Sir Bob Murray
It could be argued that no single person has left a longer-lasting legacy at Sunderland AFC - and, perhaps, within the city of Sunderland itself - than Sir Bob Murray, and that’s why I think he’s worthy of consideration with regards to naming a stand after him.
Whenever someone talks about Sunderland they’ll mention the supporters first and foremost, and then after that they’ll speak about the unbelievable facilities that we have - namely the Academy of Light and the Stadium of Light, the two greatest creations of Bob Murray’s tenure in charge of this football club.
Let’s not forget that, before all of that, he saved our club from bankruptcy when he took over the chairmanship from Sir Tom Cowie in 1986.
He established the club’s official charity, the Foundation of Light, in 2001 and to this day he remains the chairman of the trustees. The Foundation has contributed immensely to the education system of the north east community, and the recently-opened Beacon of Light - located just to the side of the Stadium of Light - was created and constructed by the charity.
To this day he remains Sunderland’s longest-serving owner.
He wasn’t a perfect chairman and sometimes his frugal nature with regards to spending on transfers impacted on the team’s ability to move forward on the pitch, but it cannot be denied that he mostly acted with the best interests of the club at heart.
He was and still is, after all, a Sunderland supporter through and through.
If you’re ever looking to blame someone for why you ended up supporting Sunderland then you really ought to direct your ire towards James Allan, the man who founded this great football club all the way back in 1879 (or 1880, depending on who you are speaking to).
Allan, a Scotsman who was the headmaster at Hendon Board School, formed the team as Sunderland and District Teachers’ Association Football Club.
The Sunderland that we know now is, of course, very different to the one that Allan founded, but without his work this club may never have existed in the guise that now know - the club that generations of people have supported and loved through thick and thin over the last 130-odd years.
There’s no real monument which commemorates the hard work and ambition of Allan, so what better way than to name after a stand after the man who created the monster, so to speak?
Whilst the living members of the 1973 FA Cup winning team are very rightly celebrated often by Sunderland AFC and our fantastic fanbase, very few modern-day supporters will know a great deal about the team that won us that same trophy back in 1937.
The talisman and leader of that squad, Raich Carter, is perhaps the greatest captain that this football club ever had.
Not only did he drag Sunderland to victory on that day in 1937, but the year before he and his teammates won the first division league title - well clear of second place Derby County, at a time when a victory was only worth two points.
Had the Second World War not effectively halted football in this country and broke Sunderland’s very successful side up, who knows what else they could have achieved together.
Carter’s achievement in captaining our club to a league and FA Cup win in successive seasons has been unprecedented since, and the fact that this was a man who was born and raised right here in Sunderland makes that fact even sweeter.
Like Murray, Carter was a mackem lad that did well by the club and was proud to be a part of it - the fact he was able to be so successful only adds to the legacy that he left behind. Should the club decide to commemorate his achievements, I don’t think any Sunderland supporter would disagree with the decision to do so.