Revealed! Sunderland fan verdict on Short, Bain, Coleman and humiliating relegation to League One
Sunderland fans have laid the blame for relegation to League One at Ellis Short's door '“ and his lack of investment in the squad last summer.
Sunderland spent just £1.25m on a squad that ended up finishing bottom of the Championship and suffering the humiliation of successive relegations.
Substantial transfer legacy payments were funded but the level of investment in the current playing squad was minimal, with Simon Grayson and then Chris Coleman relying heavily on loan signings and free agents.
Short has since agreed a takeover deal with prospective owner Stewart Donald, subject to EFL ratification.
A majority of fans believe Short’s biggest mistake during his time in charge of Sunderland was appointing the wrong people to senior positions.
Sunderland supporters had their say in our annual Big Sunderland AFC Survey, the results of which we can reveal today.
We asked fans what was the single biggest factor behind relegation to League One, only the second time in the club’s proud 139-year history they will play third-tier football.
In total, 38 per cent of supporters blamed the lack of investment last summer, with a further 30.8 per cent blaming Short directly.
The Sunderland squad received 19.3 per cent of the vote, with chief executive Martin Bain 7.6 per cent.
When asked what was Short’s biggest mistake, seven out of 10 fans said it was the appointment of the wrong people to senior positions.
Short has taken the brunt of the backlash following relegation, but former director of football Roberto de Fanti, former chief executive Margaret Byrne, current chief executive Bain plus a raft of previous managers have also received criticism.
Fans also raised the lack of investment this season and allowing the wage bill to get out of control in recent years as two of Short’s other big mistakes.
Bain faces an uncertain future with the club set to move into the hands of Donald & Co and a majority of fans that took part in our survey - 69.5 per cent - felt it is time for a change in chief executive under the new owners.
One of the final acts of the Short regime ahead of the takeover being announced was to fire Chris Coleman, who was eager to stay and lead the League One promotion charge.
We asked fans whether the new owners should have kept faith with Coleman and 57.7 believed they should have, though it was tight, with 42.3 per cent in favour of the change.
Passionate Coleman’s character and demeanour won praise from supporters, with 63.5 per cent voting that his best quality, while his faith in the club’s younger players attracted 28.1 per cent of the vote.
When it came to his worst quality; almost half - 48.6 per cent - blamed his inability to sort out the defence, 23.6 per cent his tactics and 18.5 per cent failing to pick a settled side.
Fans were adamant, however, that the decision to sack Grayson in October was the right one – an overwhelming 93 per cent of fans didn’t think the former Preston North End boss would have kept the club up.
l Tomorrow and Wednesday the focus turns to the players and the transfer priorities ahead of the League One campaign.