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ROKER ROUNDUP: Sunderland have ‘been badly abused by the American owner’, says former Chairman

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Sir Bob Murray has been talking about the current state of Sunderland, showing support for Stewart Donald whilst admitting that ‘the American owner’ Ellis Short left the club ‘badly abused’.

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Two England call-ups

Young midfield pair Elliot Embleton and Bali Mumba have been called up by England ahead of the international break.

Embleton, who joined Grimsby Town on loan earlier this week, has been called up by England under-20s for their games against Switzerland on Thursday 6 September and the Netherlands on Monday 10 September.

Their head coach Paul Simpson is hoping to use these games as a pathway into the under-21s for the players involved:

We’ve got a bit of a mixed squad as it covers two age bands, so it’s the first time this group will have been together.

It’s an opportunity for the players on the fringes of the Under-21s to stay involved in international football and for our younger players to develop.

We expect two tough games against Switzerland and the Netherlands, they’ll have a similar mix of age bands. We want to give our players the chance to play against the best teams in Europe and show they are ready to move up.

Across England teams we’ve shown over the past 18 months that there is a definite pathway to progress all the way up to the seniors.

We want to develop this group with a view for them to break into the U21s, while following on from the success that last year’s U20s and at least maintain our position of second in the European elite league.

Mumba was called into the under-18 side that will head to France to compete in the Limoges Tournament.

England will face the Netherlands, Russia and France over the course of five days and that means Mumba will be unavailable for the Sunderland first team for the Checkatrade Trophy tie against Stoke City and the home league game against Fleetwood on September 8.

Meanwhile Sunderland’s Jacob Young has been called up by Australia for a week long training camp ahead of the 2018 AFC U19 Championship - which is held in Indonesia in October.

The central defender is one of only three foreign based players called up by the Socceroos and their head coach Ante Milicic says it’s vital they make the most of the camp, with October’s tournament being vitally important:

The AFC U19 Championship is a crucial competition for the Young Socceroos. Not only does it act as the Asian Cup for this age group, it also doubles as the qualification process for the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup, which will be held in Poland.

Australia last qualified for FIFA U20 World Cup in 2013 when the tournament was held in Turkey, and it is certainly our aim to return to that elite tournament in Europe next year.

But if we are to achieve that goal we must ensure that we make solid progress in our forthcoming camps in Australia, and arrive in Indonesia committed to the challenge that’s ahead of us.

England U17 v Turkey U17 Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Murray hopes good times return

Sir Bob Murray has been talking with the North East Times about the recent opening of the Beacon of Light, which he says is his way of finishing his legacy:

Simply put, if the stadium provided a home for football in the city, the Beacon will provide a home for community engagement in the city.

Once we understood the opportunity that we had to create something truly fantastic – and much more than a home for the foundation – the Beacon really started to come to life.

In my heart, and for a long time, I felt that something was missing from the stadium park, and I wanted to leave one last legacy because I felt I wasn’t quite finished.

I built the Beacon of Light for the fantastic people of the region, so they can have access to world class facilities and world class support and make the most of their lives.

Murray then went on to discuss Sunderland’s recent resurgence and how Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven have been communicating with fans. He also made clear his disdain for the way the club was treated by Ellis Short:

The new owners seem to have a very clear idea of what they want to achieve and how they want to achieve it and they seem to be listening to the fans too, which is very important.

People can sometimes change their religion, but they can’t change their football club, and when I was there it was run with a tremendous community spirit.

That was admired throughout British football, as were our ethics and the quality and behaviour of our support. Sadly, it’s been badly abused by the ‘American owner’, and the club is bruised at the moment.

Football is a complex industry, and I think the new owners will understand what is achievable with the resources they have available.

We’d all like to see the club back in the Premier League, but for now I’d like to see more wins at the Stadium of Light. I’ll admit there are times when I wish my dad had been a Manchester United supporter and not a Sunderland supporter!

I don’t think my father would have ever forgiven me for pulling down Roker Park – it’s not a decision I took lightly. But on the other hand, it gave us the opportunity to build the Stadium of Light, which has been a platform for the football club’s successes over the last 20 years.

In terms of my time as a chairman, I like to think I got more things right than I got wrong and hopefully history proves that. The club has the potential to enjoy great success again. I gave it infrastructure and a home, and it’s now in the hands of the new owners to bring those good times back.