Ellis Short

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American owner Short writes off Sunderland debt, sells club

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Turn and face the strain, ch-ch-changes.

Relegated in consecutive seasons, troubled club Sunderland announced the departure of manager Chris Coleman on Sunday.

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Minutes later, it announced a change in ownership, hopefully solving a club crisis.

Embattled American owner Ellis Short is leaving the Northeast England club now headed to League One on the heels of a 20th place finish in the Football League Championship.

Short has sold the team to Stewart Donald, and says he has paid off the debts of the club while rejecting higher paying offers in favor of the best one for the direction of Sunderland.

For all the rough times and damage done to the club, those are class gestures. Here is Short’s statement, via the Sunderland site:

“It is no secret that I have been trying to sell Sunderland, but I have waited until the right group came along that have the experience, finances and plan to take this great club back to where it deserves to be.

“Overall, my chairmanship has not gone the way I would have wished; the many high points of a decade in the Premier League have been overshadowed by the low points of the last two terrible seasons. I was therefore determined to ensure that I leave Sunderland in the best possible hands and in the best possible state to turn the corner. To achieve this, higher offers from less qualified buyers were rejected, and I have paid off all debts owed by the club to leave it financially strong and debt free for the first time since years before I owned it.”

“Assuming that Stewart and his group win EFL approval, it only remains for me to wish them, and all associated with the club, the very best for the future. I will be a Sunderland fan for life, and hope to return as a fan to watch them climb back to where they belong.”

Donald will be the new owner, once approved by the English Football League, and will relinquish control of the current club he owns: Eastleigh FC. The Chronicle says he also has a stake in Oxford United of League One.

Donald has experience with righting a debt-ridden ship, having done the trick at Eastleigh. He hopes that serves him well:

“Eastleigh and Oxford are different cases to each other and, of course, smaller than Sunderland. The similarity, though, is that there is also a lot that needs to be addressed here, and it needs to be addressed with realism, focus and dedication. For a club with one of the best fanbases, stadium and academies in the UK to find itself in League One is unacceptable.

“We have a carefully thought-through plan to restructure the club, make it sustainable and, with the help of the fans, to restore its sense of pride and re-connect it with the local community. In short, we are rolling our sleeves up to do what needs to be done to ready this club to start competing again.”

Good luck to Sunderland. It’s been a brutal run, as it was just two years ago fans were flying banners over Newcastle’s stadium when the rivals were relegated.

Sunderland owner Ellis Short: “We’ve got a crisis to solve”

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Sunderland AFC has had a pretty miserable first few months back in the Championship, after suffering relegation from the Premier League last season.

The club has continued to struggle on the field, recording just one win and 10 points in 15 matches, leaving the team in the Championship relegation zone. Manager Simon Grayson was sacked late Tuesday night following a 3-3 draw with Bolton.

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The decision, and subsequent rage and reaction from fans calling for turnover at the top of the club, led the club’s American owner Ellis Short to sit down for a short interview that was published on the club’s website.

Short began by immediately declaring a “crisis” at the club before spending the rest of the interview providing some insight behind the club’s decision to sack Grayson as well as other decisions the club has made. He also hit out at the British media for some of the reports that have come out of Sunderland.

Short also provided some detail in the on-again, off-again saga of him trying to sell the club, and what went wrong. He finished by stating he believed Sunderland should be a top-ten Premier League club, a comment that will sure rile up some fans across the world.

Catch the video below:

No takeover at Sunderland, but they do have new boss

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Ellis Short remains in charge at Sunderland despite several bids for a takeover, and the American businessman has approved a new manager.

Short has tabbed Preston North End boss Simon Grayson, 47, for the gig. Grayson previously coached Huddersfield Town and Leeds United, and gets the first crack at leading Sunderland back into the Premier League.

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That they’ll do so with the same owner is a bit of a surprise, but a pair of investment groups did not meet Short’s hopes for a sale. One group withdrew its bid, while the other didn’t work out.

From the BBC:

“We would like to thank our supporters for their patience during what we know has been a period of uncertainty and frustration for them,” said Sunderland’s statement.

If the last name sounds familiar, Grayson is the son of Dick Grayson (better known as the Robin). Just checking to see if you’re still reading.

Players will be what makes the difference for Sunderland, with all due respect to Grayson. Let’s see who the Black Cats bring in this summer.

Sunderland’s takeover bids stall managerial appointment

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Ellis Short may be done with Sunderland after just under a decade of tumult at the Stadium of Light.

The American-born business man invested in the club in 2008, and took over in May 2009. The Black Cats battled relegation over the last half-decade, sent down to the Championship at the end of this season under the guidance of David Moyes.

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Moyes left, and the club has been unable to appoint a new manager due to the takeover talks.

From Sunderland’s web site:

With this backdrop, we have been unable to give the assurances any potential candidate would need regarding the plans a new owner could have for the manager’s position. The recruitment process, whilst still very much active, cannot therefore be concluded imminently.

The takeover bids reportedly involve two groups, “a German consortium and fans Gabe Turner, Ben Turner and Leo Pearlman from television production company Fulwell 73.”

That latter group reportedly includes American ties.

Sunderland admits that sorting out new ownership needs to be done quickly as the Black Cats aim to go straight back to the Premier League after its first relegation in a decade.

Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame

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In case you haven’t already noticed, Sunderland are in serious trouble — again. More trouble, though, than any of us are probably aware, says former Black Cats manager Dick Advocaat.

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Advocaat, who resigned following Saturday’s 2-2 draw with West Ham United, went on Dutch TV program “Studio Voetbal” on Monday and spilled what is surely only the first bit of information regarding his time — and struggles — at Sunderland.

Advocaat, on the club’s current predicament — quotes from the Guardian:

“Our squad was simply not good enough. The club knew we had to strengthen ourselves but the chairman never told me how much we could spend. The struggle against relegation is not my cup of tea. It was time for someone else to take over. I became negative and didn’t feel like myself.”

The last thing supporters of any club wants to hear from a departed manager is, “The chairman (Ellis Short) made my job very difficult due to incompetence and/or a strained working relationship,” because chances are that’s not something likely to change for the next man in charge.

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Whoever replaces Advocaat (Sam Allardyce and Sean Dyche are widely being reported as the favorites) will have to overcome the same trials and tribulations from within. Anytime you find yourself in a relegation battle, which is now an annual tradition at the Stadium of Light, it’s paramount that everyone is working together and pulling in the same direction in order to remain in the Premier League.

Per Advocaat’s comments, that’s not the case at Sunderland, and one of many reasons we could finally say goodbye to the Black Cats this season.