Niall Quinn has defended Sunderland's Irish American owner Ellis Short after a blistering attack from former boss Roy Keane in an Irish Times interview. The Corkman claimed in Saturday's paper that his position at the Stadium of Light was always going to be "short term" once Short became the club's majority shareholder last summer. "I felt Short was thinking from the start that I wasn't for him," said Keane. "We had sat down with him a couple of times, Niall and I. I went down to London to meet him twice. I thought, hmm, the dynamics are changing here. "He said he had read my book. He sort of knew this wasn't going to be a long-term relationship." Relations between Keane and Short - and ultimately Keane and Sunderland - came to a head just days after the defeat to Bolton last November. Keane ignored a series of calls from the Irish American investor after the game before he eventually engaged in a hot and heavy call with Short that prompted his resignation. "It started with a demand to know where I had been the previous day, that he wanted me available at all times," revealed Keane. "It was a disappointment. Then there were accusations about how often I came in, about moving my family up. And it was the tone." As Keane's remarks were making the headlines around the world, Quinn was defending Short and praising his investment in the north east club at a vital time last summer when the Drumaville Consortium were coming under financial pressure. "Ellis Short is vital," Quinn told the club's website www.SAFC.com. "But because he doesn't like publicity, Sunderland fans aren't aware how important he is. "He came on board before the summer transfer window, and at that point Drumaville had reached a crossroads in as much as the recession had hit Ireland far worse and far more quickly than anyone had anticipated. "In their primary business the Irish consortium were making people redundant and it was difficult for them to keep funding the club. "So Ellis was invited in and he took up a shareholding in the club. The Drumaville guys played their part too and did not take the money Ellis put in. "That money went to buy players and without Ellis coming on board we would not have any of those players. The fact of the matter is that Ellis was a vital part of the club's growth at a critical juncture.
"I can say quite unequivocally that without Ellis Short we would not be in the position we are in today." Current Sunderland defender George McCartney has also claimed that the players lacked confidence under Keane, and also hinted that the manager had lost the dressingroom towards the end of his reign. "We had a shaky period under Roy Keane when we didn't win for about seven matches, which dragged us towards relegation," McCartney told the Sunderland Echo. "I think, under Roy Keane, the lads were a bit disheartened and he went about things differently from the way Ricky Sbragia does. He's given the lads self-belief again." Keane's latest interview - when he revealed he attended the recent Super Bowl in Tampa - also claimed that his relationship with Quinn deteriorated after the arrival of Short as the club's main shareholder, and came to a head in a conversation after the Bolton defeat. "Quinn was talking about the players needing to come into work with a smile. That concerned me," Keane told The Irish Times. "When I became a manager, Niall became a chairman. I always believed we were working together. It worked well. I couldn't have faked that if I didn't feel it working. "I was more comfortable with Drumaville. I never saw them after matches, I think, but they stuck to what agreement we had. "But I never believed from the start that Short thought it was going to work. Without a shadow of a doubt the American fella would have been on Niall's case." Keane has also revealed that he wants to get back into management, and is finally prepared to up roots from Manchester for the right job. "I'd be happy to go anywhere. I would be happy to manage a Championship club," said Keane. "I'm happy to move house. I'm not tied to Manchester.