DAVID MOYES has admitted he could have turned down the Sunderland job in the summer had he known about Ellis Short’s plans to sell and tighten the purse strings – even though he will not walk away from the Stadium of Light.
In an honest and frank pre-match press conference, the Black Cats boss has outlined a determination to keep Premier League football on Wearside despite suggesting that the job he was sold is not what he expected.
When Moyes took over from Sam Allardyce in July he spoke candidly about his plans to revive the fortunes at Sunderland under the chairmanship of Short after hearing of the plans to keep improving.
It has since become clear Short has actively looked to sell the club, having already bankrolled the club by ploughing in his own money in a bid to help at a time when the debts have spiralled to more than £140m.
It is those turn of events which have ended with Moyes being told there will be no cash available in the January transfer window, at a time when Sunderland are in desperate need of results in the battle to climb off the foot of the table.
Asked if he would have taken the job in the summer had he known more about the situation, Moyes said: “I would have had to have thought a lot more about it. Sunderland always had an appeal to me, but if I had known about the situation I would have needed to look at it in a different way, because at the end of the day I want to manage in the Premier League.”
He added: “I’m disappointed, disappointed that I will not be able to do some work in January and try to build on what we’ve done. There have been some shoots of improvement but we need to give the players a lift as well. Now, we need to get in a huddle and stick together.”
Sunderland’s shoots of recovery have been hit once again by the news German midfielder Jan Kirchhoff is facing three months out with ligament damage to his knee.
But Moyes suggested he has got his head around the fact there will be a lack of finances available, plus the uncertainty surrounding the ownership of the club, and that he is focused on achieving his targets.
He said: “I have not been tempted to walk because I saw some steel from the players and a belief in what they are doing. The players didn't know anything about this (situation) either.
“I have thought to myself, ‘I came here to do a job’ and the first job is to keep us up. After that I always said the bigger job was to build the club up. I have a lot of respect for the chief executive who was big and brave enough to say it how it is to the supporters and everyone here.”
Short admitted after the appointment of Moyes he had finally landed his man at the fifth attempt but has since gone on to try to sell the club.
The Sunderland boss said: “I find that difficult because I was saying I have come here to improve the club. I don’t want to be here and be a team at the bottom.
“This club has the infrastructure, the stadium, incredible support of 40,000 crowds, some of the biggest in Europe. That is the appeal of Sunderland. And I knew the owner wanted me here a long time.
“It is a bigger challenge (than what I thought) because of the situation the club are in at the moment and because of the situation I have been put in. So it is a bigger job (than expected).”
Moyes is trying to remain positive and thinks Sunderland as a club can become stronger and greater if it emerges from this period with Premier League status intact.
Sunderland face Watford at the Stadium of Light today, Moyes said: “It gives me something to look at. If we can get everyone pulling 100 per cent together and say, ‘Come on, you’re in it now, this is what we’ve got. Let’s pull together, give 100 per cent in the games. Patch yourself up whether you’re injured or not and get out.’
“Sometimes that can galvanise you as well. That’s what we have to try to do.
“There is a frustration with it but I am going to stand up stick my chest up and get on with it. I’m going to fight for it and I expect everyone else at the club to do the same.
“I think it would be a good achievement to stay up. Other managers have done it here and I have to as well - but my task might be slightly harder.
“The way the money levels have gone in the Premier League, if you want to be there then you need a bit of help. I would hope that we can find a way of giving us a chance of having a go at it.”