Short did the im­pos­si­ble – he makes Ash­ley look good

Sunday Sun - - Football -

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.

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