Ellis Short has responded to the first criticism of his Sunderland reign by speaking out on the club’s summer transfer business.
Sunderland supporters chanted “Are you watching Ellis Short?” during last weekend’s defeat against Norwich after becoming frustrated by the club’s modest summer spending, given £9million has been recouped by the sale of Connor Wickham.
But in his programme notes prior to today’s Stadium of Light clash with Swansea, Short responded, with several key points:
* He confirmed that he covers every annual shortfall that Sunderland make in their budget.
* Admitted too much money had been wasted during his seven years at the helm and that he had to take responsibility for that.
* Revealed the club’s total outlay this summer has been £21.5m, albeit that included the £2m compulsory purchase of Santiago Vergini, who has subsequently joined Getafe on loan.
* Hit back at former Sunderland defender Micky Gray, who had branded Short a “liar” in interviews this week.
Short said: “The amount that I fund every season exceeds the collective total amount funded by every owner Sunderland has ever had since the club was formed in 1879.
“I have done this willingly as I want us to be more than a club that simply exists in the top flight.
“Has the money been spent effectively? No - that much is clear and ultimately that is my fault.
“But it is not a result of a lack of ambition or commitment.
“To date this summer, we have committed £21.5m in transfer fees and remain hopeful that there is still more business to be done before the window closes on September 1.
“Finally, Michael Gray made quite a serious accusation claiming that I have lied to supporters.
“I have not. Michael Gray should admit that he was wrong.”