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2013

January 2013

  1. Sir Bob Murray Kickz Pic 1 (4)

    Sir Bob chats to nebusiness and visits youth project in Derwentside

    Sir Bob met up with Peter Jackson to chat about old times and do a profile piece for neBusiness and The Journal when he was in the north east.   View Article Page 1 View…

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    Sir Bob met up with Peter Jackson to chat about old times and do a profile piece for neBusiness and The Journal when he was in the north east.

     

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    Later in the day he visited Derwentside to see at first-hand the impact of a youth project in Consett, Co. Durham.
    Sir Bob, who is the founder and Chair of Trustees for the Foundation of Light praised the work of the family learning and Kickz programme, which was launched in Consett and Stanley last year.

    The programme provides a range of sport related activities for 13 to 19-year-olds and has achieved impressive results in the region.
    It was expanded to Derwentside following a new partnership between Derwentside Homes and the Foundation of Light.
    The award-winning Kickz programme uses the power of football to engage with young people in local communities and aims is to reduce anti-social behaviour,
    teach youngsters valuable skills and increase their confidence.

    The Foundation has also rolled out its successful Family Learning programme in Derwentside, which offers first steps learning to parents and carers, as well as adult learning courses and qualifications.

    Since it was launched in April 2012, over 1,780 youngsters have participated in the Kickz evening, holiday and daytime sessions in schools across the District. Police have also reported that since May 2012, crime has reduced by 72% in the Consett town centre area.

    Over 40 local families have engaged in Family Learning courses in Derwentside since September 2012 and of those, 27 families have fully completed the courses.

    Sir Bob said: “It’s fantastic to see the positive impact that the Foundation is already having in the Derwentside area.”

    “One of the Foundation’s aims is to give people the opportunity to change their lives for the better and the support of organisations such as Derwentside Homes really make this possible by helping us into the heart of communities.”

    “I always believe that a huge amount of credit should go to those who take part in the programmes and are willing to give new things a go. It was a real pleasure meeting some of those people today and they are a real inspiration to all of us at the Foundation of Light.”

    Derwentside Homes’ chief executive Geraldine Wilcox said: “It was really generous of Sir Bob to come and visit the project and meet the youngsters and families that benefit from these activities. He is an ambassador for the North East and an inspiration to young people.

    “Since it was launched, the programme has grown from strength to strength and results demonstrate that through effective partnership working, we can make a difference to the lives of people who live in our communities.

    “Young people are the future so it important that we show our commitment by investing in services for them which will have a long lasting impact on a future generation.”

    Kickz sessions take place weekly at Derwentside College and The Chill In in Consett and Stanley Youth Centre and St. Stephen’s Church in Stanley.

    For more information about the Foundation of Light click here http://www.safc.com/foundation-of-light

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  1. leeds_chanceller_300x125

    Sir Bob installed as Chancellor at Leeds Metropolitan

    Sir Bob was installed as Leeds Metropolitan University’s new Chancellor during an official ceremony in the university’s Great Hall on Monday 28th January. The formal occasion began with 100 representatives from across the university leading…

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    Sir Bob was installed as Leeds Metropolitan University’s new Chancellor during an official ceremony in the university’s Great Hall on Monday 28th January.

    The formal occasion began with 100 representatives from across the university leading a procession, followed by a showcase of student work, including music and dance performances.

    Vice Chancellor Professor Susan Price welcomed guests while Jenny Share, Secretary and Registrar, gave a citation detailing Sir Bob’s achievements to date. Following his installation, the Lord Mayor of Leeds offered Sir Bob a civic welcome.

    The university announced Bob was to be their new figurehead in October last year. As an alumnus of Leeds Met, his links with the university date back to 1969 when he moved to Yorkshire to study accountancy part-time at the university’s predecessor institution, Leeds Polytechnic. Some years later, in 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in business administration by Leeds Metropolitan for his contribution to business and sport.

    Speaking during the Inauguration ceremony Sir Bob said: “I’m both astonished and thrilled to be here today. I feel very privileged to be invited to be Chancellor of this esteemed institution and I would like to thank the University for granting me this unique position.

    “I’ve strived to achieve many goals in my life, but I would never have dreamt that being Chancellor of a major University, with 30,000 students and staff, would become one of them!”
    Talking about his own education he said: “If you had read my school reports, I am not sure I would be standing here today! The fact is I failed at School. In part due to a childhood setback, but also a modest work ethic! I believe my personal story to be apt though, as it demonstrates the power of education.
    “I was born just after the war in the baby boom of 1946. When I left school in 1961 there were twice as many school leavers seeking employment as there were jobs. As there was no prospect of me joining the local steelworks where my dad worked, I was unemployed for a year. That experience was the hardest but also the most important of my life. It had a profound effect and changed my life.”

    “It gave me a lifelong driving ambition to succeed and I finally woke up and understood the importance of education.” “I am especially thrilled to be taking on this role in Leeds. I came to Yorkshire in 1969 for 2 years to advance my career. That was 44 years ago! Yorkshire is now my adopted home and I have spent my entire business career here.

    Reflecting on his business career he added, “Throughout my career I’ve always been passionate about building things. I’m inspired by creating businesses, developing major projects and forming relationships. I never do things alone, always choosing to work in partnership with great people. I believe in approaching everything I do with sincerity and integrity.”

    “I hope my experience in business and lifelong focus on education will give me the necessary qualities to support the university, its outstanding staff and the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs and professionals to achieve their ambitions and aspirations.”

    Inauguration Invitation

    Leeds Metropolitan University  

    •     Leeds Metropolitan University has over 27,000 students and around 2,800 staff.

    •     The Vice Chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University is Professor Susan Price and the Chair of the Board is Lord Woolmer of Leeds.

    •      Leeds Metropolitan’s four faculties are: Arts, Environment and Technology, Business & Law, Health and Social Sciences, and Carnegie.

    •      Leeds Metropolitan’s heritage can be traced back to the founding of the Mechanics Institute in Leeds in 1824.

    •      The Destination of Leavers in Higher Education (DLHE) showed that the proportion of Leeds Metropolitan 2010/11 graduates in work, further study or both six months after leaving university was 91.87%.

    •      Libraries and Learning Innovation at Leeds Metropolitan was awarded the CSE standard for the tenth year running in 2012.

    •      In 2012, Leeds Metropolitan was awarded a ‘First’ in the People & Planet Green League, a league table of environmentally friendly universities, for the sixth consecutive year.

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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…

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    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.

     

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2006
  1. 2006

    Sir Bob steps down

    In 2004, Bob decided it was time to consider the long term future of the club he loved and started a meticulous search to find a new owner. He believed that protecting the heritage of…

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    In 2004, Bob decided it was time to consider the long term future of the club he loved and started a meticulous search to find a new owner. He believed that protecting the heritage of the club and ensuring that its philosophy, values and character were not lost was a huge personal responsibility. He knew it was not a case of finding just any new owner; he had to find the right new owner who would care as much about Sunderland in the future as he and its fans did.

    Early in the sales process Niall Quinn contacted Bob and expressed an interest in investing in the club. At the time Bob responded positively by telling Niall that he needed “to own the club, not just invest in it” and urged him to go and find investors.

    The process to sell the football club proved not to be an easy one and a number of approaches from the wrong type of investor had to be rebuffed. In early 2005, the Sunderland Board decided to widen the net by appointing a leading international sports finance firm based in New York to help. All the Board were actively involved in searching for the right new owner and made several secret visits to New York to meet potential buyers including representatives of the Kraft family.

    By the end of 2005 the sale of the club to a new American owner was in the advanced stages of due diligence when Niall Quinn finally returned to say he had put together a consortium of Irish investors (Drumaville). Bob was in the midst of negotiating the transfer to Niall Quinn when he stepped down as Chairman in June 2006.

    Bob ultimately sold the club at a much reduced valuation of just £5.7m to Quinn and said: “The club was the only thing that mattered. I’d dedicated a big part of my life to Sunderland but it was time for me to take a back seat and let someone else take up the reins.

    “Unlike many clubs, Sunderland was not leveraged in anyway and there was no debt other than the working overdraft. The stadium and academy had been built and paid for. It was a turn-key operation for a new owner so there was a great platform in place for someone else to build on.

    “The most important thing for me was protecting the history and legacy of the club. I felt a huge sense of responsibility passing the club on to the right hands, not just any hands.”

    It was to be a historic year in football terms and the end of era for Bob as he became the Premiership’s longest-serving Chairman, stepped down as Chairman of SAFC after 22 years, finally sold the club to Niall Quinn and his Drumaville consortium and was later appointed Honorary Life President.

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2002
  1. Sir Bob at Wembley

    Bob joins Wembley Board/Awarded CBE

      In early 2002 during his time as Chairman of Sunderland AFC, Bob was asked by the Government to join the Board of Wembley, the body governing the build of the new Wembley Stadium. At…

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    Sir Bob at Wembley

    In early 2002 during his time as Chairman of Sunderland AFC, Bob was asked by the Government to join the Board of Wembley, the body governing the build of the new Wembley Stadium. At the time the project had stalled and had no contractor or finance in place.

    Bob was invited to join the Board because of his extensive experience in property development and building world class stadia in addition to his football background. Wembley is now regarded as one of the best sporting stadiums in the world.

    Bob was also awarded the CBE for his extensive work in the North East community in 2002.

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1999

December 1999

  1. Sunderland revenge away day blues

    It had been a hard opening to the season for Sunderland losing 4-0 away at Stamford Bridge but it was almost worth the away day defeat to be 4-0 up against Gianluca Vialli’s side by…

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    It had been a hard opening to the season for Sunderland losing 4-0 away at Stamford Bridge but it was almost worth the away day defeat to be 4-0 up against Gianluca Vialli’s side by half time at home in the December.

     

    The game started an hour late due to an electrical fault in the surrounding area – luckily the official with the key for the sub-station nearest the stadium was actually inside for the game!

     

    “We were unstoppable that day as Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn scored two goals apiece in the first 45 minutes. The game finished 4-1 but it was an awesome display from Sunderland and the atmosphere inside the stadium was ironically electric!”

     

    Quinn scored his 6th goal of the season in the first minute before Phillips scored a brace and Quinn completed his double. Poyet scored a consolation goal for the visitors but it was Sunderland’s day.

     

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1997

July 1997

  1. Stadium of Light main stand

    Stadium of Light opens

      The Stadium of Light opened to wide-acclaim on 31st July with a sell-out friendly match against Ajax of Amsterdam and a show-stopping party. Hundreds of local school children and budding pop stars took part…

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    The Stadium of Light opened to wide-acclaim on 31st July with a sell-out friendly match against Ajax of Amsterdam and a show-stopping party. Hundreds of local school children and budding pop stars took part in the celebrations as well as legendary rockers Status Quo who landed on the pitch by helicopter to kick off the party

    Stadium of Light main stand

    The match was a typical pre-season friendly affair and finished Sunderland 0-0 Ajax.

    The stadium initially opened with a capacity of 42,000 (the North Stand was later extended to increase the capacity to 49,000 in 2000) although as Bob ruefully remembers due to a re-numbering blunder by a contractor 24 hours before the stadium opened there were unexpected ticket issues on the night, “It was a big day at the end of a journey

    that had started in 1990 and there was always going to be lots to do at the last minute and teething problems to deal with. It was a frantic day and we were rushing around until we finally got the safety certificate with just hours to go and when I finally went to take my seat there was already someone in it! He was very good humoured though and we both had a laugh about it!”

    Kevin Phillips

    The first league match at the stadium was against Manchester City in The Championship. “That fact always makes me smile too. We spoke to a well-respected sports psychologist during the design and build of the stadium and she strongly advised us against using the colour red in any of the dressing rooms. Unsurprisingly, we ignored her advice for the home dressing room. Her recommendation for the away dressing room was to use blue and yellow as they are more subdued colours. I think Manchester City felt quite at home although they didn’t get a win that day!”

    The first season at the Stadium of Light was a roller coaster one that ended with Kevin Philips winning the European Golden Boot after scoring 33 goals and Sunderland finishing in 3rd place, just being pipped to automatic promotion by Middlesbrough. Sunderland beat Sheffield United over two legs to proceed to the 1998 Play Off final against Charlton at Wembley which they ultimately lost on penalties after a thrilling 4-4 draw after extra time.

    Extended Stadium of Light

    “The Sheffield United play off tie at the Stadium of Light is still one of my top memories at the Stadium of Light. It sticks in my mind because the noise and the atmosphere generated that night was absolutely electric.”

     

     

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May 1997

  1. ROKER PARK - HOMES OF FOOTBALL

    Farewell to Roker Park

    After 99 years the final whistle blew on Roker Park in May 1997. The last ever league game was an emotionally charged affair against Everton on 3rd May, which Sunderland won 3-0. It was the…

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    After 99 years the final whistle blew on Roker Park in May 1997. The last ever league game was an emotionally charged affair against Everton on 3rd May, which Sunderland won 3-0. It was the end of era in typical Sunderland style though and the team still needed to win the final away game of the season against Wimbledon to guarantee safety but lost 1-0. 

    The Farewell to Roker Park match, the final ceremonial game against Liverpool, was played in front of a 22,000 full house on 13th May against the backdrop of relegation to The Championship.  “It was emotional leaving Roker Park as I started going to matches with my dad in 1956 but I knew in my heart that Roker was the past and the Stadium of Light was the future,” said Bob.

    ” It was difficult for everyone to lift themselves after the Wimbledon match and travel back to Sunderland for the final ever match at Roker. The season had started with such excitement and optimism for the future. We were moving to a new stadium but were in the wrong division, which was a huge blow but we knew we had to close the chapter on Roker Park after 99 years in style.” 

     

     

    Roker Park gallery

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1984
  1. Sir Tom Cowie with Len Ashurst

    Bob joins SAFC Board

    Bob regularly returned to his native north east to go to Sunderland matches and had read about bitter Board room in-fighting. In 1983 with the club seemingly going backwards he finally resolved to contact the…

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    Sir Tom Cowie with Len Ashurst

    Bob regularly returned to his native north east to go to Sunderland matches and had read about bitter Board room in-fighting. In 1983 with the club seemingly going backwards he finally resolved to contact the Chairman to introduce himself and offer to help the club he loved. At the time, he had no thoughts or aspirations of joining the Board.

    Sir Tom Cowie and Bob finally met up during the 1983/4 season at Roker Park and Cowie invited him to come to a few games that season. “I remember if the result was a good one I also got invited into the board room after the match!” said Bob.

    With the power battle raging in the board room Sir Tom Cowie approached Bob again in June 1984 and asked him to join the Sunderland Board. Cowie sold him 5% of his shares and asked him to sign a personal bank guarantee for £50,000 to show his commitment.

    By the end of the 1984/1985 season Bob had been witness to more fierce board room conflict, had seen the team go to the milk cup final at Wembley and lose to Norwich courtesy of a bizarre own goal, watched the team free fall into the Second Division and had been delegated the job of sacking the Manager Len Ashurst.

    “As a memory goes it’s a strange one for me. I can vividly recall Len scoring a wonder goal as a fan. I remember being in line with him when he struck the ball from the Clock Stand to the Fulwell End to score against Newcastle. The next thing I knew I was being given the job of sacking him! I’m glad to say we’re still good friends today.”

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1978
  1. Spring Ram, the company Sir Bob co-founded in 1978

    Spring Ram is founded

      In 1978 Bob co-founded the legendary Spring Ram, one of the darlings of the Stock Exchange in the 1980’s. Initially based in an old mill in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, the company targeted the…

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    Spring Ram, the company Sir Bob co-founded in 1978

    In 1978 Bob co-founded the legendary Spring Ram, one of the darlings of the Stock Exchange in the 1980’s. Initially based in an old mill in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, the company targeted the evolving home improvement, kitchen and bathrooms market.

    The company was floated in April 1983 with a market capitalisation of £10 million. At the end of the first day’s trading Spring Ram was valued at £16 million.

    By 1989 the company, which had also moved into property had over 3 million square feet of freehold factory, production and warehouse space, 2,000 employees and profits in the region of £25 million a year with cash deposits of over £50 million.

    In 1989 Bob Murray resigned and within two years had founded a new company, Omega PLC. Omega is a brand leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of high quality fitted branded kitchen furniture, which it supplies via independent kitchen specialist outlets across the United Kingdom.

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