Sunderland floats on London Stock Exchange

December 13th, 1996

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.