THE vast majority of Sunderland fans think that Ellis Short’s performance as owner and chairman last season was pretty much beyond reproach.
The American hugely outscored Martin O’Neill in the Echo Survey 2013 and was also rated comfortably ahead of Paolo Di Canio.
By and large, Sunderland fans felt that, both in terms of the money he made available to his manager and in his decision to axe O’Neill and appoint Di Canio, he could hardly be faulted.
His most popular mark out of 10 in our survey was eight, although his second most popular mark was 10!
The other highest scores in the survey were seven and nine, with only a smattering of supporters rating him less than five out of 10.
John Lowe, of Petersfield, who was one of those who gave Short 10 out of 10, said: “He hired O’Neill – right choice; he fired O’Neill – right choice
“He hired Di Canio – seems to be inspired choice at this stage – and he spent quite a bit of cash! It was not his fault many of the players flopped!”
Phil Randle, of Boldon, was another of the “perfect 10s”, saying: “He coughed up massive amounts of money and was decisive in bringing in Di Canio.
“Having a chairman that doesn’t tolerate ineptitude is a good thing.”
And even the eight out of 10s sang his praises.
Phil Watson, of Sunderland, said: “It was a very brave decision to sack O’Neill and an even braver one to employ Paulo Di Canio but it paid off. Fair play!”
Ian Thompson, of Langley Park, commented: “He seems to have an excellent business head on him and he’s not afraid to take the big decisions.”
David Kay, of West Rainton, said: “No-one can have a go at Short for getting rid of O’Neill and, at the time, Di Canio was the only decent manager to go for. I would have hated Steve McClaren or Mark Hughes.”
America-based Tony Mackey said: “He’s a class act – his only mistake was being too loyal to Martin O’Neill.”
There were a few detractors, but not many, and their criticisms centred around his perceived aloofness, not sacking O’Neill sooner and sanctioning some of O’Neill’s signings.