Short completes Sunderland takeover: Click here
Sunderland’s new owner Ellis Short is reluctant to set concrete targets for the club but the American businessman has revealed that he is hoping to secure a top-ten finish next season.
Short has assumed complete control of the North East club after buying out the Drumaville consortium on Thursday and reports have speculated over a possible £200 million transfer kitty that will be made available to whoever replaces Ricky Sbragia.
But Short appears unwilling to drive up expectations and, after seeing The Black Cats avoid relegation on the final day of the season, harbours a more modest ambition for the North East club.
“Well Niall [Quinn, chairman] told me not to answer that and not to promise too much, but I’ll tell you what I think,” Short told the club’s official website.
“I became involved late last summer and our only real goal this year was not to get relegated, and with the money we spent last summer we probably shouldn’t have come as close as we did, but we have achieved our goal.
“What we want to do is take this good club and continue to improve it; we’ll do what we need to do this summer to get this team into a place where we can try to finish in the top ten next year.
“I don’t ever want to go through a relegation battle again and I don’t want the fans to have to go through it, I don’t want Niall to have to go through it, so what we will genuinely be trying to do with the things that Niall does this summer is to be able to finish in the top ten.
“And in the longer term we just want to continue to improve and always run things well. I don’t want to promise things and not be able to deliver but that’s genuinely what we are going to try and do.”
Short has injected substantial funds into the club since last summer and Quinn credited the American with the club’s decision to spurn a record transfer when turning down Tottenham’s £20 million offer for Kenwyne Jones in January.
Short is determined to operate behind the scenes though and will leave Quinn in control of football matters.
“Niall runs the club,” Short added. “Niall is a very smart footballer, very smart about The Premier League and is a wonderful chairman of the club who knows more about football than I ever will, so I will be in the background and Niall will be running the show.
“I’ll be involved in things like finance. With me coming in you get all of these other good ingredients that are already in place at the club and can add to that a streamlined decision making process, a streamlined board and with some financial ability to make some moves - and we think that is the missing piece that this club has needed.”