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Former Sunderland owner Sir Bob Murray kicks reet off - calls Short “most awful man in football”

In an appearance last night on BBC Radio Newcastle’s Total Sport show, former Sunderland owner Bob Murray didn’t hold back with his thoughts on Ellis Short, Stewart Donald and the way that the club has been run prior to KLD’s arrival.

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Sir Bob - whose legacy undoubtedly includes the building and delivery of the Stadium of Light, Academy of Light and Beacon of Light facilities on Wearside - has often spoken out in dismay at the running of the club since he left in 2006.

When the topic of absentee owners and the failed attempt of a European Super League arose whilst chatting with Marco Gabbiadini, Murray was quick to point out that one of his predecessors would have probably been up for getting involved:

[Ellis] Short would’ve taken the gold, there’s no doubt about it.

He didn’t get anything about the North-East or it’s people or its legacy or the game.

He didn’t understand one thing.

The topic then moved around to the ownership of the club, and what went wrong after he departed. Murray, as you can imagine, isn’t happy with the way things were handled - calling Short “the worst man in football”, and Stewart Donald & Charlie Methven “a couple of chancers”:

The only thing that is important about your club is who owns it, that’s the only thing that’s important. We’ve had two disastrous owners.

I sold the club to Niall for nothing and then when the crash came in 2008, [the club] went to the most awful man in football and he ends up in my club and I can’t do anything about that.

And then he does everything wrong, and then it goes to a couple of chancers.

Sunderland v Blackburn Rovers Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

He was, however, more complimentary about the current owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus - and has said that he’s spoken on numerous occasions with the 24-year-old:

Our owner now, I really like him. I’m going to support this young man; I’m going to do everything he would ask me. I’m going to get behind him and I’m not going to get involved but I would do anything I can to move that club forward.

He’s reached out to me, we’ve had quite a few long conversations, we’ve got meetings arranged and I’m going to a game with him, he’s saying all the right things.

He added, though, that the club has been “raped” - though thinks Dreyfus will do the right thing by the club and the people of Sunderland:

That club is smashed, Academy level and everything. It’s been absolutely raped; it’s not going to turn around in a day but at least it’s turned around. It’s got no young players, it’s got no legacy, it’s got no structure. It’s been absolutely wrecked.

It’s been very hard for me. I’ve worked for 20 years to build that club up to where we were and I’ve had people in my club and I could see they were doing it all wrong; I could see their motives.

This young man is very intelligent, he’s got good people around him, he’s got a vision – he’s certainly worth my time.

Hull City v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One - KCOM Stadium Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images

Sir Bob, of course, is the chairman of the board of Trustees at the Foundation of Light, and reflected on the direction of the charitable organisation as it heads into its 20th year:

It’s been difficult at times. The football side has spilled over; we’ve lost vast income because we’re longer a Premier League club. Obviously Ellis Short didn’t get it, he worked against the foundation actively.

This shows the future of our club [under KLD], this wouldn’t have happened last year.

This is a sign, he gets it, he likes the foundation. He understands the need of our people. He fully gets what it’s all about. We’ve got 150 people there, it’s a great asset and what we do at the foundation is needed now more than ever.

You can listen to the episode in full on BBC Sounds by clicking here.


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