Sunderland’s natural position is seventh in Premier League, says Ellis Short

Ellis Short, Sunderland chairman walks out of the tunnel to take a look at the pitch prior to the Premier League match between Sunderland and Burnley at Stadium of Light on March 18, 2017...

Ellis Short acknowledges that Sunderland are in “a bit of crisis” but believes the club’s natural position is seventh in the Premier League and has revealed it is no longer formally for sale.

In a rare interview with the club’s website, Sunderland’s American owner – who is looking for his ninth manager in six years after sacking Simon Grayson on Tuesday night – said it was untrue that he no longer cared about a concern he has tried and failed to sell in the last year.

“We’ve obviously got a bit of a crisis to solve now,” said Short, who saw his struggling team relegated last spring after 10 seasons in the top tier. “But I don’t believe our squad belongs in the bottom three of the Championship.”

Having taken Sunderland off the market, Short seems minded to make another attempt at fulfilling their potential. “We need to continue to get stronger and get back into the Premier League as quickly as we can,” said the financier whose immediate problem could be avoiding dropping into League One. “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. We should be trying to finish in seventh place in the Premier League 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 10th or 12th. 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.

“I do understand the fans want me out, but I am certain they would not have been happy with that transaction,” said Short regarding the offer for the club he turned down in the summer. “That’s why it didn’t get done.” Now, he appears more likely to stay on, despite relocating his family from England to America.

“The club’s not officially for sale,” he said. “If there is a legitimate buyer and it’s a credible person, then like probably every other owner of an English football team, I’ll have a conversation. So I may or may not sell that club at some point in the future, that’s mostly beyond my control. But as long as I own it, I’m going to be focused on what’s good for the club.

“I’m a fan and I understand how the fans feel.”

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Louise Taylor, for The Guardian on Friday 3rd November 2017 19.34 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch