Short did the impossible – he makes Ashley look good
the league it has (dropped into, League One). It’s like a death wish to sell a keeper (Jordan Pickford) for £30m and spend £1(.25)m (as Sunderland did in the transfer market during the summer of 2017).
“You couldn’t write a script. Some of those players (from last season) should not be at this football club.
“The chairman didn’t come to the games, he didn’t talk to the players, didn’t treat the players right, he didn’t buy them presents, didn’t meet their wives. Go down the road and see a proper chairman - (Middlesbrough’s) Steve Gibson.
“Ellis Short makes (Newcastle United chairman) Mike Ashley look good. I don’t think that, I know (it).”
Murray also oversaw Sunderland’s relegation into English football’s third tier, in 1987 shortly after taking control. But the club he took over had a decaying stadium and no infrastructure to speak of, in complete contrast to the one he handed Quinn in 2006.
“There’s two things I’ll never forgive him (Quinn) for - he brought Mags Byrne in (initially as company secretary and legal director, then chief executive under Short) and he brought Ellis Short in,” said Murray.
Short employed 11 Sunderland managers in his decade as chairman.
“Who would give (Paulo) Di Canio a job like that?” said Murray. “Who would appoint Di Canio and not ring me and say, ‘What do you think, Bob?’
“Who can say Martin O’Neill’s no good. How is he no good? Steve Bruce is a bit like Mick (McCarthy), he’s got a job for life. He’ll always gets a club, Stevie. How’s he no good?
“How are all these people no good? (Chris) Coleman - how’s he no good?
“I think these lads (Donald and coinvestors Charlie Methven and Juan Sartori) have taken a risk coming in.
“I don’t know them that well but I’ve to successor Niall had conversations and I keep in touch with Tony (Davison, the managing director, who worked in the marketing department during Murray’s time) and I want them to succeed. I would love them to be successful.”
There are echoes of Murray’s attitude in the way Donald has tried to run the Black Cats.
“I opened the club up to everybody - that’s the way I did it and I’m pleased the new people are looking at it the same way,” said Murray, the founder of the Foundation of Light charity which grew out of his football club. The club’s to be shared, it belongs to the people.”
Symbolic of that attitude has been the replacement of 31,000 seats by volunteer supporters since Donald took over. The faded seats had become a symbol of how unloved the club and its home had become under Short. Hopefully their replacement signals a new direction more in keeping with Murray’s vision.