Ellis Short called for united front just hours before sacking O’Neill from Sunderland

Ellis Short, Chairman of Sunderland AFC

Ellis Short, Chairman of Sunderland AFC

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SUNDERLAND owner Ellis Short called for a united front at the club – just hours before getting rid of Martin O’Neill.

O’Neill departed Wearside today after overseeing a run of eight games without a win that has plunged the Black Cats into relegation trouble.

Short has been unhappy with results for several weeks, but writing in his programme notes before today’s 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester United – a game it is understood he didn’t attend – he called on everyone connected with the club to pull together.

He said: “Of course, there is nobody that is happy with our current position and the way our season is going. The reality is that we have a fight on our hands with eight games remaining.

“We know that we are capable of playing better than we have been doing and we know that we need to begin doing so now.

“I can assure you that every person at the club is doing everything they can to ensure that the season ends on a positive note and when the season is over, we can take stock of what happened.

“Right now, however, there is only one thing that every one of us should be focused on, and that is doing our part whatever that is in helping this team to get the points we need.

“I’m very aware that our supporters, who have backed us week in, week out in such huge numbers, aren’t happy and fully understand why.

“But right now, it is important for us all to be on the same side and get behind the team. Not being together will not help us to get results, so let’s stand shoulder to shoulder and give the team our full support.”

That stock-taking exercise was dramatically brought forward this evening