Terrible tragedies in football signalled a great change in football following Bradford, Heysel and Hillsborough. The requirement of the Taylor Report for all seater-stadia in England meant that Sunderland would need to re-develop or move to a new stadium.
With only 7,000 seats, a total ground capacity of just 22,657 and limited commercial facilities Bob also recognised that Sunderland could not sustain a top flight team and compete at the highest level in the future. It was not feasible to re-develop Roker Park into a world class stadium and Bob realised he would have to find the funding and build a new stadium.
Bob said “Back in those days, the turnover at Roker Park was only a couple of million pounds, not a great platform to build a world class stadium. We had to find a way to fund stadium (that eventually cost £22m) and ultimately floating the club on the stock market in 1996 made that possible. “
A new stadium was vital for the long term future of the club because, “without a world class stage you can’t attract world class stars, whether that’s players or managers.”