Kieron Brady: Sunderland’s 'huge potential' won’t be realised until Ellis Short sells and what Denis Smith really told me at Port Vale

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Sunderland’s "huge potential" won’t be realised until Ellis Short sells the club with new owners, new investment and a new ethos needed.

That’s the view of former Sunderland winger Kieron Brady who hopes for a sale soon in order to help transform the fortunes of the club, currently battling against relegation to League One.

Short, who is trying to sell the club, is at the centre of fan frustration and anger with the Black Cats struggling at the wrong end of the Championship ahead of the visit of Brentford.

Brady was a teenage sensation only for his 40-appearance spell to come to a premature end through injury.

Brady was the special guest for our weekly SAFC Facebook Live feature, discussing all things red and white and answering questions from supporters. Here are some of the highlights:

On Ellis Short and his Sunderland tenure:

Sunderland owner Ellis Short.

Sunderland owner Ellis Short.

Brady, 46, said: "He has to leave. You can point to his unprecedented financial contributions and Sunderland have broken records under his ownership but the evolution of the game allows for that.

"What is very evident now is even if you are a proponent of Ellis Short’s reign, there has to be an acceptance that he isn’t going to financially recommit.

"I hope that a sale is on the horizon sometime soon. Anybody coming in to the club is going to have to address underlying problems.

"For far too long, there has been an acceptance of mediocrity. The essential ingredients are there for the club to be potentially huge.

Former Sunderland winger Kieron Brady.

Former Sunderland winger Kieron Brady.

"That won’t be realised until new owners, new investment comes in and a new ethos.

"It has to be about people who realise the potential of the club and then set about realising it.

"That comes with significant financial contributions. If Short has put in the levels of money suggested then he has wasted so much money.

"You have to have a mentality from the top down that you won’t stop driving forward, the warning signs were there four or five years ago."

Chris Coleman watches on.

Chris Coleman watches on.

Brady added: "The absolute mess that Sunderland find themselves in at this moment in time is such that since Martin Bain came in Sunderland have been relegated once, are struggling again and yet I think if you could get an answer from Ellis Short I think he would say Martin Bain is doing a very good job based on what Ellis Short requires, that whole profile is based on Short wants out and wants money in.

"I don’t believe that is Martin Bain’s fault, he has been brought in with a specific remit.

"I think Ellis Short is completely detached now and I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t visit the Stadium of Light again."

On the dramatic 3-3 Bristol City draw and Chris Coleman’s start at Sunderland:

Brady said: "It is one thing for someone [Aden Flint] that possesses a physical presence to score a header from a set piece but if they are able to bring the ball down and effectively walk it over the line you have to look at not only the players but also the preparation.

"I know it has been said there has to be an improvement in terms of the players’ performance, I agree, I also believe there has to be a greater improvement in the performance of Chris Coleman.

Lee Cattermole wins a header at Bristol City.

Lee Cattermole wins a header at Bristol City.

"I know he is very early into his job, getting acclimatised to an ethos that predates his arrival and Grayson’s and numerous others.

"He arrived with a significant standing and when you look at his points return compared to Grayson’s it would be inconceivable that anyone could argue Grayson’s performance has been horrendous and Coleman’s exceptional.

"He has opted to work with a lot of the younger players and has been beset with injuries but you are still hoping he can get more from the experienced players."

On calls for formation switch ahead of Brentford clash:

“I can see the merits in it, nevertheless if the attitude and approach of the players taking to the field is not what it should be then formations and strategies run the risk of being redundant.

“At the home games, we need to start on the front foot - get the initiative and get the fabulous vocal support behind you, then you have a significant foothold in the game.”

On Port Vale comeback and manager Denis Smith:

The Bristol City game was the first time Sunderland had come back from 3-0 down to get any points since a 3-3 draw away at Port Vale back in October 1991.

Under-pressure Denis Smith saw his side go 3-0 down in the old Barclays League Division 2 game after 56 minutes before a Kevin Ball goal and brace from Brady rescued a point.

Brady reflected: "If you get a goal back the seeds of doubt grow in the opposition players. They start thinking ‘we can’t blow this’.

"Lee Cattermole reaped the benefits at Bristol in showing some character, Cattermole in the opposition six-yard box is not something we are accustomed to.

"Sunderland were fortuitous but made the most of it.

"When it was 3-2, I was thinking if Sunderland get an equaliser when was the last time they did that? It took me ages to remember!

"Both occasions it has been against sides that a club of this stature should not be 3-0 down to."

On what Smith said to him post-match, Brady revealed: “I missed the chance to score a hat-trick to win the game 4-3.

"I’d scored two and was subsequently told that if we had lost that day he would have lost his job.

"He came in to the dressing room and in a general way congratulated the players and then approached me on a personal basis and posed the question: ‘Am I trying to get him the sack?’

"It wasn’t said in a humorous way and it was a reflection of his attitude to me.

"I am not saying my attitude and approach was entirely professional throughout my relationship with Denis Smith.

"It was Kevin Ball who actually said to me within a few seconds ‘you’ve probably just saved him his job’.

"If I was delighted to have scored two, then you can only imagine the euphoria if I’d scored a hat-trick and we’d won 4-3 - I would have been expecting the next Roy of the Rovers instalment to be based on my achievements that day!

"I saw Denis Smith several months ago and we spoke very amicably and I wished him well. He would argue his approach was tough love, the best way to get me to respond."

* For the full discussion like our Sunderland Echo SAFC Facebook page to keep-up-to-speed with the latest news, analysis and opinion from the Stadium of Light: