Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ellis Won't Be Giving Short Shrift to Cats Just Because He's Moving

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ellis Won't Be Giving Short Shrift to Cats Just Because He's Moving

Article excerpt

ELLIS Short is leaving London to move back to the USA - but Sunderland chief executive Martin Bain insists the Black Cats' billionaire owner is not 'disengaged' from the situation on Wearside.

Short's home in Chelsea is on the market for PS49.5m as he relocates to Florida, where his tennis protege son has taken up a scholarship at an academy run by the legendary ladies' champion of the 1970s and 1980s, Chris Evert.

That transatlantic move accounts for the fact that Short is now an infrequent visitor to the Stadium of Light, having last attended a home game on the opening day of the season.

It also explains why, after being open to offers for the club for several years, Short has taken a more proactive approach to finding a buyer over the last 12 months, having commissioned a New York-based investment bank to produce what was effectively a sales brochure, and then entering into talks with a German group in the summer before that proposed deal ultimately fell through.

But while Short, to the fury of Sunderland fans, has ceased dipping into his own pocket to bankroll a sizeable transfer budget, Bain insisted last month that the owner will continue to fund the Black Cats' sizeable losses, which stood at around PS33m for the 2015-16 season in the latest available accounts.

And Bain says anyone suggesting that Short, who has owned the club outright for nine years, does not care about Sunderland any more is simply wrong.

"Maybe because Ellis, in the past, before I was here, has spent an awful lot of money on players, there's been a more significant visible investment, if you like, and Ellis was maybe getting around a little bit more," said Bain.

"The fact that he's not around so much and the fact that fans don't see the level of spending on the squad that they're used to, and our performances are where they are, then there's an automatic assumption that the owner is disengaged, that he doesn't care about the football club.

"Nothing could be further from the truth. He interacts with me, and I believe he's emotionally invested in Sunderland AFC.

"I hear him after the games, and if the performances aren't what he expects the performances to be, he's not a shrinking violet and he quite rightly expresses his opinions. …

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