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Sunderland Association Football Club is an English professional football club based in the city of Sunderland. The club currently competes in the Championship, which is the second tier of the English football pyramid.
Sunderland currently plays their home matches at the Stadium of Light, which has been the club’s home since 1997. It is a UEFA Category four stadium and has a maximum capacity of 49,000 supporters. The Stadium of Light replaced their former home ground, Roker Park, which the club had used since 1898.
Sunderland have a rich history behind them, particularly in the early years of the Football League where they enjoyed a golden era. Sunderland are six-time winners of the old English First Division, which they first won in the 1891/92 season and retained their title the following year too. They made it three titles in four years in 1894/95, before winning it again in the 1901/02 season when they finished three points clear of runners-up Everton. Sunderland’s fifth First Division title came in the 1912/13 campaign when they finished four points ahead of Aston Villa, with their sixth and final First Division title coming in 1935/36. One year later, the club also won the FA Cup for the first time as they beat Preston North End 3-1 at Wembley. They won the competition again in 1973, beating Leeds 1-0 in a game that’s remembered for Jimmy Montgomery’s wonder save.
The Black Cats are also five-time winners of the Second Division/Championship, with the first coming in 1975/76. They then went on to win the title twice in four years, winning promotion to the Premier League as champions in 1995/96 and 1998/99. A further two Championship titles came within three years of each other, the first in 2004/05 before they made an instant return from relegation from the Premier League as champions in 2006/07 under Roy Keane. They also won the Third Division in the 1987/88 campaign, as they finished nine points clear of runners-up Brighton. The club have also won the EFL Trophy, the Charity Shield and the Sheriff of London Charity Shield.
Sunderland was founded as Sunderland and District Teachers in 1879. The club was renamed to Sunderland A.F.C. a year later and joined the Football League for the first time in 1890 and won the First Division title in just their second season in the league. This sparked what was a golden era in the club’s history where they won the First Division title five times in the space of 21 years, while they also finished as runners-up a further three times. They also won the First Division once again in 1936, before winning the FA Cup the following year in 1937. Sunderland remained a First Division all the way through to 1958, when they were relegated for the first time to the Second Division.
The 1973 FA Cup is the only major trophy the club has won since, a feat they achieved as a Second Division team, too. They have played the majority of their time in the Stadium of Light era in one of the top two divisions of English football, although they did spend four successive seasons in League One between 2018-2022, making it third time lucky in the Play-Offs when they finally made it out of the division.