Sunderland owner Ellis Short targets top 10 finish next season
28 May 2009 01:06
The prospective Sunderland owner is ready to bankroll a push into the top half of the Premier League next term because he cannot cope with another nerve-shredding brush with relegation.
Short spoke out for the first time since club chairman Niall Quinn announced he was poised to assume 100 per cent control of the managerless Wearside club, where Wigan's Steve Bruce tops their wish-list.
"I became involved late last summer and our only real goal this year was not to get relegated, and with the money we spent last summer we probably shouldn't have come as close as we did, but we have achieved our goal," Short said.
"What we want to do is take this good club and continue to improve it; we'll do what we need to do this summer to get this team into a place where we can try to finish in the top 10 next year.
"I don't ever want to go through a relegation battle again and I don't want the fans to have to go through it, I don't want Niall to have to go through it, so what we will genuinely be trying to do with the things that Niall does this summer is to be able to finish in the top 10.
"And in the longer term we just want to continue to improve and always run things well. I don't want to promise things and not be able to deliver but that's genuinely what we are going to try and do.
"It's a very well run club, the scouting organisation and the youth development program are in place, so it's got all the pieces in place to be a long-term successful, really powerful club."
Short is unfazed by the prospect of having to invest heavily to realise the club's aims.
"Like any other business, it is worrisome if you don't handle it correctly," Short said.
"It's a very big club with a lot of fans, a big stadium, and lot of revenue - and when you are in a position where we are where you are trying to improve it, it takes money.
"But if that money is invested wisely and the personnel decisions that you make are good ones, then I'm not worried at all and I fully expect that Niall will be able to make good personnel decisions going forward."
Short celebrated survival alongside Quinn in the directors' box last Sunday, following the 3-2 defeat by Chelsea.
"Probably like every other good Sunderland Football Club fan, I'm ecstatic and if I had to pick one word it would be relieved. Relief that two months of fear and nervousness is over.
"This club has a lot of reasons to stay up, we've got a lot of good plans for the future and relegation would have been horrible, so I'm relieved and happy."
Despite his growing influence, Ellis, who now lives in Britain, will allow Quinn to continue calling the shots at the club on a day to day basis.
"Niall runs the club. Niall is a very smart footballer, very smart about the Premier League and is a wonderful chairman of the club who knows more about football than I ever will," Short said.
"So I will be in the background and Niall will be running the show. I'll be involved in things like finance. With me coming in you get all of these other good ingredients that are already in place at the club and can add to that a streamlined decision-making process, a streamlined board and with some financial ability to make some moves - and we think that is the missing piece that this club has needed."