Ex-Sunderland owner Ellis Short to attend Checkatrade Trophy final against Portsmouth confirms Stewart Donald

Former Sunderland owner Ellis Short is to attend the Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley.

By Richard Mennear
Thursday, 28 March, 2019, 19:59
Former Sunderland owner Ellis Short.

Short pumped millions of his personal fortune into Sunderland before it all turned sour, the club suffering back-to-back relegations after Short cut the amount he was investing.

With the club relegated to League One last season, Short sold the club to Stewart Donald for £40million and as part of the sale, Short agreed to wipe the club's substantial £152million debts to leave it debt-free ahead of the rebuild.

Sunderland have since enjoyed a positive season, well placed in the league and in the final of the Checkatrade Trophy.

And Donald has confirmed Short, who had planned to attend the game even before he was invited to sit with Donald's party in the royal box, will be attending on Sunday afternoon.

"He phoned the club and ordered two seats and I'd heard he got the seats and he didn't think it was appropriate that he came in the royal box so I messaged him and said, 'I thought it was appropriate'.

"I would very much like him to come in the royal box with us," Donald told BBC Newcastle.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"On my dealings with him, and how he is, I know that he's got a huge passion for Sunderland and although it didn't finish well for him, he's done a massive amount for the football club and spent an awful lot of money and it just feels right that he's there so I'm pleased to say he will be in the royal box and he's accepted my invite.

"I'm delighted he will be there because I think it will be great to see him."

Donald has some sympathy with his predecessor.

"I think the biggest single thing is he didn't probably have people in situ, culturally, ultimately, spent the money like it was his," added the Sunderland owner.

"If you're going to write a cheque, you need people to care as much about that as you and if you just keep writing cheques - and people think the money can just keep coming and coming and coming - then ultimately when it doesn't go right, you turn the tap off because you just see money draining out and know the football wasn't getting better and the money was getting spent.

"I think he just thought, 'I can't do this.'"