Saturday 24 March 2018

Short hits back at critics

Sunderland chairman Ellis Short has defended his time in charge
Sunderland chairman Ellis Short has defended his time in charge

Sunderland chairman Ellis Short has hit back at criticism of his stewardship of the club and a claim that he has been "lying" to supporters.

Sections of the home crowd chanted "Are you watching, Ellis Short?" during last Saturday's 3-1 home defeat by Norwich, while former defender Michael Gray later accused the American of failing to see through promises to invest in the squad.

However, Short refuted claims that he lacks ambition for the club and insisted he has not short-changed fans.

Writing in his programme notes ahead of Saturday's home clash with Swansea, Short said: "Regarding last Saturday's match, to answer the question asked of me, yes, I was watching. Also, like many of you, I 'left early', turning off the TV after the third goal and going for an angry walk.

"I normally don't respond to criticism, but based on some recent comments, I feel that there are some points I need to address for the benefit of the fans.

"First of all, no one who knows me or knows anything about me would say that I have no ambition for the club. That ambition certainly has not been realised yet, but it does not mean that I don't have it.

"Secondly, the assertion that I have been unwilling to spend money to fulfil the ambitions of the club and its fans is completely wrong. Every penny that comes from TV income and other commercial activities is spent on operating the club - that is, buying players, wages, and other associated costs.

"I have never taken money out of the club. In fact, I have funded significant shortfalls each and every season."

Indeed, Short claimed that without his cash, Sunderland would have been in even worse trouble.

He said: "Since I have been involved, the good news is that my investment has kept us in the Premier League for nine consecutive seasons. The bad news is, for the amount of money spent, we should be better than we are and no one knows that more than me.

"Has the money been spent effectively? No - that much is clear and ultimately that is my fault. But it is not a result of a lack of ambition or commitment.

"To date this summer, we have committed £21.5m in transfer fees and remain hopeful that there is still more business to be done before the window closes on September 1.

"Finally, Michael Gray made quite a serious accusation claiming that I have lied to supporters. I have not. Michael Gray should admit that he was wrong."

Press Association

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