Explore Timeline

2012

October 2012

  1. 2012-2

    The opening of St George’s Park

    The FA’s national football centre, St George’s Park, was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on 9th October 2012. Bob and his wife Sue officially welcomed the Royal couple. The Duke of…

    Read More
    Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

    Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, David Bernstein, Chairman of FA, Sir Bob and Lady  Murray at opening of St George’s Park

    The FA’s national football centre, St George’s Park, was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on 9th October 2012. Bob and his wife Sue officially welcomed the Royal couple.

    The Duke of Cambridge opened the new £105 million training base in Burton-Upon-Trent, which was completed in July in his capacity as President of the Football Association.

    The new National Football Centre is a state-of-the-art training complex which boasts 12 full size training pitches, a multisport indoor hall, five gyms and the only FIFA accredited Centre of Medical Excellence in the country. The 330 acre site also includes two top class hotels, Hilton and Hampton by Hilton.

    Sir Bob was appointed Project Director for St George’s Park by the Football Association in November 2008 due to his wealth of football experience and his expertise in building world class football stadia and property development background.

    Sir Bob said: “I am thrilled that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge could join us to celebrate the opening of St George’s Park and to show their support for this incredible sporting facility.”

    “St George’s Park may have been a long time in coming but it was worth the wait. It is a masterpiece of design and function, merging high quality architectural standards with exacting operational demands. We not only have the most stylish football centre in the world but one that works on all levels and will deliver exceptional results.”

    England manager Roy Hodgson and his squad used the training facilities for the first time ahead of their 2014 World Cup qualification game against San Marino on 12th October.

     

    Play Button

    Print Ready Version
2008
  1. Sir Bob with the plans for St George's Park

    Sir Bob appointed Project Director for St George’s Park

    The Football Association had made a number of attempts to establish a National Football Centre from the early 70’s through to the 90’s but ultimately all attempts had failed for various reasons. The FA finally…

    Read More

    Sir Bob with the plans for St George’s Park

    The Football Association had made a number of attempts to establish a National Football Centre from the early 70’s through to the 90’s but ultimately all attempts had failed for various reasons.

    The FA finally purchased Byrkley Park, in the heart of the National Forest in 2001 and in the same year secured planning permission for the development of a National Football Centre. However, financial constraints meant that the development was again postponed in 2004.

    Due to Bob’s experience in the football industry and in stadia development he was asked to join the FA Board of the National Football Centre in 2008, as Project Director, to drive delivery of the project on time and to budget. As the only Director outside of the FA he was thrilled to accept the challenge. He actively sought the support of both the game and the nation to fund and build the national football centre.

    The FA’s Professional and National Game Boards gave their unanimous backing to begin construction of the £105m project at an announcement in London in November 2010. Work started on the 330 acre site close to Burton-upon-Trent in January 2011 and was completed on time and within budget in the summer of 2012.

    The centre incorporates state of the art educational facilities, medical facilities, sports science, a full size indoor pitch, hotel & recreation centre. The vision that saw Bob build the Stadium of Light and Academy of Light also focused on completing one of the most ambitious projects in world football. He said: “This world class facility will change the face of English football by producing quality home-grown players, coaches and managers of whom we can be proud”.

    Bob was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from Leeds Metropolitan University in 2008, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to business in Yorkshire and the sports industry.

    Print Ready Version
2003

July 2003

  1. HRH Duke of York unveils plaque at Academy opening ceremony

    Duke of York officially opens Academy

    HRH Duke of York unveils plaque at Academy opening ceremony HRH The Duke of York visited Sunderland AFC for the second time in July 2003 to officially open the Academy of Light; he opened the…

    Read More

    HRH Duke of York unveils plaque at Academy opening ceremony

    HRH The Duke of York visited Sunderland AFC for the second time in July 2003 to officially open the Academy of Light; he opened the Stadium of Light in 1997.

    The Duke was relaxed as he joked and chatted with players, manager Mick McCarthy and Academy staff as he toured the facility. Sir Bob Murray who showed the Duke around said: “He was clearly impressed with what we believe are world class facilities and was very interested to understand why we believe the Academy is so important to the development of both young and established professional players, and how it will help us to compete at the highest level in the future.”

    The world class training ground and academy provides facilities for the club’s professional and young players from the age 8 upwards. The facilities include; indoor and outdoor training areas including 12-18 pitches of varying size; fitness rooms; medical and rehabilitation facilities including a hydrotherapy suite boasting 4 pools; classrooms, IT suite and library, media suite, parents lounge and administration offices. An indoor training facility was also opened in 2012.

    The Academy of Light was given the highest possible category rating by EPPP (Elite Player Performance Programme) inspectors in 2012.

    Print Ready Version
2000

October 2000

  1. David Bellamy plants oak tree with Ian Branfoot, John Fickling & Sir Bob Murray

    David Bellamy gives Academy thumbs up

    Environmentalist and television personality, Dr David Bellamy OBE, put his green fingers to work in October 2000 when he planted an oak tree to inaugurate SAFC’s academy. Commenting at the event Bob said: “The Stadium…

    Read More

    David Bellamy plants oak tree with Ian Branfoot, John Fickling & Sir Bob Murray

    Environmentalist and television personality, Dr David Bellamy OBE, put his green fingers to work in October 2000 when he planted an oak tree to inaugurate SAFC’s academy.

    Commenting at the event Bob said: “The Stadium of Light is a world class stage for the team to perform in front of the Sunderland faithful but we need backstage facilities paralleling these to ensure the team has the best possible advantage and can compete at the highest level”.

    “The players and backroom staff have trained without the facilities they deserve for many years.  What they can look forward to are some of the most advanced facilities in Europe, which will ensure they are given the best possible competitive advantage.

    “The Academy has not been developed solely with the needs of players in mind; we have also been sympathetic to the environment.”

    Thought to be a first in football, it was also revealed that the requirements of the academy have been combined with environmental and bio-diversity plan to encourage wildlife habitat creation and sustainability through the introduction of woodland, meadowland and new wetlands in an area which has for many years been subject to intensive agricultural farming.

    An oak tree was planted by Dr David Bellamy as a symbol of his backing for the scheme and he said; “I think this is one of the best examples of combining the needs of the environment and sport I have seen in 35 years.

    “What the club has proposed means we will see more diverse wildlife attracted to the area as a result of the extensive tree planting, re-introduction of hedgerows and the establishment of the magnesian limestone grassland, which is native to this part of the country. New wetlands will also ensure natural resources are not wasted and the environment is sustainable.

    Bob Murray added: “We are committed to developing an academy which not only benefits the football club but also the environment. Our proposals have been endorsed by the Great North Forest, Durham Bio-Diversity Action Plan as well as being backed by Durham Wildlife Trust and Northumbrian Water. Getting the thumbs up from Dr David Bellamy, a recognised authority on environmental issues the world over is another significant boost.”

     

    Print Ready Version