Why Ellis Short is giving David Moyes the freedom to overhaul Sunderland
Ellis Short celebrated long into the night with Sam Allardyce at the newly-constructed Hilton Hotel after Sunderland secured their Premier League survival.
Fuelled by a combination of adrenaline, euphoria and relief at the pivotal 3-0 victory over Everton, the pair wandered the 50 yards or so from the Stadium of Light to the Hilton bar and spent hours sampling a wide range of cocktails.
Within a dramatic four-day turnaround, Short suddenly wasn’t facing the Armageddon prospect of having to make up a £100million shortfall.
But Short was also buoyant because he felt he had finally found the right fit as Sunderland manager; a man who could take the club into the “promised land” of the Premier League’s 14th to 10th bracket.
The Sunderland chairman liked Allardyce’s predecessor Dick Advocaat, but there had been reservations over the preceding succession of managers in the dug-out.
Gus Poyet’s temperament prompted several heated phone calls with Short, while the American became suspicious of the constant pleas for further finance from Martin O’Neill and Steve Bruce.
And as for Paolo Di Canio... well, that one took care of itself.
But Allardyce altered that pattern, hence why Short was so furious when the FA came calling to poach the 61-year-old for the England hot-seat.
The appointment of David Moyes has proved to be a silver lining for Short though, with a notable revelation in the club statement that announced the Scot’s arrival.
Short admitted that he wanted Moyes prior to his previous FIVE appointments.
It was known that Moyes was on the radar before Advocaat’s U-turn last summer and again before Allardyce took the job in October, but five? That stretches all the way back to O’Neill.
“I know they’ve tried to get me a couple of times, but this time was right for me,” said Moyes.
“I was desperate to get back in amongst it.
“I wanted a challenge and I wanted to be excited by the challenge.
“There’s something about Sunderland that you genuinely feel has never reached its potential.”
Moyes’s appeal to Short is obvious, even if his last two posts at Manchester United and Real Sociedad dented his reputation.
In a decade at Everton, Moyes took an ailing club by the scruff of the neck and remoulded it into dogged top-seven regulars, and all on a modest budget.
Moyes was given licence to overhaul the Toffees by chairman Bill Kenwright and says Short has delegated him similar freedom at the Stadium of Light after penning a four-year contract.
“The owner reminds me an awful lot of Bill Kenwright,” added Moyes.
“He has been here eight or nine years and seen more managers than most clubs.
“I’ve found Ellis really easy. He’s given me the keys to the door to go and do the job.
“He allows his managers to get on with the job, as far as I know at the moment!
“And I know it’s someone who wants me to succeed here, just as Bill did.
“I think if you get that feeling about the trust then it lets a manager blossom. So often, that doesn’t happen at football clubs.
“When I started at Everton, Bill Kenwright promised me £5m a year to spend.
“Football’s moved on and I know there’ll be more than that to spend, but I know it’s not going to be like it was at Manchester United.
“The big thing is we need to feel we aren’t going to be in this league to survive every year, we have to change that.”