Niall Quinn: love is never having to say ‘I despise you’

de·spise? ?
–verb (used with object), -spised, -spis·ing.
to regard with contempt, distaste, disgust, or disdain; scorn; loathe.

Among all the responses to the Salut! Sunderland piece on Theo Walcott’s admission that he had dived in the hope of stealing a penalty, this struck me as a genuinely nice – and totally unrelated – line from Matthew Wade, an Arsenal fan: “The mighty Quinn still has an element of cult-hero-ness down here.”

Sunderland supporters, of course, have huge affection for big Niall. For many, it’s practically a love story in which both parties show commitment and loyalty.

As with most relationships, of course, there are downs as well as ups, with faults on both sides. Niall wasn’t much of a manager, he escaped by the skin of his teeth after at first failing to make proper replacement for Roy Keane and he occasionally gets a call wrong.

I am fairly sure he would thank no one for thrusting sainthood upon his shoulders. But we all know the pluses massively outweigh the odd negative: fabulous player for us, worth at least 50 per cent of the great partnership with SuperKev, passionate about his adopted area, part of a superb leadership striving to bring real succes to Sunderland AFC.

He is also highly articulate in a sport where we sometimes look to men from outside the English-speaking world to express themselves well in our own language.

Which makes it all the more surprising that Niall should have chosen the word “despise” to describe people who stay away from the Stadium of Light and watch games instead in pubs showing dodgy channels from overseas.

He has every right to be concerned. The losses for each home game run into many thousands of pounds. After what had been a good run, the Chelsea game should have drawn close to a sell out crowd, not a measly 38,000; the game was not televised in the ordinary way but it is a fair bet that many pubs on Wearside managed to screen it from whatever foreign channel they could find.

Over to Niall:

”I would never criticise anyone who doesn’t come to the stadium because of financial constraints, but I despise those who spend far more than the price of a ticket watching some overseas commentator describing the action at the nearby Stadium of Light.”

Well for a start, you’d have to sink an awful lot of ale to spend more than even the very reasonable prices charged at the SoL (starting at £23 and £29 for adults for the Spurs and Liverpool home games).

Many of us still feel there is nothing to compare with the stadium experience. The sad truth is that there are plenty of people who do consider themselves supporters but greatly prefer the pub option, spending maybe a tenner on drinks, than attending the game, especially if they cannot afford seats with better views. And since going to the pub is not yet an unlawful activity, they can hardly be blamed if the pub sticks a Sunderland game on the big screen.

Niall still has a point; it is disappointing that so many fans who could get to the ground, and would not be left destitute by buying tickets, choose instead to watch currently illegal broadcasts down the pub.

But is despise – see the harsh definition above – really the right word? If it is precisely what Niall meant, that would also be something of a disappointment. I just hope he meant something less severe.

Monsieur Salut

29 thoughts on “Niall Quinn: love is never having to say ‘I despise you’”

  1. “Despise” was indeed chosen by Niall Quinn – following a great deal of discussion with the press office.

    He wanted to use such a strong phrase to get his message across and get the debate going. I know it has angered some supporters.

    You can hear Niall’s thoughts on this tonight from 5.30pm on BBC Newcastle in the Total Sport show and again in the build-up to the match with Spurs tomorrow.

    Niall has been talking to Nick Barnes and “despise” is raised a number of times in the interview.

    Martin Emmerson

  2. A journalist should ask Quinny this weekend if he personally wrote the press release that used the word ‘despised’ or was it something ghosted by the corporate communications department? Obviously one would think that anything that goes out under his name, would have to be okayed by him but let’s hear it from the his own mouth. I would be extremely surprised if he used such a strong adjective about people he wants to woo back to the SoL as antagonism is not the way to deal with this issue. Colin, could someone of your acquaintance ask the question?

  3. Spot on davros. Clubs struggle to qualify for the Europa League and then field weakened teams in games that their own fans don’t want to pay good money to watch. The club then say that the PL is the most important competition, which they struggle to finish higher so that they can qualify for the Europa League and field weakened teams etc………..

    That is the state of it. You’re dead right. It’s a bloody mess!

  4. After all’s said and done, don’t you think it’s just a sign of the times?
    Man city have their best team in my lifetime yet rarely fill the ground. Man utd have season tickets on open sale and now advertise to sell match tickets to try and sell out….. which was unheard of not so long ago. Liverpool don’t sell out anymore, and neither do Celtic and Rangers.
    Surely if the club offered a kid for a quid they would recoup the revenue via the club shop and catering. Benefits are that no one minds kids getting cheap tickets… are getting the next generation of supporters in early and are boosting revenue which wouldn’t otherwise be there.They did it at Man City once last season for a Europa game and they were queuing around the ground to get tickets and instead of the usual 25000 for a Europa game they sold out. 🙂

  5. Great idea in principle, but I’m afraid you’re way more liklely to see Tony D give up fags than see the likes of Darren Bent agreeing to sacrifice part of his income!!

  6. DaveyB. Wonderful suggestion mate. It wouldn’t even need to be as high a percentage as you suggest, but a great idea.

  7. I don’t care what Quinn says or how he says it ; he has every right to voice his opinion , we can’t say he hasn’t earned it !

    How about this for an idea : the players earn exorbitant amounts , compared to the vast majority of supporters – why not have some scheme (i’m sure they can ccome up with some tax avoidance scheme) whereby the players , once a month or whatever donate 15 to 20 % of their wages / bonus etc towards a ticket subsidy scheme
    The amount raised could go towards kids tickets – or as mentioned previously , unemployed ot hardship tickets – you could increase the gate by 6,000 at a stroke

    Davey’s pipedream

  8. One of the best debates we have seen at Salut! Sunderland. Thanks for the continuing quality of responses.

    I know the corporate approach of the club is to be dismissive and even contemptuous of piddling little fan sites and fanzines; this is not a peculiarly SAFC trait but applies generally in football.

    But I nevertheless hope that Niall, a warm and open-minded fella among the many virtues that make us admire him, sees the views that have been expressed here, not least because they come so overwhelmingly from people who wish him and Sunderland well.

  9. To be fair Nialls comments were always going to court controvesy, and i must congratulate the eloquence of the responses. My reasons for not going are probably going to be bizarre to some readers but there you are, I was a sports bar ticket holder for around seven years but when they banned smoking completely within the stadium my thoughts were, Hmm, spend a thousand pounds a year and have my rights whipped away from me, no thanks, so, although I respect Quinny to the heavens I am afraid I have to accept the fact that he despises me, its much easier to nip out the pub for a tab than go out the stadium.

  10. BB you are right it is absolutely reasonable to be concerned about stay away fans. As an exile and pensioner I am one who cannot afford the travel and the cost of the Black Cats ticket for two of us, as I need a lift facility being unable to climb the stairs. The consequence is I get to SOL about four times a year and more often that is not affordable as it involves me in over £300 per trip with accommodation food and fuel. So I support at away matches in the Midlands when I can get tickets often HAVING TO SIT WITH THE HOME SUPPORTERS.

    We all know that absenteeism is a problem that we need to try to resolve but in true Quinn fashion a classic case of Foot In Mouth might be guaranteed to ruffle a few feathers

  11. Surely we should all know by now that Quinny speaks from the heart, and occasionally whimsically, with his tongue firmly in his cheek. Seems to me he was merely venting his frustration at the relatively poor (by our own standards, by the way) attendances. Some will say it is the economic climate, but it doesn’t seem to be affecting our neighbours from the dark side. Surely they’re not better supporters!!

    I live near London and I’ve a mate who’s a Spurs supporter – even he was ribbing me a few weeks ago about stay-away fans. I don’t know what the problem is so I sure don’t have an answer, but I do know that SAFC are in a better place now to fulfil potential, than since the early part of the 20th century.

  12. What a heart warming and lovely posting that is Alan. Absolutely first class.

    I do not have the slightest issue with the sentiment that he was trying to express. However, he must remember that there were thousands of us around supporting this club when it really was in doldrums, for a great many years before he arrived. Doubtless there will be many of the people that he has condemned who will be there for years after he departs. Certainly my comments were not meant as any sort of criticism for all the good that he has done. In this instance however he has involved himself in something bigger and broader than the attendances on a Saturday afternoon. He has risked alienating the people that he says he wants to attract. Regardless of character and his achievements he’d be wise to learn from this.

  13. Niall is a believer, he has shown commitment and durability in lifting our club from the depths of ignominy to a respectable position, thus far, in a season where, once again, we have been beset by injury. He has, through his contacts, engineered the initial bail out and then a more stable and committed angel to support the club’s resurgence. In addition he has finally attracted a manager who is making a half decent fist of the job, for the first time, since that endearing reprobate Peter Reid who gave us back a TASTE FOR GREATER THINGS and then lost his way without adequate backing from the then board.

    All the soundly based arguments, both for and against, are of little relevance, for one reason alone and that is that Niall is Irish. A wild and joy filled race who love to party, drink, fight, argue or if your prefer it debate but most of all chatter with a relish often saying whatever comes into their mind at a given moment in time.

    For many in the Isle of Green tact is not a long suit and of all the people who sit in a seat of power few can have been relied upon more than Quinny to speak out, when discretion would require that he maintain, in public, a discreet silence. Time and again he has discussed the spending power available to the club, when any negotiator would know that the last thing you want to do is let the vendor know how much you can spend.

    The faux pas de Quinn is a fundamental part of his nature and is as much a part of his character as breathing. The saying love me, love my dog, is the only way any serious Sunderland supporter can view our hero because, like it or not, he will not change, indeed if he did he would not be the person so many of us respect, warts and all. No matter what any of us say, or think, we will not change Niall Quinn, he is his own man and by now there should be little doubt that whatever his areas of weakness may or may not be, his heart is in the right place.

  14. I’m exiled in Germany and my neighbour can’t get his head round why you can’t watch a live game at 3pm on a Saturday in the UK. I told him it was to protect attendances during the main match schedule.

    You can watch any 1st or 2nd Bundesliga game live here legally using the ‘red-button’ if you have Sky Deutschland (or your local does) but attendances at their games are among the healthiest in Europe. I’ve been to a number of stadiums for games over here (HSV, FC St Pauli, Bremen and FC Koeln, 70,000+ at Dortmund among others) and they’ve always been packed to the rafters and a great atmosphere despite being live on TV. I have to say I’ve often been a tad envious, maybe it’s something to do with the fact you can have a pint in your seat during the game or the reasonable ticket prices 🙂 You never see people streaming out before the end either, another one of Niall’s bug-bears.

    More lessons for the English game to be learned from ruthless German efficiency me thinks.

    Another thought: someone or some TV company is paying for those pictures in the first place – be it in Greece or somewhere else. If it knocks a few thousand off the gate how does that balance out with what some channel is paying for the rights? Or am I wrong? Judging by the quality of some of the stuff I’ve seen they could be broadcasting from a mobile phone in someones top pocket.

  15. I think the one thing that needs to be considered is that the club has no god given right to expect x number of supporters to pay whatever fee they wish to charge them, albeit if the price is below the premier league average. It is up to the club to earn that support through entertaining football and respect shown to the fans, something of which has happened only in the last few seasons and for possibly only the second time in the last 30-40 years.

    When I first started going to the games in the late 80’s the average attendances (correct me if I am wrong, I was only 8)were circa 20,000 and not the 40,000 and 50,000 now expected (similarly at Newcastle) and which continued for the most part of the 90’s. We didnt achieve attendances of 40,000+ until we acheived modest success in the premier league following two 7th position premier league seasons. This was quickly followed with the huge embarrassment of twice being named the worst premier league team in history (beating our own record on one occasion, and only being recently beat to this record by Derby). I believe people do not give this enough credit for our fans cynicism.

    At the end of the day football is an entertainment sport and its only the support and loyalty shown by its fans that allows a club to exist and employ some of the luckiest people on the planet to play a sport professionally. It angers me when people state that football is only a short career and that they deserve all the money they get (I must add that I dont blame them for doing so – its the clubs which needs to be stronger). Why cant footballers who often retire between the ages of 30-40 years old work beyond these years? Perhaps if the clubs didnt allow footballers to hold them to ransom the wage bill would not be so high and the footballers would thus show more loyalty to the clubs and fans who employ them as there would be greater reliance on long term contracts as in the past and in turn the football clubs would be able to charge lower fees which would see higher gates du to affordability and remove the clubs reliance upon the likes of Sky TV. The reliance upon money in the game these days has removed the soul from the game for me, even though I still choose to turn up week in week out and have done so for over 20 years, most often at huge dissapointment, though I have waivered and the lure to spend my money on more entertaining things is becoming more and more tempting.

    Maybe the power is shifting back to the fans and for the good of the game, but only time will tell.

  16. Funnily enough Terry that’s pretty much the situation that I am in too (and presumably Martin) with Setanta Canada offering a comparatively cheaper and more comprehensive coverage of live and delayed games (in full) over the course of a weekend.

    It doesn’t make any difference when you are over here because it’s very rare that you get the chance to go and see our games in the flesh.

    I’m really not sure what Sky are going to do about this. If a pub can get these channels down for next to nothing, then it’s only a matter of time before people cotton on (if they haven’t already) to getting a wok in the window to tap into these moody channels.

    The times they are a changing!

  17. Posting earlier I said that the genie was out of the bottle regarding on-line streaming of football matches. I’m not sure football clubs understand it, nor can embrace it, like say, the music world have done.

    It’s here to stay. The ruling due on Karen Murphy, the publican down here in Pompey, and her pub’s subscription to a legitimate Greek broadcaster across Europe should be a wake up call. It’s available in Europe, and should be in the UK, to paid-up subscribers.

    Sky can shout all they want about it but the reality is, they’ll be the last ones to lose out. They’ll go into a strong position when the rights for live streaming are offered up for grabs. And they will go for them in front of, or behind, the scenes.

    The European market for PL football is weak. We can pretend it isn’t but that’s just Sky, fondling themselves. Spain, Germany, Italy, France have strong domestic markets and they hold their own on TV, within their own. About 70% of Sky’s income is from the far east and America. That’s the area they concentrate on and that’s where most of the feeds to hooky TV channels are tapped for distribution.

    Sky are the only single company in the world with the infrastructure to gather the rights for Euro TV and run the business, live 3 o’clock kick offs etc. the lot, unless someone creates a European super-TV company to gather all the rights of the individual countries and protect/broadcast them .

    The football clubs have taken the king’s shilling and will do as they are told, but there’s a storm coming. They have to find a solution to their problem. A person like myself could pay £40 and never miss a game, home or away, in the comfort of my own home, for two seasons.

    For the times, they are a’changing.

  18. Davros – I hereby nominate you to be SAFC’s global diplomat for your ability to force a point home. Wow – you really know how to put some stink on it don’t you?

    Either that or you should think about becoming an anti-tantrum consultant for Toys -r -Us.

  19. More top class postings from both Martin and Studig.

    I can see why NQ may feel a bit embarrassed at the 38K. He has no reason to feel embarrassed at all. I understand your comments about hanging on his every word. However, it would have been easy to ignore it, and to suggest that he meant something else by it. That’s the world we live in and it’s a strange term to use; that he “despises” people because they watch football in the pub. Let me say I’ve never been someone that has had the slightest interest in watching games on a telly in a crowd. It doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest, and never has.

    It’s beyond us all to conclude definitively that the same people that he’s talking about would actually be in the stadium if the match wasn’t on the television. I’m not sure how many pubs have these games showing and how many people turn up. I really don’t know. The reality is of course that the television rights are what has produced the massive cash revenue of recent years. You can’t have it all ways. Now that it’s legal to watch Slovak or Greek channels on a Saturday then he’s just going to have to lump it and get on with it.

    I know that if I wasn’t going to the match on a Saturday that it wouldn’t be because I was going down the pub to watch it.

  20. Our support can be broken down like this:
    HARDCORE SUPPORTERS: 16,000….go to meaningless friendlies, and crappy carling cup games against league 2 opposition on a wet and cold tuesday night.
    GOOD SUPPORTERS: 20,000…. go to most games, but wouldn’t really be arsed to go to the aforementioned games.
    CASUAL SUPPORTERS:….not too fussed about going to the match, but will go to the big games. Would prefer to spend their hard earned down the boozer.

    This, in my opinion, is where Niall has got it absolutely wrong. He’s pleading to, and insulting people, who don’t give a toss either way about going to the match! Because these people are casual supporters, it wouldn’t matter if we were top of the league, and had Lionel Messi playing for us……THEY’RE CASUAL SUPPORTERS!!!……THEY’RE NOT BOTHERED!!!….THEY’ED RATHER GO TO THE PUB!!!!!…….and they’re WELL WITHIN THEIR RIGHTS to do so….without getting lectured off Mr Quinn every time the gate falls below 40,000!!

    If Niall wants to see the ground full…let the kids and the unemployed in for a quid.
    If Niall wants to see the ground full, get some heating in the concourse, cut the exhorbitant food and drink prices. and cut the admission prices.
    If Niall wants to see the ground full, he has to tempt the casual fan. Maybe he should trying using a carrot, and stop waving his big stick about!

    And before anyone starts having a go, I’m one of the hardcore! I’ve only missed three home games in forty years…..including ****ty carling cup games, and friendlies!

  21. I think quinn spoke out of turn with the word despise, and im sure he regrets that choice. However, i agree with him that the fans should be turing up in greater numbers.

    His vitriol no doubt revolves around the fact he promised Ellis Short, if we had a team worthy on the pitch, we would get full houses and experience a great atmosphere. This has not happened, and he may look a little daft now. Though Mr.Short can see the record books that show 46-47,000 crowds against the likes of Coventry and Leicester at the turn of the century.

    We all the know the feel good factor back then was lost due to lack of investment and subsequent disasterous relegation seasons. I lost some faith myself. That said, we are back now and showing the sort of ambition we thought we’d never see here.

    I have a bad feeling that Short will be thinking twice about his investments if the crowds dont improve next year and that Quinn may even walk sooner rather than later. These two potential outcomes are what the stayaway fans should think about. Lets face it, our ticket prices are not that bad.

    I dont know the full ins and outs on Newcastles season ticket situation, but i believe they have the 3 year tickets ending in May. Will be interesting to see if they get the same gates next season. I suspect they will if the Carroll money is reinvested. So why arent we showing the same appetite to watch games at the SOL. The Mags games will be on in pubs there too.

    Some of our away turn outs have been on the wane also. That said, its usually a night match or maybe a sky game.I still feel we should have been taking more to Chelsea and Villa in January, considering our league position.

    Overall, im sure there will be a lot of special offers next season at most Premier League sides, in a bid to boost gates. Prices must come down and that includes away supporters tickets. Otherwise the game is on the verge of ridicule.

  22. For the first time in a while Jeremy and BB – I disagree with you! Although you both make well presented arguments, let me tell you why I disagree.

    One of the things I DESPISE! about the UK is the growing propensity to micro-analyze everything people say and do. No living mortal on the planet can possibly exist without saying or doing something slightly controversial – especially when offence is taken much more readily than ever before! Everything like this stems back to the hateful concept of “political correctness” – an issue that I am extremely passionate about!! I don’t imagine that he meant it in the way you have taken it, but I am sure that Niall would choose a different word if he could turn back the clock.

    I’ll be honest here. When I read Niall’s comments I wondered how long it would be before someone picked that up and made a deal of it. I have a PC radar these days But I for one completely understand what he means. He saw the huge potential of our club, he knew we had a massive fan base, and he knew that we used to pack the stadium to full or near full in lower divisions. In the context of how much we’ve improved, the quality of the football, league table position, the huge “feel-good” factor, I think it’s right to be extremely disappointed with all those empty seats, especially when we’re playing the likes of Chelsea. Historically attendances grow according to success at the club and on the pitch. Remarkably for us, this hasn’t happened.

    Niall sold our club to Drummaville and Ellis Short based on it’s potential, and the prospect healthy attendances, consequently linked to success on the pitch. He has kept his end of the bargain, and lived up to almost every single promise. We’ve never had anyone like him. I am dumbfounded why attendances have slumped, especially when the team is infinitely better than it’s been in decades! So God knows how he must feel. He has put in a shift at our club. He’s sweated blood and tears for the cause. He’s done a wonderful job, and has done so with passion, integrity and class, and I know you have alluded to this, but I don’t think he deserved to be criticized negatively in these circumstances.

    I am sure some people can’t afford to go to the games, especially in the current economic climate, but I am sure that for every person who can’t afford it, there are five who can. Also, why does the enemy get substantially better gates – over 50,000? Geographically there’s nothing in it, and they are subject to the same financial climate. They charge more per ticket to boot.

    I didn’t know how much he gets paid Jeremy and I bow to your knowledge, but I don’t think he does it for the money, and he certainly doesn’t need it. After what he’s done for this club, I think I can forgive him for one slightly strong word (remember the Stoke thugs debate!!) and more significantly, I think he can be forgiven for expressing his feelings towards people he has served tremendously well who for whatever reason choose to stay away when things are looking so magnificent.

    And the debate you say he has opened should be closed lest he leaves for another club and we end up with Tom Cowie (only joking!)

    We are on the crest of a wave here. It’s never looked so good in our history. We have everything from the stadium to the ownership and chairmanship, to the playing staff. The one element missing is attendances, and it’s up to us to help Niall to improve them and spread the vibes accordingly. And let’s not hang on his every word and nit-pick his intentions – eh?

  23. A wonderful post Terry. Like you I really enjoyed the Third Division. Our “successes” if you can describe promotions that way ie lieu of the PL title, European domination or a few cup wins is what we were brought up on. I’ve always enjoyed the seasons outside the top flight far more than those in it, simply because they have usually been characterised by a battle against the drop.

    Are the foreign players really better than their British counterparts of 30 years ago? I’m not sure they are, and I’m not sure that I care either. Current players are paid more and they command a higher transfer fee of course, but the other question is whether the game and the match experience is good as it was. For me, there is no comparison. It was far more enjoyable 10, 15 and 20 years ago. I know we had to move from Roker but the delight of giving the likes of Tony Morley stick, and getting Mick Mills substituted by getting at him are no longer part of that experience. Standing was better than sitting, and I couldn’t care less about the state of the toilets either. Modern football has been sanitised beyond recognition. Frankly I hate the bloody SoL. It’s a lovely building to look at. It’s just complete crap watching football inside it.

    Regarding Europe Terry, there are many benefits of being part of the greater Europe, it’s just that there are repurcussions associated with membership of any organisation, but it’s always the negatives that get the attention.

  24. I think Niall just made a poor choice of words (or ‘mis-spoke’ as far less honourable World leaders would say). He’s bright enough to know you don’t insult a target audience.

    There are people who’ll never go to a game and prefer to watch it in pubs, whether legally or otherwise. You won’t change them and the ‘stadium experience’ means nothing to them.

    There are those who chose their games where domestic finance dictates and those who go whatever the cost. Then there are ST holders who front up the money and attend when they can and that’s me. I feel I’m banging the drum again.

    We’re told that Sky has given us so much to appreciate in football and that PL football is the Grail. PL clubs, not just ours, have to do all in their power to hold on to it. But at what cost?

    Not wishing to upset anyone but I’ll bet there are few on here who have not experienced third division football with SAFC. I enjoyed it. I’ve also enjoyed the vast majority of our second division sorties, especially the promotion ones. Most of our division one seasons, except the relegation ones, but that’s fairly predictable though (inc PL).

    The lure of attending PL games is diminishing for me. It’s my choice to live 300 miles away and the days of jumping in the car to drive up were replaced by advancing age, waning driving stamina, and the availability of cheap flights. When you’ve to plot a journey by toilet stops, you have to question the importance of it. There are also no cheap flights now and the switching of games for televising, at short notice, makes booking flights an expensive high-risk venture.

    These are things that should be assessed before making judgments on peoples willingness to attend. How far away is too far away? Leeds at 80 miles? London at 250? Boldon at 6? Depends on the individual and if I lived in the NE, I wouldn’t miss a game. But I don’t and we’re all different

    Sky has put much into the game, in terms of money and spectacle, and huge amounts of the money has gone out into the pockets of players and their agents. Money lost to the game. No filtering through to the grass roots of the game, the development of talent or the support of struggling clubs. Just into the pockets of players and their reps. That is a disgrace. Deals made by weak people and that none of our major sports are currently available on terrestrial TV is testament.

    If the current Sky system came crashing down and clubs had to live within their means, I wouldn’t care too much. Those owned by oligarchs and sheiks would soon get bored and we may get our football back.

    I may end up watching third division football again but it wouldn’t bother me. I’ve never paid my gate money to watch another team’s player.

    The streaming of the on-line game is a growing problem for clubs. Best for them to wake up then. The genie is out of the bottle and it’s about time we, in the UK, had an ‘up-side’ to being involved in Europe.

    Football is now an entertainment and not a sport.

    If not handled properly, pub viewing could become the norm.

    That’s my (hic) rant.

  25. To be honest Bill I’m puzzled by your point about the hospital wing. I could have listed many of the great things that Niall Quinn has done for SAFC and the community, and our supporters including paying for taxis for people when they were refused boarding by a well known airline etc. However, that is not what this issue is about. Niall’s comments to me indicate a lack of real thought about what motivates different people to make the choices they do. On the one hand he talks about not wanting to condemn people who don’t turn up, and then ignorantly proceeds to do precisely that. The decision between pub/SoL for many is an economic one, but of course the pub is also full of people who wouldn’t ever pay to watch a game anyway. He’s making simple judgments and assertions about what is a complex issue here. Credit to him personally and the club for keeping admission prices below the average. The economic reality for some people is to make a choice between putting food on the table or watching football inside the stadium. That is a choice made using economic criteria, but it’s also a responsible one. I grant that the televising of live games from foreign channels is possibly making that choice easier. When I was a youngster I couldn’t always afford to go, but would listen to games on the radio, decades before Niall Quinn was on the radar at Sunderland. Does that mean that he retrospectively “despises” me and thousands like me? He’s risking causing offence to those who he clearly doesn’t wish to offend, and I’m one of them.

    There’s a section of our following who seem to think that Quinny (good bloke that he is), can do no wrong and speak no wrong. That’s just blind faith which belongs in a church and not a football ground (or the pub for that matter).

    Niall has an good argument about the problem with foreign broadcasts but he’s really started another debate entirely.

  26. I can see how the above comments will grate against those Sunderland fans who are ready to beatify Mr Quinn. As he original article says; there are few people who would spend more than the price of a ticket down the boozer. Very few people go to games on their own, and in some cases it may well be with the wife and a couple of kids. Well over a hundred quid for a game of football Niall! Sunderland get good gates. Better attendances than most. He’s missing the point altogether. Certainly there are people who may go down the pub and watch the game. Some of them are fans who just can’t afford to be there every game and there are others who probably wouldn’t turn up anyway. It’s an expensive business being a fan these days but it strikes me that this is a little bit like the old version of Napster where people were downloading stuff for free as if there was no tomorrow. A lot of that material, they would never have bought in the first place. This is just the same. Mr Quinn has a bee in his bonnet about this but it’s time to get over it!

  27. Agree, yet choose to disagree, valid and invalid points jeremy, but whith all his money, that he made as a player, why do we have a NIALL QUINN WING at the general hospital?

  28. He seems like a canny fellah, Niall Quinn. His heart belongs to Sunderland. Of that I have no doubt.

    What people sometimes forget is that Mr Quinn is paid very handsomely for his role as Chairman. He pockets the thick end of 1M a year for his services to Sunderland AFC. In that context he should be very careful when he talks about “despising” those people that go to the pub to watch the game. He is not in any moral position to judge how people spend their hard earned money. The guy who has a couple of kids is forking out a small fortune if he takes them every week. If he misses the odd game and does down the pub spending a tenner or so, is he on the receiving end of the chairman’s emnity? Quinn is starting to sound a little holier than thou about all of this, given the fact that the people who he despises this week may be those who are turning up supporting the club, buying programmes and burgers the following week.

    Wearside is not the home counties, full of professional people and hugely overpaid tradesmen. It’s an area of poorly paid jobs, and high unemployment. Does he “despise” the unemployed as well?

    He has been quoted as grumbling about getting gates of 38,000. He really needs to wake up and smell the coffee. He earns a fortune from his post football career and basks in the adulation of the fans of a club to which he has contributed far more than any former player.

    At face value, and without any real analysis of what is a far more complex issue than he seems to realise, you’d be forgiven for accepting them and agreeing with them, but it really isn’t that simple. I’m disappointed that he seems to think it is. Sunderlands fan base is not always inside the stadium when a game kicks off.

    Niall Quinn has benefited from having he common touch. There is a danger that he is losing that aspect of his wherewithal that has made him so well liked, and his comments need to be judged a little more carefully lest those that he “despises” end up despising him.

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