clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Rambling Musings: #1 - Ellis Short's ineptitude got us into this mess, so what's he going to do about it?

His heart has been in the right place but we cannot ignore the cold hard facts, that Ellis Short has managed to run Sunderland into the ground.

Sunderland v Burnley - Premier League Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

I had a brief conversation yesterday with fellow Roker Report writer Tom Walsh about how we are both feeling about Sunderland at the minute, and it made me realise just how apathetic I am about our entire situation.

I noted that I was struggling to find the inspiration to write stuff for the site at the minute. Not because my enthusiasm for my most favourite hobby is waning, but because the week-to-week struggle of running a fan site that covers a football team who don't even score goals never mind win games is becoming increasingly difficult. There are only so many times you can talk about how shite we are before it becomes boring and repetitive, and even when the chips have been down in the past we have always had our gallows humour to fall back on. Sadly, it seems we don't even have that any more.

I've been a season ticket holder now for two decades and have seen both good and bad from Sunderland in that time, but witnessing failure is not foreign to me - nor is it to any other supporter. Anyone with half an idea of what this football club is about knows that we have immensely underachieved for the best part of eighty years.

That's what binds us as a fan base - we ride out the bad times because when the good times come, we make bloody sure that we enjoy it. We thrive on hope.

Yet this season our hope has been lost. There have been no signs of fight in the boardroom, in the dugout, on the pitch or in the stands.

I've found it difficult to put my finger on what exactly it is that I think we should worry about the most when it comes to our future. In fact, I'd bet that most of us are fearing the uncertainty of our situation off the pitch more than we are the actual prospect of relegation. Having seen us play Championship football before, it doesn't really unnerve me - it's a chance for us to take on a new challenge both as a football club and a fan site (you have to remember some of our writers rely heavily on the international coverage provided to us due to being a Premier League team) - but not knowing exactly what it is that Martin Bain, Ellis Short and David Moyes have planned for our football club worries me increasingly.

Ellis Short wants to sell Sunderland, apparently. We've not actually heard this officially from anyone at the club, but this is what we are led to believe is the truth. I think we'd all happily concede that Ellis' tenure as Sunderland owner has reached it's natural end. He's not prepared to keep pumping money in by all accounts. It's sad but understandable - he clearly got into this venture without knowing a great deal about the footballing side of the business and for much of his chairmanship he's placed trust in the wrong people, meaning that he has made some terrible financial decisions.

We're crippled financially - the extent of which should become more apparent when the annual financial reports are released in the coming weeks. Short has seemingly decided that he's not doing a good enough job, and has handed off the day-to-day running of Sunderland to a CEO who we know very little about other than that in his role at Rangers he didn't leave on the best of terms, and the supporters there still dislike him immensely because of that.

Add to that the fact that we've endured one of the worst Premier League campaigns in our recent history and that there seems to be absolutely no accountability on our manager's part, and it all leads us down a very uncertain and difficult path.

All of this combined has made going to home games tasking. It has became a chore. And I know the same can be said for most of the people stood around me at the Stadium of Light - barely anybody looks enthused about being there. The smatterings of vocal support and chanting that we used to have earlier in the season have long since gone, replaced instead by moans and jeers due to the ineptitude of what the supporters are witnessing on the pitch.

This is a fan base that has seen their team lose at home on nine occasions in the league this season. This is a fan base that haven't seen a goal scored at the Stadium of Light since Jermain Defoe got us a consolation when already 3-0 down in the first half against Stoke City in January.

January?! F**king January? Jesus, man. We haven't actually seen a home win since mid-December, when we just snuck past a Watford side who should have beaten us.

There were almost FORTY-FOUR thousand people in the Stadium of Light on Sunday. Has a Premier League club ever under-performed as often as we have yet attracted crowds as high as that?

Not that it is a badge that I wear with honour or anything. You just wonder what it is that keeps us going back.

I really didn't want to go to the game on Sunday but I inevitably did, because I always do. And I hated pretty much every minute of it. And guess what? I'll be back again next time. I briefly considered jacking in my season card as some form of mild protest but then I snapped out of it and realised there was very little point, because I'd only end up finding other way to go to the games anyways. It's like a f**king drug man.

I guess we'll just have to hold tight and see what the summer holds for us. The best case scenario is that Ellis Short sells the club soon, the new owners put in place a new manager that has ambition and a real enthusiasm for the role that he's taking on and that the club as a whole can be captivated by the prospect of wading into the Championship and throwing our weight around like we have done in the past. The worst case scenario is that nothing changes and we languish in that league just like we have done in the top flight for the last five years.

What is Ellis Short going to do about it? Well, probably nothing. He'll likely continue to lurk in the Shadows, allowing David Moyes and Martin Bain to take bullets for his poor decisions.

We might get something from Martin Bain or the manager but, in my view, that won't be good enough. At the end of the day, regardless what you think of them both, they are just the latest people to act as a front when Short's mistakes come to light.

He needs to talk to us come the end of the season, when our fate has been confirmed. He needs to be put in front of a camera and needs to answer open and honest questions about why we've managed to fail so spectacularly both on and off the pitch. He needs to tell us how he's going to ensure that this football club doesn't just continue to struggle like we have done, albeit in a lower division.

A clear statement on the future of our football club must be made. Ellis Short needs to front up and acknowledge his mistakes - and not in the form of a cleverly-worded post on the club website, but in person.

And until something like that happens, the club will continue to feel the brunt of the frustrations of supporters. Don't expect that forty-four thousand of us will still be there next season when we are playing Championship football - I'm positive that season card renewals will plummet due to the way that the Sunderland fans have been treated this year by the people at the top of the club, constantly being left wondering what it is that we are trying to achieve.

The uncertainty of our situation has bred the apathy we're currently witnessing. People have grown tired of waiting to see what it is that Bain, Moyes and Short have planned, and rightly so.