3 May 2020 marks the anniversary of the last league game at Roker Park, played on 3 May 1997. Although this was the last league game, v Everton; a Northern Intermediate game was played at the ground between Sunderland and Middlesbrough 4 days later. Of course The Farewell To Roker Park game against Liverpool, Sunderland’s first opponents at Roker Park in 1898, took place on 13 May 1997. However Ryehill Football decided that a small pictorial history of Roker Park was in order to revive some memories, on the anniversary of the day the Football League ended at Roker after 99 years.
The story of Roker Park has never been written and at some point that oversight will have to be corrected. But until that day comes images and personal memories are all we have.
Colourised image of the Sunderland team lining up at Roker Park, in 1898 prior to the first game at the ground v Liverpool. Sunderland would win 1 v 0
A postcard produced in the 1900’s by a firm called Valentine’s celebrates the new ground
Video of Sunderland v Leicester Fosse 1907
The Sunderland players line up in front of the Main Stand in their civilian clothes, 1909
At The Fulwell End, circa 1929
Underneath The Roker End – 1932/33
Outside Roker Park circa 1935
Bomb Damage 1943
Roker Park 1950’s
SAFC Players at Roker Park 1961/62
Sunderland v Charlton, 31 December 1961 – match postponed; Sunderland would win the re-arranged game 4 v 1
Sunderland’s cup winners 1973, back home at Roker Park
Snow clearance at Roker Park
Main Stand Roker Park
In sum up our time at Roker Park you could say that the ground went from being a state of the art facility when built, to a shrunken state by 1997. Irrespective of how it looked at the end, for those who went regularly it remains their footballing home, a place not to be forgotten. Whilst of course every game was clearly not a cauldron the ground defined a fan base: The Roker Roar.
Sunderland’s first game at Roker Park was against Liverpool in 1898, we won 1 v 0. Sunderland’s last game at Roker Park was against Liverpool, we won 1 v 0.
Who writes our scripts?
Roker Park; gone but never forgotten.