Ellis Short hit back at ‘made up’ accusations that he no longer cares about the fate of Sunderland, and laid out his goal to get the Black Cats competing in the top half of the Premier League again.
In a rare interview with the club website, owner Short said he had been heavily involved with the decision to sack Simon Grayson and admitted that the club is in ‘crisis’.
He said: “We’ve obviously got a bit of a crisis to solve right now. When things are going this poorly, lots of things become issues, maybe things which shouldn’t be.
“I was very involved in that decision [to sack Grayson].
“It is an important decision. I talked with Martin (Bain, the chief executive) about it, probably daily as things got bad.
“I know it is in the press that I don’t care anymore and don’t get involved, but that’s simply not true – that’s reporters guessing or making something up.
“I’m as involved as I’ve ever been. It’s true that I’m not physically at as many games, which is really a function of being more involved with my business life and my family spending more time in the US.
“But I’m watching, I’m paying attention, and, to answer the question you sing at me, mainly during the really bad games, yes, I’m watching.
“Also, I’m involved financially. I put a significant amount of new capital into the club this summer.
“Now that didn’t go in to buy new players, it went in to cover losses from our mistakes of the past.”
The Sunderland owner also said he retains hope that, under his stewardship, the club can replicate the successive seventh-place finished under Peter Reid in 2000 and 2001.
He said: “The first order of business is to get ourselves out of this problem, improve the performances and move up the table.
“After that, we need to continue to get stronger and get back into the Premier League as quickly as we can.
“This club belongs in the Premier League and that’s where we want to be.
“After that, we’ll go back to my original goal when we were in the Premier League, and that is that we should be trying to finish seventh place every season.
“There are six clubs with revenues much higher than ours as a function of better sponsorship, much higher ticket prices, higher attendances, but we should be fighting for that seventh spot.
“A good season, maybe fifth or six. A bad season? Maybe 10th or 12th.”