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2016

May 2016

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    Backing Sunderland 2021 Bid

     Sir Bob Murray has accepted an invitation to become an Ambassador for Sunderland’s ambitious bid to become City of Culture in 2021. “I was born into the fourth generation of a Sunderland mining family and…

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     Sir Bob Murray has accepted an invitation to become an Ambassador for Sunderland’s ambitious bid to become City of Culture in 2021.

    “I was born into the fourth generation of a Sunderland mining family and have always been hugely proud of my personal heritage, and that of my city.

    “Sunderland people are special – passionate and generous. I saw the passion first hand during my time as Chairman of Sunderland Football Club, and continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of Wearsiders in my role as Chairman of Trustees at the Foundation of Light, the charity arm of SAFC.

    “I firmly believe a successful City of Culture bid would have a transformative effect on Sunderland. And it wouldn’t just act as a catalyst for the city’s growing cultural sector. The investment and higher profile would undoubtedly lead to jobs and greater opportunities for Wearsiders. I also believe that a successful bid would help encourage our young people to stay here, rather than look elsewhere to build their lives and futures.

    “One thing I learned through my team at the club and at the Foundation, is that Sunderland is about true partnerships. It can act as one coherent, determined body as the city did during the 2018 World Cup bid. This strength means that the whole city, from the council to businesses large and small, to everyone living and working on Wearside will pull together to back this bid.

    “I can think of no more worthy recipient of the title City of Culture 2021 than Sunderland.”

    Find out more or get involved http://www.sunderland2021.com /

    #SUNDERLAND2021

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2014

November 2014

  1. Using the power of football to inspire, educate and motivate.

    Thousands raised for Foundation

      Sir Bob hosted an exclusive gourmet dinner at the Stadium of Light which raised more than £25,000 for the Foundation of Light in November. Established in 2001 by Sir Bob, the Foundation of Light…

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    Using the power of football to inspire, educate and motivate.

    Sir Bob hosted an exclusive gourmet dinner at the Stadium of Light which raised more than £25,000 for the Foundation of Light in November.

    Established in 2001 by Sir Bob, the Foundation of Light is the registered charity of Sunderland AFC and uses the power of football to educate, inspire and motivate young people and their families. It is the largest football charity in the UK.

    Key supporters and trustees were welcomed to the Stadium of Light by Sir Bob for the fundraising event. Guests from the world of sport and entertainment included journalist Kate Adie OBE, architect and television presenter George Clarke, cricketer Paul Collingwood MBE, award-winning lyricist Sir Tim Rice as well as Olympian and television presenter Steve Cram MBE.

    Sir Bob said: “It’s always a pleasure to return to the Stadium of Light and this event was no exception. It was a special evening and also that raised a lot of money to support the Foundation’s life-changing work in the North East.

    “The evening was a tremendous success and I am extremely grateful to all of our supporters and Trustees for their continued support of the Foundation, a charity which is leading the way in its field and making a huge difference to the region.”

    Prizes on the night included VIP tickets to The Lion King in London’s West End, lunch at the House of Lords, a framed football shirt signed by Brazil legend Pele and a behind –the-scenes tour of St George’s Park, the FA’s National Football Centre.

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March 2014

  1. Sir Bob at Wembley before the Capital One Cup Final

    Sir Bob’s Cup Final Review

        “It was fantastic to be a Sunderland supporter at Wembley. I felt really proud of the team and how they played and of the fans. The atmosphere was electric and you could see…

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    Sir Bob at Wembley before the Capital One Cup Final

     

    “It was fantastic to be a Sunderland supporter at Wembley. I felt really proud of the team and how they played and of the fans. The atmosphere was electric and you could see what it meant to every SAFC fan to be there. Everyone around me said they’d never heard a roar like it when Sunderland scored.

    “ I thought Gus got it right too in terms of selection, subs and tactics. It was a big occasion and he and the team did us all proud.

    “I’ve always really loved Manchester City as a club. They are a big community club like Sunderland and the fans have backed their club in good and bad times, despite living in the shadow of Manchester United for many years.

    “They know what it’s like to have ups and downs and not so long ago had to endure lower divisions. But, I don’t think we were beaten by that Manchester City on Sunday, the thing that separated us was money.

    “I really hope all the players and the fans can take all the pride and positives from the game and it lifts everyone for the rest of the season.”

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February 2014

  1. Sir Bob’s Cup Final Countdown

      Sir Bob chatted to The Journal’s sports writer Stuart Rayner about the highs and lows of being a Sunderland supporter and reflected on Sunderland’s history at Wembley. Click the links below to read the…

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    Sir Bob at Wembley

    Sir Bob chatted to The Journal’s sports writer Stuart Rayner about the highs and lows of being a Sunderland supporter and reflected on Sunderland’s history at Wembley.

    Click the links below to read the article.

    The Ballad of the Black Cats and Wembley finals 1

    The Ballad of the Black Cats and Wembley finals 2

     

     

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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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1997

July 1997

  1. SAFC Crest

    New club crest revealed

    Over the years Sunderland AFC has sported at least 7 different badges or crests and the move to the new stadium in July 1997 coincided with the latest version being revealed. cheap nfl jerseys,cheap jerseys,wholesale…

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    Over the years Sunderland AFC has sported at least 7 different badges or crests and the move to the new stadium in July 1997 coincided with the latest version being revealed.

    Bob was keen that a distinctive new crest be launched to coincide with the start life of life in the stadium and hoped that a fresh, modern image would help the club open an exciting new chapter in its history.

    Bob said: “The previous badge had been is use for about 30 years but was regarded as outdated by some and the depiction of a sinking ship which had become the norm to mock the club was disliked by many. I thought the time was right to make a change and update the image of the club. It was never going to be popular with everyone but I think it was the right thing to do.”

    The brief for the design was to draw its visual inspiration from across the region and the heartlands of Sunderland support.

    The crest includes a central shield divided into quarters and featuring unmistakable regional landmarks. The Wearmouth Bridge, is featured in the bottom right of the shield while Penshaw Monument in the top left, is included to acknowledge the depth of support for the team outside the City boundaries. The remaining quarters proudly boast the internationally recognised red and white stripes of Sunderland AFC.

    Supporting either side of the crest are a pair of lions which also feature on the City of Sunderland’s coat of arms – a reference to the long tradition of mutual support between two great institutions.

    A colliery wheel crowns the crest to honour the strong mining traditions of the region and acts as a reminder that the Stadium of Light lies on land which was once the largest mine in Sunderland and one of the most important in County Durham, Monkwearmouth Colliery.

    Entwined with the colliery wheel is the club motto, “Consectatio Excellentiae” – “In pursuit of excellence”, a fitting inspiration to the team and its supporters.

     

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1996

December 1996

  1. Bob Murray and John Fickling launch share price

    Sunderland floats on London Stock Exchange

    Sunderland AFC was one of the first UK clubs’ to float on the London Stock Exchange in December 1996. The flotation raised £12m of new money for the club, which was completely ring-fenced for the…

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    Bob Murray and John Fickling launch share price

    Sunderland AFC was one of the first UK clubs’ to float on the London Stock Exchange in December 1996. The flotation raised £12m of new money for the club, which was completely ring-fenced for the Stadium of Light. Bob also personally delivered a 7-figure cash injection to demonstrate his desire and commitment to see the project through.

    Bob decided to float the Premiership club to raise the much needed capital to fund the building of the new stadium and to widen share ownership. Following the flotation and the issue of new shares Bob’s controlling interest in Sunderland AFC reduced from 80% to 50%.

    Sunderland PLC Board (David Chance, Sir Bob Murray, Bryan Sanderson, Sir Richard Storey, John Fickling)

    Unlike other football flotations’ at the time, such as that of near neighbours Newcastle United, the issue of new shares diluted Bob’s stake in the club and he did not sell any of his own shares to profit from the float.

    Following the flotation Bob appointed an eminent board of non-executive directors to promote corporate governance and challenge the club including the former Managing Director of BP Bryan Sanderson CBE, the former CEO of BSkyB David Chance and Sir Richard Storey CBE former Chairman of Portsmouth and Sunderland Newspapers.

     

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1985
  1. Lawrie McMenemy and Sir Tom Cowie

    SAFC appoint Lawrie McMenemy

      “There are two things that should never have left Southampton, one was the Titanic and the other was McMenemy! When he [McMenemy] said he’d take the club out of the second division he succeeded,…

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    Lawrie McMenemy and Sir Tom Cowie

    “There are two things that should never have left Southampton, one was the Titanic and the other was McMenemy! When he [McMenemy] said he’d take the club out of the second division he succeeded, but in the wrong direction!”

    Big Mac’s appointment at Sunderland was big news and considered a major coup for the Chairman Sir Tom Cowie. However, he had gifted McMenemy a lucrative deal, probably the biggest in football at the time, and one that the club simply could not afford. Sadly, the euphoria that greeted McMenemy’s appointment was to be short lived.

    Despite having dropped a division, signing a host of experienced players and appointing a famous manager on a huge deal, the club faced a relegation battle for the sixth consecutive season and needed to win their final home match of the season against Stoke. The team won 2-0 and relief sent the home crowd wild and they demanded a lap of honour from the team and Manager!

    With the club’s overdraft rocketing, disastrous form on the pitch and a Manager that the club couldn’t afford to sack, Bob received an unexpected call from Cowie in August 1986 just days before the start of the season.

    “It wasn’t a call you could easily forget. Cowie told me he wanted out that day and I could have all his shares for £460,000. It was a now or never deal – he said you can buy them today but this is a one-time offer.”

    “I was deeply worried about the club and had seen Middlesbrough put into receivership by The Midland, the same bank we had. I thought with my experience and after 2 years on the Board I could do a good job and turn things around, so said yes!”

    Twenty four hours later Bob found himself owning a 46% stake in the club he loved and with the backing of the Sunderland Echo, that sold him their 5% stake for a golden guinea in a later show of support, he took control with 51% and became the majority shareholder and Chairman of Sunderland AFC.

    His first day in charge was a baptism of fire for the new Chairman when Cowie’s bankers [The Midland] immediately threatened to put the club into Receivership as it was 3 times over its OD limit. Bob was forced to personally guarantee the club’s overdraft and immediately inject a 7 figure sum to repay the excess borrowings.

     

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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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1954
  1. Roker Park

    First Love

      It was in 1954 that Bob’s love affair with Sunderland AFC began, when at the tender age of eight his father took him to the Clock Stand at Roker Park for the first time…

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    Roker Park

    It was in 1954 that Bob’s love affair with Sunderland AFC began, when at the tender age of eight his father took him to the Clock Stand at Roker Park for the first time to see Sunderland play the team of the day Wolverhampton Wanderers. Little did his father realise that his boy would knock the stadium down one day.

    The score was 0-0 on the day and there were 46,463 at Roker Park to see the match. He recalls, “In those days there was no segregation of home and away fans and the Roker Roar was immense. I thought we’d won my first match and my dad never put me right!” He has been an avid supporter ever since.

    It is interesting that he regards his lifelong passion as his greatest business challenge“because where I come from a job is a job, but football is life.”

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