ABOVE: SAFC's Stadium of Light is alongside the River Wear, just outside the Sunderland town center. INSET BELOW: Nonviolent Sunderland fans chat outside the stadium before the match.
Practical advice and precautions
Getting a ticket
While attendance figures across England are generally very high for the biggest clubs, struggling teams or smaller ones might not fill their stadiums every game. The best bet then is to check their Web sites individually (see the links at the end of the article for more on that).
Unfortunately, getting a ticket to see any of the biggest teams will be very difficult without paying a scalper (called a tout in England). Alternatively, you can check with your local supportersí club if one exists, as they sometimes have ticket structures designed to help non-season ticket holding fans. An example of this is Arsenal America, of which Iím a member.
Precautions and common sense
Football-related violence is often exaggerated in films and the media at large, but it does still exist, particularly when alcohol is involved. If you are attending a match, play it safe and stick to main routes to and from the stadium. The odds of anything happening to you are usually quite low, but itís always better to be safe than sorry. If supporting the visiting team, itís best to keep scarves, shirts, etc. away from plain view until within the stadium itself (and preferably with likeminded fans). Finally, buying a ticket from a tout is both expensive and illegal. Do so at your own risk.
Top Tier English and Scottish
The Football Association
English Premier League
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Text and photos copyright © Anders Imboden. All rights reserved.
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