SUNDERLAND owner Ellis Short has claimed that his heart is still in the club after revealing a determination to turn things around in a rare interview.

Short has moved to carry out an interview with the club’s official website, during which he has tried to explain his position in the hope of reassuring fans he fully intends to help lead a recovery from such a depressing period.

The American businessman was critical of the media at certain points, but the overall message he tried to deliver was that he is focused on helping Sunderland achieve better results to get them pushing for a return to the Premier League.

Short and chief executive Martin Bain are searching for Sunderland’s ninth manager in six years after taking the decision to sack Simon Grayson on Tuesday, with the Black Cats sitting in the relegation zone after winning just one of their opening 15 league matches.

Short, who has been open to offers to sell the club over the last couple of years, has stressed that the “mistakes” need to stop and that the situation will not improve "until things get better on the pitch.”

Here is the full transcript of what Ellis Short has had to say …


“We’ve obviously got a bit of a crisis to solve now, and when things are going this poorly, lots of things become issues, maybe things which shouldn’t be.

“The fans should know that when a reporter speaks about what I’m doing or what I’m thinking, he’s only guessing or making it up because I don’t talk to the press.

“Right now, the issue is the performance on the pitch and how we can turn things around. I thought that if I address some of these issues directly, perhaps we could all maybe focus on that a little bit more.

“I think the frustration (of the fans) probably goes beyond just having been relegated. Since I’ve owned it we’ve been in the Premier League, we’ve been in the Premier League for ten years, and although we weren’t always there in the greatest style, I as a fan always felt like we were fighting.

“Last season, the way we got relegated was particularly frustrating because, as a fan, I didn’t really feel like we had that fight.

“Getting relegated in last place was particularly galling, especially since the second half of that season before, when we had survived, we’d been quite good.

“I believe it was the best half season we’d ever had, so we had gone into last season on a bit of a note of optimism. Also, coming into this season, I as a fan, and many of the fans also, were optimistic and certainly expected better than what we’ve seen so far.


“I don’t have to explain the horrible start to the season that we’ve had. Actually, the very beginning wasn’t so bad, but the stats speak for themselves.

“I don’t believe that that squad of players belongs in the bottom three of the Championship. What’s worse, it’s not as if we’ve been putting in great performances and just can’t get the ball to go into the back of the net.

“Our goalscoring performance is towards the top of the league, but we’ve given away more goals than all but one team, and this is largely with many of the defensive players that we had last season in the Premier League.

“That’s just not acceptable, and our view at the club was that we needed to make the change. Simon is a very good man. He tried his best, and we have a lot of respect for him. But we felt like as badly as things have gone, we needed to try something different.


“I was very involved with that decision. It’s an important decision, and I talked with Martin about it probably daily as things began to get bad.

“I know it’s been in the press that I don’t care anymore and I’m not involved, but that’s simply not true. That’s reporters guessing or making something up. I’m as involved as I’ve ever been.

“It is true I’m not physically at as many games, which is really a function of me being more involved in my business life and my family spending more time in the US.

“But I’m watching, I’m paying attention and to answer the question that you sing at me during mainly the really bad games, ‘Yes, I’m watching’. Also, I’m involved financially. I put a significant amount of new capital into the club this summer.

“Now, that didn’t go to buy new players, that went to cover losses related to our mistakes of the past.”


“At that time (the summer), I was entertaining offers to buy the club. I had hired an advisor to process that. I guess the first thing I should say is, everything that was written about that in the media was wrong.

“Not really remotely resembling the truth, other than one thing, there was one group that we did have some advanced discussions with.

“I decided not to do that transaction, and I have heard some criticism that because of the depth of emotion that I should be out, that possibly I should have done that. But that comes from people who don’t know anything about the circumstances of that transaction, don’t know anything about the circumstances of the buyer.

“I’ve got the interests of the club at heart, and I’m not going to do anything that’s not good for the club. I do understand the fans want me out, but I am certain they would not have been happy with that transaction. That’s why it didn’t get done.

“Now, there’s no longer an advisor, the club’s not officially for sale. If there is a legitimate buyer, then I can have a direct phone conversation with and it’s a credible person, like probably every other owner of an English football team, I’ll have a conversation.

“But that doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s happening on the pitch right now and where we are in the table, and what we have to do. So I may or may not sell that club at some point in the future, that’s completely beyond my control.

“Not completely, mostly beyond my control. But as long as I own it, I’m going to be focused on what’s good for the club and the immediate focus is getting ourselves out of the situation that we’re in now.”


“The first order of business is to get ourselves out of this problem, improve our performances and move up the table. After that we need to continue to get stronger and get back into the Premier League as quickly as we can.

“This club, the size that it is, the fanbase that it has, belongs in the Premier League, and that’s where we want to be. After that’s happened, then I’ll go back to what my original goal had been when we were in the Premier League and that is that we should be trying to finish seventh place every season.

“There are six clubs with revenue much higher than ours, as a function of better sponsorship, much higher ticket prices, higher attendances.

“But we should be fighting for that seventh spot. In a good season, maybe sixth or fifth, in a bad season tenth or 12th. Certainly not the kind of performance we experience those last ten years in the Premier League.

“But that should be our long-term goal. And to make that happen, I think the most important thing is that going forward we don’t repeat all the mistakes we made in the past of paying a lot of money for players which didn’t get us to where we wanted to be.

“Once again, I’m a fan, I know how the fans feel and I know why they’re not happy. It would be great if there was something I could say that would make everything better. But the reality is, it’s not going to be better until we do better on the pitch. That’s the important thing. Although I understand the frustration, I hope that all of us can focus on that.”