THE MANAGERS: Bill Murray

William Murray: 24 March 1939 - 26 June 1957

Commonly known as Bill, Murray was born in Aberdeen in March 1900. He was a defender and his services at Sunderland as a player and manager amounted to a huge 28 years.

Robert Kyle signed Murray from Scottish side Cowdenbeath in April 1927, but a season later John Cochrane took over and Murray flourished playing a key role as the Lads clinched the top-flight title in 1936.

The defender then returned to Scotland to play for St Mirren and subsequently missed out on the Lads' FA Cup triumph in 1937, however, it wasn’t long before he returned to Wearside in a managerial capacity.

Following the end of World War II, Murray set about assembling a side capable of winning the league, but after missing out on signing Tommy Lawton, Murray’s stylish side finished third in 1950.

The Black Cats had been buoyed by the signing Len Shackleton who became a consistent performer along with Willie Watson, Tommy Wright and Fred Hall, but the title would continue to elude the Black Cats.

Sunderland were labelled as the ‘Bank of England club’ as chairman Bill Ditchburn gave Murray licence to spend freely, leading to the signings of Trevor Ford and Billy Elliott who both made notable impressions at Roker Park.

These additions saw Murray’s men finish joint fourth and achieve an FA Cup semi-final place but Murray wasn’t done there and further signings were made in the form of Stan Anderson, Billy Bingham and Charlie Fleming.

Despite the trio making a big impact on Wearside, Sunderland again lost out at the FA Cup semi-final stage in 1956 before narrowly avoiding the drop in the following campaign.

Sunderland’s slump saw Murray resign in June 1957 following an 18-year managerial reign on Wearside.

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