Despondent Sunderland fans have called on owner Ellis Short to front up and speak to supporters about his future plans for their club after the Black Cats fell into the third tier of English football.
American billionaire Short has been silent since the club was relegated to League One on Saturday, following a 2-1 home defeat to Burton Albion.
A club statement was released by SAFC in the wake of the devastating result, but neither Short nor chief executive Martin Bain were quoted.
Manager Chris Coleman has said he wants to stay in the position, but has admitted he has still not spoken to Short during his stint in the charge of the club.
He has not spoken publicly since an interview done by the club in November, just days after former manager Simon Grayson was sacked after winning only one of his 18 league games.
It comes as nearly 70% of fans who took part in our Echo poll said Short must take the blame for relegation.
Out of almost 2,000 votes cast, 68% blamed the Black Cats’ owner, while 22% pointed the finger at the players. Bain (5%), Coleman (4%) and Grayson (1%) were seen as less to blame.
The statement released on the club’s website on Saturday spoke of a “demoralising season for everyone”.
It also alluded to the ongoing issue of Short trying to sell the club, saying “it must be recognised that we are in a period of uncertainty in relation to the club’s future ownership and the resolution of this will be the driving factor in how we move forward”.
Veteran supporter George Forster, 91, who is part of Sunderland Supporters’ Association, spoke of his disappointed that Short does not appear to be involved much in day-to-day running of the club.
“I’m hurting like every other supporter is at the minute by what’s happened,” said George.
“I feel sorry for the fans because this situation should not have happened.
“The team should have made sure that we stayed in the Championship at the very least, because we’re paying certain players sums like £70,000 a week.
“We are begging people to come into the club and run it properly, but is there anybody really in the frame at this stage?
“As far as Short is concerned, if you are an owner of something, you look after it and he hasn’t.” One banner held up by fans at the Stadium of Light by angry fans read: “Worst team in 139 years, gutless mercenaries #ShortOut”, reflecting the mood inside the ground.
George added that he wants to see the “right people” installed at SAFC and in his opinion only then will the club begin to climb once again.
“The hope is we make sure we have the right people in which we just haven’t had.
“We’ve been just throwing money about for years and it hasn’t worked, which is very disappointing.
“I’m hoping something changes and the sooner the better.”
Deputy editor at A Love Supreme Paul Dobson said: “I would have been more surprised if Ellis Short had actually come out and said something.
“Actually, it would be nice for him to speak to the manager even because he said he hasn’t spoken to him yet.
“He could have walked away a while ago but he didn’t because he wants to get as much money back as he can. “Now, we need to get the whole situation clarified to allow Chris Coleman to put together a team fit for purpose, which this one clearly hasn’t been.”