wembley Way’ experience by getting the tube to Wembley Park Station. The station is served by both the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines. You can also arrive at Wembley Stadium station which is served by trains from London Marylebone.
A word of warning for anyone wanting to catch the tube post-match - the queues are notoriously horrific from Wembley Park, so either head to Wembley Stadium station or find a lovely boozer until the rush dies down.
A Love Supreme buses leave the Stadium of Light between 4am and 6am on Sunday morning with return fares priced at £50. Book your place here. There are also buses leaving on Saturday morning at 8am and returning on Sunday after the match priced at £55 which you can reserve here.
Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?
The growing consensus among the Sunderland fraternity is that everyone wants to party like it’s 2014 and ruin a Tory MP’s evening in Covent Garden. However, with Trafalgar Square now demonstration-free on this weekend, a quick migration from London’s poshest street to Nelson’s Column seems to be the order of the day.
As the sun rises on Sunday morning, wipe the sleep from your eyes and the sick from your mouth and get ready to do it all again. Those wanting to soak up the atmosphere and the associated lager can do so at the fan zones outside the stadium. Both Sunderland and Portsmouth have a dedicated zone, with ours being outside Wembley Arena.
The bars open at 10am and serve booze, soft drinks and food until 1.30pm. There is also live entertainment, kids’ face painting and loads more of that good stuff to get you in the footballing mood.
As with all cup finals, each side is allocated selected pubs around Wembley.
Sunderland are the ‘east’ team so can you take your pick from The Torch (Bridge Road), Crock of Gold (Bridge Road), Blue Check Cafe (Empire Way), Crystal Club (South Way), The Parish (Wembley Park Drive), among others. Make sure you choose the right one because you may be turned away from ‘Portsmouth’ pubs.
Find the full list of pubs here.
If you’re coming from central London, a nice stop off is the Baker Street area which is just a 20-minute tube journey from Wembley. The go-to pub for cup final bound supporters is The Globe on Marylebone Road but you can also enjoy a nerve settling beer at Allsop Arms on Gloucester Place, The Sir John Balcombe on Balcombe Street or Inn 1888 Pub & Scullery on Devonshire Street.
I’m Stayin’ Owa, Is There Owt To Do?
Of course you’re staying over - everybody’s staying over, even your Aunty Kathleen who you only ever see at Christmas has booked her Travelodge so she can enjoy Saturday’s frivolities. You’re all too excited, naturally, and plan on turning Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden red and white... and cover it in beer cans.
However, there is so much to do in the nation’s capital if you don’t fancy slinging some suds in a street. There are far too many gigs happening on Saturday night but the highlights include Two Door Cinema Club at Oval Space, The Zutons (yeah, I didn’t know they were still going either) at the Roundhouse, Busted at Wembley Arena and Cute Is What We Aim For at The Dome in Tufnell Park.
For the art lovers among you, head down to Tate Britain to see its latest exhibition Van Gogh and Britain which is the largest collection of the earless one’s paintings. If you’re a proper, proper thespian then watch the Shakespearean masterpiece of Richard III at Alexandra Palace Theatre.
Taking the family down to London? An absolute failsafe day out is the National History Museum and on Saturday you can learn about life in underwater caves at the In Too Deep talk. There is also a Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, a chance for the kids to be scientists for the day and there’s that massive dinosaur skeleton which is pretty damn cool.