Sunderland legend Charlie Hurley backs bid to reopen training ground bearing his name

Charlie Hurley leads out the Sunderland team at Roker Park.
Charlie Hurley leads out the Sunderland team at Roker Park.
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Sunderland’s Player of the Century has vowed to return to Wearside if the former training ground named after him reopens.

The Echo reported yesterday that Peter Curtis, of Sunderland-based NE Sport, has renewed calls for the Charlie Hurley Centre to be brought back into use.

Peter says the centre, between Cleadon and Whitburn, has been “wasting away” since the Black Cats opened the nearby Academy of Light almost 15 years ago.

He wants to see it reopened for the use of local young people.

And the man whose name adorns the gates says he would be happy to help.

“To have something like that named after me was a great honour,” said Charlie Hurley.

“It has been there a long time – I went up there many years ago to open it and if it was reopened, I would come up again.

“To see my name up there was great.”

Charlie spent 12 years at Roker Park and remains fiercely proud of his Wearside links.

“I am a Sunderland man,” he said.

“Every time a match is played, I look for the Sunderland result right away. I always have done.

“It is such a long time ago now, but I have never forgotten the fans and they have never forgotten me.

“I loved the fans and I loved the football club – it is almost as if it was just a few years ago.”

Peter Curtis says he first wrote to Sunderland AFC five years ago, asking for permission to use the facilities at the Charlie Hurley Centre and promising to maintain and care for the pitches at no cost to Sunderland,” he told the Echo.

“They said they were not interested, as it was part of their long-term plans. Five years on and it is still wasting away.

“It’s tragic really and what makes it even worse is when you think of the money involved in the Premier League.

A spokeswoman for Sunderland AFC said the club was not willing to comment on the issue.