Sunderland in great hands under Ellis Short says chairman Niall Quinn

20 March 2009 09:25
Keane was hailed the 'Mackem Messiah' by fans after being appointed manager by the Sunderland chairman who recently described Short as a "Godsend" to the Stadium of Light with the club's majority shareholder poised to up his stake to assume outright control as a watershed approaches on Wearside.

"The club is in good hands but it has the chance to be in brilliant hands," Quinn said. "Ellis has just over 30 per cent in the club at the moment. He has a decision to make soon about going over the 50 per cent mark.

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"It would be great for me, fantastic for the club and fans if we kick on and Ellis comes in and says 'okay' and almost gives us an anti-relegation clause next year. Not that you can really do that. But if we sign three or four top players, then it should take us away." Short's investment in Sunderland was revealed by Telegraph Sport and it is hoped fans will encourage him by taking advantage of the club's cut-price season ticket offer in their droves with the Drumaville consortium's stake in the club being restricted by the credit crunch.

"If he gets 51 per cent, he'll be calling the shots, but I'ill be running the club," Quinn added. "He doesn't interfere with any footballing decision I make. I'd be appointing managers and taking care of that side of things, 100 per cent. He's been adamant about that.

"The writing was on the wall for Drumaville. They asked me to go and find somebody and I had known Ellis. He was intrigued by Roy, the story and felt it wasn't your average type of investment.

"But he is a smart guy. He wasn't about to go all gung ho and start drinking pints with the crowd. He is the exact opposite to that. He wants to see it, go through every portion of the business with a fine tooth comb which he has done in a diligent and slick manner.

"He was in at a base. This summer, if he then says "ok, I've had enough" the other guys are still involved. But I think the time is getting close to where he is beginning to enjoy what is going on behind the scenes." As far as Quinn is concerned it is "crucial" Short becomes the club's "custodian" to stop it "going back towards where we came".

With that in mind Quinn is hoping fans respond enthusiastically to cut-price season ticket offers which would allow children to watch Premier League games for just £1 a time.

Quinn added: "Last season we had almost 28,000 season tickets holders. Over 1000 brand new people have signed up already, so adding that to those who've renewed already we've almost 9000 people who have bought in at this early stage (deadline April 3).

"If we've got 25,000 season ticket holders and 10,000 of them don't bring kids, I'd think they're mad. For the taxi fare home, you've got it for the season. We'll see when it all bottoms out. But the early days have been great.

Normally it's a big rush in the last week, nobody spends their money too early, but we've already got 25 per cent of our money in, of our target of just staying the same, already." Everything else hinges on Sunderland maintaining Premier League status with manager Ricky Sbragia position certain to be reviewed this summer.

"We're not talking about Ricky being on trial, or Djibril (Cisse) or Tal (Ben Haim) being on trial " Niall Quinn is on trial. That's the way it should be. I 'm comfortable with that," Quinn said.


Source: Telegraph