ELLIS Short’s vision of the future is a world where Sunderland are not only a permanent fixture in the Premier League but a side continually battling away at the right end of the division.
The American was outlining his hopes for the club he owns in what was only his second public appearance since buying the club outright in 2008.
And he believes that the backing of Sunderland’s full support is absolutely crucial to taking the club to the next level.
Echoing Niall Quinn’s calls for supporters to ensure the stadium continues to attract big crowds, he said: “I’ve been surprised that attendances have been down while we’ve been doing better.
“And I’ve been worried that perhaps, with my financial support, supporters didn’t feel it was important for them to support the club anymore.
“But nothing could be further from the truth.
“The financial support has helped to pull the club up from a yo-yo club to an established club, to where we are now.
“But, going forward, we will be relying heavily on the support of the fans.
“Niall has said we want a full stadium, not because we want the money from the supporters but because we want the atmosphere and he’s absolutely right.
“When that stadium is full, when it’s noisy, passionate it’s an intimidating place to play, it makes the team play better.
“It causes us to win more, so you get more Premier League points, finish higher in the table and therefore earn more TV money.
“That’s the financial impact of great support.
“More than that, it makes a statement.
“Look at the game against Liverpool – it was shown around the world and what the world sees is a packed stadium of passionate supporters.
“And the world will get the message that this is a serious, serious football club.
“I was particularly happy about the Liverpool game and the attendance.
“It was a Sunday game, early on Sunday, it was shown legally on TV and yet it was a sell-out. I feel proud to be part of something like that.”
Outlining his hopes if things go well on the pitch and in the stands, he said: “We need to improve every year and while we’re doing that, we want to make sure that long-term the club is healthy on the pitch and financially.
“The first goal is never to get relegated again and the second goal is to try to always finish well into the top 10.
“It’s a great club with great support and we’re all going to do our best.
“I’m not quite sure what we can achieve, but we will try our hardest to have a team that is good, hard to beat, respected in the football world and one that we can be very proud to support.
“Steve Bruce is building a young, quality squad and you can also tell we’re better by our performances.
“We’ve had some fantastic performances, performances to be proud of, and we’re getting a reputation as a team that is hard to beat.
“So, overall, I’m happy. I don’t think any other teams take us lightly, especially at the Stadium of Light.
“Numerically, we are in a higher league position than we’ve been in the past and if you look on the pitch you’ll see clearly a better team than we’ve been in the past and one with more depth.”