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The Stadium of Light was opened in 1997 and was built to replace Roker Park, which had been Sunderland home stadium for 99 years. It is located at the former site of Wearmouth Colliery, a disused coal mine.
It was the end result of a long process of planning and development. Initially a 48,000 seater stadium was planned to be built in Washington, next to the Nissan Car Plant. After Nissan issued an official complaint in 1992, this plan to build the "Wembley of the North" was abandoned. After three further years of planning, Wearmouth Colliery was decided as the location, and was approved by the local authorities. The same company that built the Amsterdam Arena
began work in June 1996. The Stadium was opened on the 30th July 1997, and a friendly match was played against Ajax (Who coincidentally play at the Amsterdam Arena).
Initially it was built with a capacity of 42,000. It was, however designed with the future in mind, and can be increased as high as 64,000 with relative ease. In 2000 the North stand was the first stand to receive an upgrade, and the capacity was increased to 49,000.