Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Premier Plaudits Amaze Murray

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Premier Plaudits Amaze Murray

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Bob Murray has revealed how he has been staggered by the response to Sunderland's top-flight comeback after insisting the Premiership is preparing to welcome the club back with open arms.

Since Mick McCarthy's men secured promotion almost three weeks ago, the Black Cats chairman has been inundated by letters and calls of congratulation from those relishing the club's return to top-flight competition.

That almost 48,000 supporters were at the Stadium of Light last weekend to see the presentation of the Coca-Cola Championship trophy has left Murray's peers rubbing their hands in anticipation of some bumper attendances next term.

And, although he has overseen three title triumphs in nine eventful years, a man whose plans for next season's survival challenge are already at an advanced stage has found this latest experience to be the most emotive.

"What happened on Monday night (tens of thousands of supporters lined the streets as McCarthy and his players engaged in an open-top bus parade through the city centre) showed the responsibility of my job," he explained. "In one sense, it was very, very difficult to look at all those people and see what it meant to them.

"I think the lads realise what a big club this is now. Given that we had almost 48,000 at the match on Sunday, I found the turn-out for the parade to be staggering. Sunderland is a very big club ( we have seen that this week."

The Wearsiders crashed out of the top-flight two years ago. But the friendships Murray built during the club's four-season spell in Premiership circles have endured.

"We have had hundreds of letters (of congratulations) ( the Premier League cannot wait to welcome Sunderland supporters back," he insisted.

"The Premier League has welcomed us back with open arms.

"The Stadium of Light is a smashing stage and we have been sadly missed. …

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