Football, Premier League

Sunderland Association Football Club

Sunderland AFC (full name: Sunderland Association Football Club) is an English football club based in the city of Sunderland in the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear. It was founded in 1879 under the name Sunderland & District Teachers AFC. It has had its current name since 1881. Since the 2022/23 season, it has been active in the EFL Championship (2nd highest competition).

Sunderland have been trying in vain to get out of League 3 for years. In the 2018/19 season, he unluckily lost to Charlton Athletic FC in the play-off final for promotion to League 2 1:2 with a goal in the 94th minute. In the 2019/20 season, he stayed close to the promotion ranks, but the season was ended early due to the coronavirus epidemic and Sunderland finished 8th and did not even make the play-offs.

In the 2021/22 season, they advanced from 6th place in EFL League One to the promotion play-offs. In the semi-finals, Sunderland got Sheffield Wednesday FC, with whom they won the first match 1-0 and drew the next 1-1, which means that they advanced to the final, in which Wycombe Wanderers also advanced. Only one game is played in the final, and Sunderland won that one. Sunderland will thus enter the 2nd highest competition in the 2021/22 season after four years.

He became the champion of England 6 times.

It plays its home matches at the Stadium of Light with a capacity of 48,707 spectators.



The club was founded as Sunderland and District Teachers AFC by teacher James Allan; the presumed date of foundation is October 1879. However, evidence suggests that the formal club was not formed until a year later, on 25 September 1880. The team was renamed Sunderland AFC and in October 1880 became available not only to school teachers.

Sunderland entered the Football League in the 1890–91 season. Tom Watson became Sunderland's first manager, appointed in 1888. At the end of the 19th century, William McGregor, the founder of the league, declared them the "Team of All Talent" after a 7-2 win against Aston Villa. Sunderland won the league championship in 1891–92, one season after joining the Football League. Sunderland successfully defended their title the following season, aided by Scottish striker John Campbell, who broke the 30-goal mark in two consecutive seasons. In the process, Sunderland became the first team to score 100 goals in a season, a feat that was only surpassed in 1919–20 when West Bromwich Albion set a new record.

In the 1893–94 season, Sunderland came close to a third league win in a row, but finished second to Aston Villa. However, they regained the title in 1894–95, finishing five points clear of second-placed Everton, with Campbell becoming the league's top scorer for the third time. After leading Sunderland to three league titles, Watson resigned as manager at the end of the 1895–96 season and subsequently joined Liverpool. He was replaced by Robert Campbell. In 1898 the club moved to Roker Park, which became their home for almost a century. Initially, the stadium had a capacity of 30,000 spectators, but in the following decades the capacity was constantly expanded, and at its peak the stadium could hold a crowd of more than 75,000. However, Campbell did not achieve the same success with the team as former manager Watson, which forced Campbell to leave Sunderland to join Bristol City in the 1898–99 season.

Scotsman Alex Mackie replaced Campbell as manager for the 1899 season. After finishing second in 1900–01, the club won their fourth league title in 1901–02, beating Everton by three points. Arthur Bridgett joined Sunderland in December 1902, captaining them for 10 seasons and winning 11 FA Cups.

In 1904, Sunderland's management were embroiled in a payments scandal involving player Andrew McCombie. The club reportedly lent the player £100 (£10.9k today) to help him set up his own business, with the understanding that the money would be returned later. However, McCombie refused to return the money, claiming it was a donation. An investigation led by the Football Association concluded that the money given to McCombie was part of a "re-signing bonus" which breached association rules. Sunderland were fined £250 (£27.1k today) and six directors were suspended for two-and-a-half years for failing to produce true records of the club's financial dealings. Mackie was also suspended for three months for his part in the affair.


On 5 December 1908, Sunderland achieved their highest league win against north-east rivals Newcastle United. They won 9-1; Billy Hogg and George Holley scored Hattricks while Arthur Bridgett two goals. Under Irish manager Bob Keel and captain Charles Thomson, the club won the league again in 1913, but lost their first FA Cup final to Aston Villa 1–0. Two seasons later, World War I halted the league. After the resumption of the league, Sunderland came close to winning another championship in the 1922–23 season, when the title was eventually taken by Liverpool. They came close to the title in the following season as well, finishing in third place, four points behind the top of the league. On the other hand, the club escaped relegation from the First Division by a single point in the 1927–28 season despite Dave Halliday's 35 goals.

They came close to the title in the following season as well, finishing in third place, four points behind the top of the league. The club's sixth league title came in the 1935–36 season under Scottish manager Johnny Cochrane. They scored 109 goals during the season, with Raich Carter and Bobby Gurney scoring 31 each.

Despite winning the league, the season was not without tragedy. The team's young goalkeeper Jimmy Thorpe has died after being kicked to the head and chest after taking the ball against Chelsea at Roker Park. He continued to play until the end of the match. He finally collapsed at home and died four days later in hospital of diabetes mellitus and heart failure. This tragic incident led to a change in the rules, with players no longer allowed to lift a leg at the goalkeeper when he was in control of the ball in his arms.

The following season they won the FA Cup after a 3–1 victory against Preston North End at Wembley Stadium. For the rest of the decade, Sunderland finished mid-table in the table until the Second World War interrupted all leagues as well as the FA cup.


Sunderland's immediate post-war years were characterized by considerable spending; the club paid £18,000 (£641,000 today) for Ivor Broadis from Carlisle United in January 1949. In 1950, the club finished top of the First Division, their highest finish since the 1936 season. The late 1950s saw a sharp decline in Sunderland's fortunes and the club was once again embroiled in a major financial scandal in 1957. They were found guilty of making payments by players in excess of the maximum salary. They were fined £5,000 (£121,000 today) and their chairman and three directors were suspended. The following year, Sunderland were relegated from the top division for the first time in their 68-year league history.

Sunderland's absence from the top flight lasted six years. In the 1962–63 season, the club reached the gates of the first division. However, in the fight for one promotion spot, he lost to Chelsea's score and had to wait another year for promotion. At the end of the decade, however, they again avoided relegation to the second division, finishing in twenty-first position. Sunderland won their last major trophy in 1973 with a 1–0 victory over Leeds United in the FA Cup final. Sunderland, who were a League Two club at the time, won the match thanks mainly to the efforts of their goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery, who saved two Leeds shots on goal in quick succession. Since 1973, only two other clubs, Southampton in 1976 and West Ham United in 1980, have matched Sunderland's feat of winning the FA Cup as teams outside the English top flight.

After six seasons in the Second Division, Sunderland were promoted back to the First Division in the 1975–76 season. However, he did not warm up here for long and was relegated again in the following season. Sunderland appeared in their first League Cup final in 1985 but lost 1–0 to Norwich City. In 1987, Sunderland recorded one of the lowest league points in their history when they were relegated to the Third Division of the English League for the first time. Under new chairman Bob Murray and new manager Denis Smith, the club returned to the Second Division the following season. In 1990, under unusual circumstances, they were returned back to the highest level. Sunderland lost to Swindon Town in the play-off final, but Swindon's promotion was canceled after the club was found guilty of financial irregularities and Sunderland were promoted instead. However, Sunderland only lasted one season in the top flight as their relegation was decided on the last day of the season. Peter Reid was appointed manager of Sunderland in 1997 and worked there until 2002. Sunderland's next success was the FA Cup Grand Final in 1992, where they presented themselves as a Second Division club. However, the sensation from 1973 was not repeated as they lost to Liverpool 2:0 in the final.


In 1997, Sunderland left their home stadium of Roker Park after 99 years. Former Sunderland player Jen Shackleton, who has fond memories of the stadium, said: "There will never be another place but the Roker." The club moved to the Stadium of Light, a 42,000-seater arena which was at the time the largest stadium built in England after the second world war. The capacity was later increased to 49,000.

Sunderland returned to the Premier League as League One champions in 1999 with a then record 105 points. Sunderland's 1999–2000 season began at Stamford Bridge where they were beaten 4–0 by Chelsea. However, in the second leg later in the season, Sunderland turned it around and "avenged" their 4–0 loss with a 4–1 win at home to the Stadium of Light. Sunderland also achieved in St. James' Park 2–1 victory over rivals Newcastle United, which contributed to the resignation of Newcastle manager Ruud Gullit. At the end of the season, Sunderland finished in seventh place as Kevin Phillips won the European Golden Boot in his first senior season with 30 goals.

Another seventh place finish in 2000–01 was followed by two less successful seasons as they were relegated with a record low 19 points in 2003. Former Ireland manager Mick McCarthy joined the club. However, the club's stay in the elite competition was short-lived as Sunderland were relegated again, this time with a new record low total of 15 points. McCarthy left the club midway through the season and was temporarily replaced by former Sunderland player Kevin Ball. A record low 15-point performance was surpassed in the 2007–08 season by Derby County, who finished with eleven points.

After Sunderland's relegation from the Premier League, the club was taken over by the Irish Drumaville consortium headed by ex-player Niall Quinn, who appointed ex-Manchester United captain Roy Keane as the new manager. Under Keane's management, the club steadily improved its results and position in the table, after a streak of 17 games without a loss, it was promoted to the Premier League. After a shaky start to the 2008–09 season, Keane resigned. Before the start of the following season, Irish-American businessman Ellis Short completed a full takeover of the club and Steve Bruce was appointed manager on 3 June.

Sunderland started the 2010–11 season very well but finished tenth in the league after Bent left for Aston Villa in January 2011 – still their highest finish in the Premier League table in 10 years. The 2013–14 season got off to a poor start and then manager Di Canio was sacked due to poor relations with the players. Gus Poyet was named as his replacement and led Sunderland to the 2014 Football League Cup final where they were beaten 3–1 by Manchester City.


In July 2016, Allardyce left the club and was appointed manager of the England national team. Former Everton and Manchester United manager David Moyes was appointed as his replacement. Moyes' Sunderland have made their worst start to a Premier League season, picking up just two points from their opening 10 games. At the end of the 2016–17 season, the club were relegated to the second division for the first time in ten years, finishing bottom of the table with 24 points. Moyes was forced to resign as manager of the team. In June 2017, goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (a Sunderland academy product who joined the club aged eight) was sold to Everton for £25 million, a record fee for a British goalkeeper.

Following relegation, Simon Grayson was announced as the club's new manager. Under Grayson, the club had a very poor start to the 2017–18 EFL Championship season (documented in the Netflix series Sunderland 'Til I Die), recording just 2 wins in 14 games. After a 3–3 draw against Bolton, Grayson was sacked and replaced by Wales head coach Chris Coleman in November 2017. However, in April 2018 the club was relegated again, this time to League One (which is the third highest English football league). St Mirren manager Jack Ross was appointed as the new manager in May 2018. In the club's first season in League One, they finished 5th and reached the play-off final, but lost to Charlton Athletic at Wembley. After a poor start to the 2019–20 season, Ross was released in October 2019. He was replaced by former Bolton manager Phil Parkinson on 17 October. Sunderland finished the season in 8th place, their lowest ever league position. The final standings of this season were ultimately determined by points after the last match played due to the suspension of football due to the covid-19 pandemic.