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2004
  1. Football Foundation

    Invitation to join the Football Foundation Board

      Bob was invited by the Premier League to sit on the Board of the Football Foundation in 2004. The Board had a budget of approximately £40m per year to invest in football stadia and…

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    Football Foundation

    Bob was invited by the Premier League to sit on the Board of the Football Foundation in 2004. The Board had a budget of approximately £40m per year to invest in football stadia and the scheme was inclusive to all clubs throughout the country.

    The scheme was introduced at a time when many clubs outside of the Premier League were still catching up with the Taylor Report and lots of stands were being closed down in need of modernisation. During Bob’s time on the Board it awarded approximately £100m to clubs throughout the country.

    In the same year Sunderland PLC de-listed from the London Stock Exchange. Bob later sold the club to Niall Quinn and his Irish consortium (Drumaville) for £5.7m in 2006.

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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…

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    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.

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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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2001
  1. Foundation of Light mission

    SAFC Foundation founded

    There is a constant theme that runs through Bob’s life and that is his desire to create a legacy that enables the less fortunate in society to fulfil their potential and lead happy and constructive…

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    Foundation of Light mission

    There is a constant theme that runs through Bob’s life and that is his desire to create a legacy that enables the less fortunate in society to fulfil their potential and lead happy and constructive lives. The Foundation of Light, a registered charity, is an acclaimed example of this.

    When Bob became Chairman of Sunderland in 1986 one of his ambitions was to develop his vision for a true community based football club. His strong views on over-coming social exclusion led to the establishment of the nationally renowned Foundation of Light, which is now the biggest and best football charity in the UK.

    The Foundation’s mission is simple; to use the power of football to involve, educate and inspire more than 42,000 young people and their families across the North East each year through a broad range of innovative and award-winning programmes that can help change lives. It is the kind of scheme which might have helped an unemployed school leaver such as Bob, had it been around in the early 1960’s.

    The Foundation began in 1988 when the club took part in the successful pilot scheme ‘Community Programme in Professional Football’. The results of this pilot were instrumental in the Football Trust’s decision in the early 1990’s to invest nationally in Football in the Community schemes, with which Sunderland were involved from the outset.

    By the time the Club moved from Roker Park to the Stadium of Light, a far-reaching community programme had already been developed, but the new stadium proved to be the real catalyst for the Foundation, which has gone from strength to strength during the past ten years.

    The completion of the inspirational Centre of Light in 2004 provided a brand-new educational facility within the Stadium of Light, comprising five state-of-the-art classrooms and a football development area.

    Under Bob’s guidance, 100 full time staff, part timers and volunteers, now go daily into the community, teaching youngsters good habits about sporting behaviour, fitness and health awareness, whilst having fun and playing football. Tens of thousands of children and their teachers are also welcomed to the Foundation’s own education department for specially designed activities, which enable children to learn through football in line with National Curriculum requirements.

    Bob still has a strong vision for the future of the Foundation: “I fervently believe the Foundation of Light is best of its kind in the country and is run by the best people. It has to be good because the region both needs and deserves the best.

    “The Foundation’s 10th Anniversary was a significant milestone but is just the beginning. I’m focussed on exploring what we can achieve in the next decade and the difference the Foundation can make to the lives of young people in the region and beyond.”

    The Foundation is proud to have an active Royal Patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex, and the trustees who all have strong Sunderland connections are Kate Adie OBE, Steve Cram MBE, Lord Puttnam of Queensgate, Baroness Estelle Morris, Ellis Short, Sir Tim Rice, the Rt. Hon. James Ramsbotham DL, Paul Collingwood MBE, Sir Peter Vardy and Sir Bob Murray CBE himself who remains Chair of Trustees.

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  1. Bob Murray outside the Murray Library

    University names Murray Library

    In November 2001 the University of Sunderland named its largest campus library in honour of Bob in recognition of his “loyal and continuing support for the University over many years, including his backing for its…

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    Bob Murray outside the Murray Library

    In November 2001 the University of Sunderland named its largest campus library in honour of Bob in recognition of his “loyal and continuing support for the University over many years, including his backing for its pioneering work in extending educational opportunities to all those who can benefit from them, regardless of background”.

    The flagship City Centre Campus library was named The Murray Library during a ceremony attended by the University Chancellor, Lord Putnam. Bob was previously honoured by the University in 1997, when he received an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration for his contribution to football and Sunderland’s business life.

    Commenting at the naming ceremony Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Fidler said: “Bob has a strong personal commitment to social inclusion, which is reflected in Sunderland AFC’s outstanding programme to promote sport, education and good citizenship in the community – the best of its type in the Premiership. It is particularly appropriate that his name will be associated with an innovative University service that is at the forefront of widening public access to information and learning.”

    Bob said: “The University of Sunderland makes an enormous contribution to education, the city and the region. It is open, accessible and inclusive and these are characteristics of significant social and civic value.

    “As Chairman of SAFC I was always very proud of the partnership between the club and University, which I know is still as strong today. Given my own passion for the power of education to inspire, motivate and change lives I felt very honoured that the University chose to name the library after me.”

    Sir Bob Murray and Lord David Puttnam

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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…

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    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.”

     

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