Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It Has Been a Long Road, but Short Is Now Reaping His Rewards; the Voice of North East Sport

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

It Has Been a Long Road, but Short Is Now Reaping His Rewards; the Voice of North East Sport

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK DOUGLAS

HE stood in the director's seats, lingering for as long as he possibly could.

The smile was tattooed on Ellis Short's face as he shook the hands of journalists, supporters and a legion of well-wishers who hung over the box at Old Trafford to congratulate him on Sunderland's incredible achievement.

Was this the moment a five-year investment which has bought him little more than headaches and strife finally began to reap a glorious dividend? If it was, you could hardly say Short didn't deserve it. After facing down the deserved torrent of criticism which followed the rapid rise and fall of Paolo Di Canio in September, the Sunderland owner has barely made a bad call in the last five months.

It all started with a public admission.

Billionaires don't say sorry very often - most of them don't need to - but it has been Short's readiness to remedy his own bad calls which has sown the seeds for Sunderland's resurgence.

The miscalculation of letting shortterm fix Di Canio try to assemble a long-term plan was solved with a ruthless and expensive sacking in September. Short could have demurred or even followed the advice of those who were urging him to cull a supposedly-poisonous dressing room, but he was prepared to embrace the chaos and take the hit to his own reputation.

It was a difficult and traumatic period which encouraged the perception Sunderland were floundering, but it was absolutely necessary. This was followed by a public admission of culpability in the club's match-day programme.

His decision to say sorry bought him time and illustrated a recognition he could - and should - do better.

He made the right appointment, too. Gus Poyet was not the universal choice of his legion of advisers, but after a lengthy process of due diligence - again he was accused of dallying - he decided to go with the Uruguyan, whose own reputation had taken a hit after a damaging departure from Brighton. …

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