IRISH American Ellis Short last week became the fifth American-based businessman to take a decisive stake in a Premier League football club in the past two years.
Short, a native of Missouri who resides in Dallas, now controls a 30% stake in the premiership club Sunderland which is managed by Roy Keane. Short began his career at General Electric before becoming a co-founder of found Lone Star Funds, a private equity firm based in Dallas, Texas.
Short now joins an elite group of international premier league owners. But unlike many of the other owners, he harvests no interest in the publicity that comes with a Premier League club. Short is known as a private man who has been described by others as extremely professional as well as impressive when it comes to business.
Short doesn't intend to become a piggy bank figure who can provide Sunderland with record breaking transfer deals like Roman Abramovich at Chelsea. Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn and manager Keane will remain in charge of the day to day running of the club as Short will be a major figure behind the scenes at the Premiership outfit dubbed by its fans "SunderIreland" due to the amount of Irish people involved in key areas on and off the field.
This move now seems to have offered the club financial stability as it tries to retain its Premier League status for another year. Fans will see it as a welcome move, seeing as the Irish economy has now gone into a recession which has limited the nine-man Drumaville Consortium, led by Quinn, that purchased the club from former chairman Bob Murray for $18.6 million in 2006.
Short is believed to have met members of the consortium and Quinn at the 2006 Ryder cup at the K Club in Co. Kildare. Following this meeting he took a keen interest in the ever improving Sunderland club and now owns 30%, which effectively puts him in control.
According to a source within the club Short has backed an agreement that the consortium will guarantee the club's revenue at an agreed level, thought to be in the region of 60 million, for the next two seasons, allowing Quinn to open negotiations with Keane over a new contract with certainty. If Sunderland exceed expectations the consortium will contribute less, but they will make up any shortfall if the team struggle.
Quinn said that Short and the consortium "won't put any restrictions on Roy. He is very aware of the power he has in bringing people to the club, and he will just get our backing to do that."