SUNDERLAND, England (AP) Sunderland's new American owner promised Thursday to provide funds to strengthen the squad and avoid another battle against relegation from the Premier League.

While Dallas businessman Ellis Short said he expects a top-half finish next season, he was advised by club chairman Niall Quinn "not to promise too much."

Short, who will assume 100 percent control of Sunderland, provided his initial investment early last season after becoming a majority shareholder.

Sunderland narrowly escaped relegation on the final day of this season, finishing 16th in the 20-team standings. Short said he can provide the "financial ability that is the missing piece that this club has needed."

"Our only real goal this year was not to get relegated, and with the money we spent last summer we probably shouldn't have come as close as we did, but we have achieved our goal," Short said. "What we want to do is take this good club and continue to improve it.

"We'll do what we need to do this summer to get this team into a place where we can try to finish in the top 10 next year. I don't ever want to go through a relegation battle again and I don't want the fans to have to go through it I don't want to promise things and not be able to deliver."

The northeast England club is looking for a new manager after Ricky Sbragia quit following Sunday's season-ending 3-2 loss to Chelsea.

Quinn will run football matters with Short providing the finances and remaining in the background.

"It's a very big club with a lot of fans, a big stadium, and lot of revenue and when you are in a position where we are where you are trying to improve it, it takes money," Short said. "But if that money is invested wisely and the personnel decisions that you make are good ones, then I'm not worried at all and I fully expect that Niall will be able to make good personnel decisions going forward."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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