ELLIS Short wants to make Sunderland a permanent fixture in the Premier League's top ten - and believes the biggest sponsorship deal in the club's history shows they mean business.
The Black Cats have announced a two-year deal with not-for-profit business initiative Invest in Africa, a partnership which will see them play with the organisation’s logo on their shirts from the start of next season.
The club see the sponsorship deal as a key part of their attempts to turn Sunderland into a global brand.
One partner in the Invest in Africa organisation claimed the increased exposure can help the Black Cats become the “biggest club in Africa.”
The new sponsorship deal is a sign of a club in rude health off-the-field, but on it Short admits to disappointment at finishing in 13th place last season.
Although determined to bring stability through gradual improvement, he admits the bottom-half finish is “not good enough” and knows the pressure is on to improve next term.
He said: “The first step is getting into the Premier League – we are there. The next step is staying in it and the next step after that is being considered an established Premier League team.
“There is a lot of pressure, not just to stay in the Premier League but to improve. We are not happy with finishing 13th – we are not happy at all - but we realise you need steady progress, you need continual progress.
“We do not want to finish seventh twice in a row and get relegated the next season, which has happened in the past.
“We do feel with Martin, and with the progress we have made, we are well-positioned.
“We want to be well within the top ten – we cannot promise that but we are not happy with where we are and we do want to continue to improve.
“Yes, there is a huge pressure to do so – both from the fans’ expectations and from the sheer size of the economics involved in the Premier League.”