Football Stadia in the UK Part 2: The King Power Stadium and The Stadium of Light

  • Name: The King Power Stadium
  • Capacity 36,232
  • Home Team: Leicester City
  • Where: Leicester
  • Built: 2002
  • Cost: £37 Million

Famous Leicester City Players over the years: Gary Lineker, Gordon Banks, Jamie Vardy, Frank Worthington

Like many other football clubs, Leicester City had been located in a different part of the city before the emergence of the King Power Arena, originally based at Filbert Street since 1891, the club spent many successful years at their old stadium.

As with many of the old structures, the basic safety standards and supporter comfort had taken a back seat at the old ground, even though the club had updated the ground, it still fell short of the expected criteria that supporters expected.

Because of the new safety code that had been applied to the top two divisions of English football, all stadia had to be all seater venues; the directors of the club first looked at the possibility of relocation rather than keep updating the old ground.

Due to the success on the pitch, every match was now a sell- out with crowds rising dramatically and started to demand more access to tickets for the games.

In early 1998, plans were announced for a new stadium with a capacity of 40,000, which unfortunately feel by the wayside, until a new set of plans were submitted for a 32,000 capacity venue, which later evolved into the King Power, via the Walkers Stadium after the association with the crisp manufacturer in the city who had sponsored the club for years.

The King Power Stadium has certainly been lucky for the club, with the Premier League title secured in 2016, against incredible odds and the FA Cup won for the first time ever after many attempts, a few years later.

Unfortunately like the majority of football clubs, bad times are just as prevalent as good times, and this was certainly the case in 2018 when the clubs owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha sadly died in a helicopter crash whilst leaving the stadium after a match, and event that not only shocked the club but also the footballing world.

Fascinating fact – Leicester City equalled Manchester City`s record of 7, 2nd division tiles in 2013,

Three years later they became Premier League champions against all odds of 5,000-1.

Wearmouth Bridge and the Stadium of Light in background
Wearmouth Bridge and the Stadium of Light in background

Stadium of Light: Sunderland

  • Name: Stadium of Light
  • Capacity 49,000
  • Home Team: Sunderland FC
  • Where: Wearside
  • Built: 1997
  • Cost £24 Million

Famous Sunderland Players over the years: Kevin Phillips, Brian Clough, Ian Porterfield, Jim Montgomery

Originally based at Roker Park for nearly 100 years, the club decided to re-locate and build a new stadium due to an ever increasing demand for tickets, after thousands of supporters were being locked out on matchday`s at every home game.

Although Roker Park was seen as their spiritual home, like many older grounds it had become stale and needed updating which would have cost an awful lot to put right, this also coincided with the Taylor report, which reported on the safety of supporters and the structures of football stadia after the Hillsborough disaster, hence the move.

The new Stadium of Light has certainly exceeded expectations by becoming one of the best footballing stadiums in the country even though it has been hosting League One fixtures for a few years, however next year it will hold Championship games for the first time in a few years, after Sunderland won promotion back to the second tier.

Because of the events that are happening across the area at Newcastle United, it is great to see that the interest is now spread across the North East rather than just being focused on Newcastle.

Make no mistake about it, Sunderland is a massive club that are finally getting the success that their loyal fans deserve, and long may it continue.

Fascinating fact – First USA President George Washington, had ancestral connections with the area, with several generations of his family residing in the area, their family crest dons the red and whites stripes, which some say was the inspiration for the Sunderland shirts.

Football Stadia in the UK Series