DAVID PREECE: If the relationship has failed, is it time for Ellis Short and SAFC to divorce?

Ellis Short with Sunderland fans

Ellis Short with Sunderland fans

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Autumn is here and coming with it are the winds of change.

This is Sunderland of course and some things never change but in recent years, since Ellis Short took over the club, there has been a stream of managers, players and staff at the Stadium of Light.

Like a marriage where two people just grow apart, there is no blame to be attached anywhere.

The only real constant has been the owner himself, delving into his deep pockets annually to provide the club with the best chance possible of making a decent fist of Premier League football.

To no avail.

For his commitment alone, the least Ellis Short has deserved in return is mid-table security yet he has been let down by those he has entrusted to guide the club away from the bottom three of the table.

But ultimately, the buck stops with him and he has to take responsibility for the lack of success on the pitch.

On the face of it, he seems to have exhausted every option when it comes to managerial appointments.

We’ve gone British, foreign, young and experienced and little seems to have gone right in way of bringing the consistency that is craved.

One after another, Big Sam apart, the different faces, temperaments and characters who have sat in dugout have failed.

You could look around at the Leeds Uniteds of this world and thank your lucky stars that we have an owner who clearly has the best interests of the club at heart but with the rumours of takeovers being circulated, it seems as if Ellis may be about to hand over the reins to someone else.

It’s a sad situation really.

Like a marriage where two people just grow apart, there is no blame to be attached anywhere.

It just hasn’t worked out and when there have been so many managers come and not been able to put their finger on the source of the malaise, the only option left is a change of ownership and a total shift in direction.

In his appointments, Short tried his best to keep the ethos of the club and the city; honest, passionate managers that seemed right choices on paper but never delivering.

I got criticised last year for suggesting that relegation would be good for the club, as it had been for Swansea, Southampton and Bournemouth and I haven’t changed my views on that.

Just look at our friends across the Tyne. They’re flourishing and building a winning momentum that will probably carry them into next season. It’s difficult to stomach but I can honestly see Rafa having them in Europe by the end of 2018/19. Sickening, I know.

This isn’t me calling for the chairman to step down or to criticise the job that he’s done.

All I’m saying is that it’s the only thing that hasn’t changed and if there is to be a change it needs to be sooner rather than later. We need new owners who are willing to commit top dollar for a Premier League club and have the funds to make a difference to the squad.

If not, I fear that the change will come too late after we’re relegated and someone will think they’ll get the club on the cheap.

We don’t want someone who is just after a bargain, we need serious owners with serious money, wherever they come from. In today’s world, it’s the only way we’ll ever have a chance to compete.

And maybe, just maybe, a more analytical, business-like approach from someone who is overseeing the club with fresh eyes, might be able to see exactly what is going wrong and begin to put things right.