Former SAFC chairman wants Sunderland and its heritage back in County Durham see why

Former SAFC chairman wants Sunderland and its heritage back in County Durham see why

Former SAFC chairman Sir Bob Murray wants Sunderland and its heritage back in County Durham

Former Sunderland AFC chairman Sir Bob Murray says the city the club represents should be in County Durham – and that ‘it should never have left’.

The businessman’s hometown is Consett in the north of the county, but his roots are very much in Sunderland. His father was a miner at Silksworth Colliery and his mother was from Houghton-le-Spring.


Along with South Shields, Jarrow and the rest of what is now called South Tyneside, Sunderland was ripped from County Durham in 1974 when the deeply unpopular Local Government Act was enacted.


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The 1972 act clumped Sunderland with other places, including Newcastle, into the newly created metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear.

Tyne and Wear County Council was abolished in 1986, meaning that Sunderland has technically not been in any county since. Its council is a unitary authority.

Many feel that, apart from diminishing County Durham, Sunderland has lost some of its identity, particularly with regards to its industrial heritage.


A memorial in Durham Cathedral was created in 1947 and is dedicated to “The Durham miners who have given their lives in the pits of the county”.

But since 1974 “the county” has not included places with proud mining heritage where many workers lost their lives including Silksworth, Houghton, Washington and Wearmouth – the site of the latter now home to the Stadium of Light, built by Sir Bob in 1997.

Asked if Sunderland should return to County Durham, he said: “It should never have left. There’s no point to it, is there.

“It’s like Boldon; that shouldn’t be in South Tyneside. Sunderland’s boundary ends at the city limits, so it’s not really an area, it’s a city. I don’t know why people do these things.


“This club was born on the back of Durham miners, that’s why we have the Davy lamp (outside the stadium). This was a very famous pit. This club’s heritage is mining and shipbuilding.

“I’m a great believer in heritage. I think it’s a great strength of the club that it has such an illustrious history.”

Sir Bob was speaking during the promotion of his new autobiography, I’d Do It All Again, on sale now priced £20 from SAFC club shops, Beacon of Light and at All proceeds go to the Foundation of Light.

1 Comment

  1. I was born in Felling County, Durham, almost 75 years ago! April 1st 1974, that proud County was ripped apart, Felling UDC ended, stuck with Gateshead (a disaster) I’m forever explaining why someone born, and still lives on Tyneside, supports SAFC. Bob knows the answer!

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