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Sir Robert Sydney Murray(born 3 August 1946) is a businessman and former chairman of Sunderland AFC. An accountant by trade, he made his fortune through the growth and sale of the Spring Ram kitchen manufacturing company.
Murray was born in Consett, County Durham. He became chairman of Sunderland AFC in 1986, replacing the motor magnate Sir Tom Cowie.
Murray's first season as chairman ended with the dismissal of manager Lawrie McMenemy and the club's relegation to the Third Division for the first time in their history. A revival saw Sunderland reach the First Division in 1990, only to be relegated after one season. They did not return to the top division until 1996, though they did reach the FA Cup final in 1992 and lost 2-0 to Liverpool.
By 1991, Murray was investigating the possibility of building a new stadium for Sunderland to replace the aging Roker Park; after plans to build a stadium near the Nissan car factory failed, he turned his attention to the former Monkwearmouth colliery site on the banks of the River Wear, which became available with the colliery's closure in December 1993. His funds went towards the new Stadium of Light, which opened on the Monkwearmouth colliery site in July 1997 with an all-seater capacity of more than 42,000 (which within a few years was increased to more than 48,000).
In seasons 1999/2000 and 2000/01 Sunderland finished seventh in the Premiership but Murray became unpopular when Sunderland were relegated in 2003 with a then record low of 19 points as well as debts of nearly £30 million. Promotion was gained two years later but Murray was criticised again as Sunderland endured a poor season back in the Premiership.
Sunderland had progressed well during the final 11 seasons of Murray's ownership. They never finished below third place in the league's second tier; whereas the club had finished below this position 7 times in Murray's first 9 seasons as chairman.
Murray had stated that he was willing to sell his shares in the club if an investor demonstrated a willingness to invest considerable money in the club - not simply purchase his shares. In 2006 former player Niall Quinn made an offer for the club, backed by a consortium of Irish businessmen. In order to for this to proceed Murray resigned as chairman, enabling the Drumaville Consortium takeover to occur, although he remained on the board in the interim.
At a press conference on 28 June 2006 he confirmed that the club would be sold to Quinn's consortium for £10 million.Murray received £5.7 million of the total, although he has stated that the extensive negotiations were in order to ensure the bid was in the interests of the club and not, as speculated by the press, for his own financial gain. This assertion was supported by the relatively low price at which he allowed his controlling stake to be bought. On 3 July 2006 the Drumaville Consortium bid was officially confirmed and the offer of £10 million accepted, with Quinn having the unusual dual role of club Chairman and Acting Manager. Murray was appointed as the club's Life President by the new owners.
He was knighted in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours List.
In October 2012, Sir Bob was announced as the new chancellor of Leeds Beckett University.
Sunderland Association Football Club is an English professional football club based in the city of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear. Sunderland plays in League One, the third tier of English football. Since its formation in 1879, the club has won six top-flight titles, a total only bettered by five other clubs, and has finished runners-up five times. The club has also won the FA Cup twice and been runners-up twice, as well as winning the FA Charity Shield in 1936 and being finalists the following year. Sunderland have also been Football League Cup finalists in 1985 and 2014.
The Stadium of Light is an all-seater football stadium in Sunderland, England and the eighth and current home to Sunderland A.F.C. With space for 49,000 spectators, the Stadium of Light is the ninth largest stadium in England. The stadium primarily hosts Sunderland A.F.C. home matches. The stadium was named by chairman Bob Murray to reflect the coal mining heritage of the North East and the former Monkwearmouth Colliery site on which it stands. A Davy lamp monument stands at the entrance to reflect the coal mining industry that brought prosperity to the town.
AFC Bournemouth is a professional association football club based in Kings Park, Boscombe, a suburb of Bournemouth, Dorset, England. The team compete in the Championship, the second tier of the English football league system. Formed in 1899 as Boscombe, the club adopted their current name in 1971. Nicknamed "The Cherries", Bournemouth have played their home games at Dean Court since 1910.
Niall John Quinn is an Irish former professional footballer and businessman, and the ex-chairman of Sunderland. Quinn continued as Sunderland's director responsible for international development until he stepped down in February 2012. He played club football for English Premier League teams Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Quinn also received 92 caps for the Republic of Ireland national football team, scoring 21 times, which makes him Ireland's second highest goalscorer of all time. He also appeared with the Irish team at the UEFA European Football Championship of 1988 and two FIFA World Cups in 1990 and 2002.
The 2003–04 season was the 124th season of association football in England.
The 2002–03 season was the 123rd season of competitive football in England.
The 2004–05 season was the 125th season of competitive football in England.
Roker Park was an English football stadium situated in Roker, Sunderland. The stadium was the seventh home of the English football club Sunderland A.F.C. from 1898 to 1997 before the club moved to the Stadium of Light. Near the end of the stadium's history, its capacity was around 22,500 with only a small part of the stadium being seated. The stadium's capacity had been higher in previous years, attracting a record crowd of 75,118.
The 2000–01 season was the 121st season of competitive football in England.
1840s – 1850s – 1860s – 1870s – 1880s – 1890s – 1900s – 1910s – 1920s – 1930s – 1940s – 1950s – 1960s – 1970s – 1980s – 1990s – 2000s – 2010s
Seaham Red Star Football Club is a football club based in Seaham, England. They joined the Wearside League in 1979 as Seaham Colliery Welfare Red Star. In the 1978–79 season, they reached the 5th round of the FA Vase. In 1984, they changed to their present name. For the 2014–15 season, they are members of Northern League Division Two. Seaham were confirmed second division champions on 28 March 2015 and will return to Division One for the 2015–16 season. The Club has a focus on producing local players and providing a platform for talented local players to play Northern League football.
Sunderland Association Football Club are an English association football club based in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear. They were formed in 1879, and played several years in the FA Cup and local cup competitions before joining the Football League in the 1890–91 season in place of Stoke. They played in the top league in England until the 1957–58, season when they were relegated into the Second Division. Sunderland are England's sixth most successful club of all time, having won the English League championship six times: in 1892, 1893, 1895, 1902, 1913, and, most recently, in 1936. They have also been runners-up on a further five occasions: in 1894, 1898, 1901, 1923 and 1935.
The 1998–99 season was the 119th season of competitive football in England.
The 1999–2000 season was the 120th season of competitive football in England.
Kevin Ball is an English former footballer who played for Portsmouth, Sunderland, Fulham and Burnley. Since his retirement, he has held a number of positions at Sunderland, including twice being caretaker manager, and is currently working as club ambassador.
Murton A.F.C. were a football team based in Murton near Durham in County Durham, England who last played Wearside League. They were affiliated to the Durham Football Association and were Full Members of The Football Association.
The Drumaville Consortium was a group of seven Irish businessmen and one English businessman led by former footballer Niall Quinn, who were involved in the 2006 takeover of English Premier League football club Sunderland A.F.C.. The consortium was named after the village of Drumaville in Donegal.
Ellis Short is a London-based American businessman and founder of Kildare Partners, a private equity fund investing in distressed European real estate assets. Short was also the owner and chairman of English football club Sunderland A.F.C. from September 2008 to April 2018.
During the 1996–97 English football season, Sunderland competed in the FA Premier League.
The Foundation of Light is a Registered Charity in the United Kingdom, and is the independent charitable foundation of professional football club Sunderland A.F.C. It is the biggest football charity in the UK.