Tyne and Wear HER(16910): Monkwearmouth, Newcastle Road, Sunderland AFC (site 5) - Details
Monkwearmouth, Newcastle Road, Sunderland AFC (site 5)
Ball Sports Site
1886-98. Now built over. The Newcastle Road pitch is recorded on an oil painting (12 feet x 8.5 feet in size) by Thomas Hemy called 'Team of All Talents'. It shows Sunderland AFC playing Aston Villa on 2nd January 1895 (4-4 draw). It is believed to be the earliest painting of a professional football match. Sunderland commissioned the painting to celebrate winning the League in 1892 and 1893. They won again in April 1895. The terraces were not as steep as shown on the painting. Straw is shown piled up at the touchlines. This was used to protect the pitch from frost. Sunderland were elected to the First Division in 1890 and won the Championship three times during their first five seasons. In 1891 a record number of 21,000 people watched a match. However the ground was not deemed big enough. In 1896 a limited company was formed to fund a move. Roker Park was built in 1898. The Newcastle Road ground was built over by houses (Netherburn Road and Newlington Court). In 1903 Hemy's painting was offered as a raffle prize but never claimed. It was re-hung at Roker Park and now is displayed in the Stadium of Light.
Lynn Pearson, 2010, Played in Tyne and Wear - Charting the heritage of people at play, pp 74-75, 79