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Sunderland turned down approach from government to rename Stadium of Light as monument to Princess Diana

Former Sunderland chairman Sir Bob Murray has told the Newcastle Chronicle that he was approached by the Labour government to rename the Stadium of Light to be a monument to the then recently deceased Princess Diana.

In July 1997, Princess Diana was killed in a car crash that took place in a tunnel in Paris, France. This caused a national outpouring of grief on a scale that had never been seen before, with thousands of people heading to Buckingham Palace to pay their respects.

Around this time, Sunderland were preparing to open their new stadium after deciding to leave Roker Park and were coming up with potential names. After dismissing the idea of selling the naming rights to another company, they eventually came up with the idea of calling it the Stadium of Light. This was meant to be in homage to the mining that took place in the area.

But the chairman at the time Bob Murray who decided the name has now revealed that he was approached by a representative of the then Labour government, still fresh from their landslide victory under Tony Blair, to name the stadium after Princess Diana.

He said: “I had a call from the Government one day after Princess Diana had died to ask if I would consider naming it the Princess Diana Stadium, which I declined to do,”

“I didn’t agree to that, not because I didn’t admire Princess Diana, but because it [the stadium] belongs to us and our forefathers who worked in darkness in mines or shipyards or similar.”

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