Sunderland shop at Poundstretcher! Pundits slams Ellis Short and fear club could end up like Aston Villa

Ellis Short
Ellis Short
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TV pundit Mark Lawrenson has hit out at Sunderland owner Ellis Short - and claims the club are shopping in Poundstretcher.

The Liverpool and Republic of Ireland legend was speaking on Match of the Day Extra in the aftermath of the Black Cats' 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.

He was joined in the BBC studio by journalist Jonathan Northcroft and Hull defender Alex Bruce, son of former Sunderland boss Steve, as they dissected the weekend's Premier League action.

And Lawrenson pulled no punches when discussing the Wearsiders and chairman Short in particular.

He said: "I think the owner has lost a great deal of interest. I don't know how he got Moyes to sign his contract but I'm sure there were promises that haven't been met.

"I think it's the most difficult job he (Moyes) has ever had.

"Once the owner doesn't show much interest, where is it going?"

Northcroft, who writes for the Sunday Times, agreed with Lawrenson, and said he feared Sunderland could end up like Aston Villa, whose former American owner Randy Lerner stopped investing in the club before they were relegated to the Championship.

Northcroft said: "The worry is it's the Randy Lerner syndrome. That would be my fear for Sunderland.

"Once the owner loses interest in the football club it really does drift and fans pick up on that and players pick up on that."

Moyes' comments after the draw at the Stadium of Light had pointed to the fact he had no senior striker on the bench to help change the game, and the MOTD pundits claimed that Sunderland's transfer business was a big issue.

Lawrenson added: "They will hardly have spent any money, relatively, Sunderland. In the 'spending table' they'll be somewhere near the bottom."

And when Northcroft added that the signings Sunderland had made in the summer were largely 'bargain bucket', Lawrenson piped up "Poundstretcher".

Sunderland spent £27.12million in the summer transfer market, with five clubs Hull City, Stoke City, West Brom, Middlesbrough and Burnley spending less. However, they have the 10th highest net spend.