Niall Quinn speaks out on the Asamoah Gyan debacle …
Once and for all, let Salut! Sunderland remind SAFC, and the chairman most of us hold in such esteem, that when misleading information and speculation are presented by the media, from newspapers to TV and online sources, interested parties and even supporters, the clubs often have themselves to blame.
Football clubs, in common with politicians, public agencies and business generally, like to control the release of information as best they can. If this means a little manipulation over timing, or a degree of economy with the truth, you can bet your bottom dollar that is how it will be.
But as shown yet again, this time by the Asamaoh Gyan saga – which the dumbest boy in class could have predicted would cause more than the odd ripple – those who mould the truth to their own, often respectable agenda are eventually stung into making more open public statements than they ever intended.
It is a function of the age; nothing the most secretive entity chooses to do about it can stop, for long, the flow of unwelcome information – and, yes, disinformation and misinformation.
Niall Quinn has now made a full statement on the quite extraordinary events surrounding the departure of Gyan, events that have rightly preoccupied all with SAFC’s best interests at heart as well as those merely looking on.
Courtesy of safc.com, this is what he had to say:
“I’ve heard and read all sorts of nonsense over the last few days and it’s important that our fans are in possession of the full facts on this, not hearsay, rumour and media speculation.
From the moment Asamoah returned for pre-season training we could tell that there were people trying to move him on. We hoped it would pass by, rebuking approaches from the Premier League, France and Turkey and felt the player would settle back down and continue to help our cause.
Throughout this time we were also receiving real interest from Al-Ain, but it looked as if that too had lost momentum by last Wednesday.
Steve spoke to Asamoah on Thursday morning, asking him to knuckle down and we were all set to move on. Later that day however Al-Ain began a prolonged effort to get the deal back on track and this turned the player’s attentions once more to a possible move.
Come Friday, the chairman of Al-Ain and his advisors had flown into Newcastle and arrived at our training ground to discuss a potential deal for Asa. They were very professional but determined to sign the player and at this point we took a number of things into consideration:
1 The player’s obviously negative demeanor in and around the training ground
2 The fact that the transfer window in the UAE had over 50 days remaining, meaning this was unlikely to go away.
3 The clear desire of the player to leave.
4. The forthcoming African Nations Cup, which would have meant losing Asamoah for up to six weeks in the New Year.
5 The obvious economic benefits to our club in the terms of the final deal laid out to us.
In the early hours of Saturday morning chief executive Margaret Byrne and myself agreed a loan deal to allow Asamoah his wish to move but that would also, and more importantly, protect the club should things not work out for the player.
Steve Bruce, our owner and the Board all found the football decision that Asamoah wished to make baffling but I as chairman, with everyone’s full support, decided that this deal was in the best interests of our football club.
There was a lot of things that needed to happen before the deal was fully secured, such as a medical, which has in fact only just been completed today. Unfortunately, word of the deal came out ahead of our game against Chelsea.
Steve’s frustrations towards the player, expressed minutes after the Chelsea game, were understandable at such a time but I can reveal that since then Asamoah and Steve have made contact and they are on good terms.
The olive branch is now there for Asamoah, but he will need to convince Steve, the Board and every Sunderland fan of his commitment to this club if he is to return. I am delighted however that he has agreed to make a sizeable donation to SAFC Foundation for each month that he is away on loan.
This is the first opportunity that I have had to talk publicly about the deal as we now have confirmation that all the formalities are complete and I hope that our fans will appreciate that the decision was taken in the best interest of our club – which will always be my remit. It also goes without saying that this puts Steve and his recruitment options in a far stronger position for the January window.
As the dust begins to settle we hope to concentrate everyone’s minds on our forthcoming games, getting our squad to blend and kick-start our season. I understand our fans’ frustrations at the moment and I thank them for their patience and understanding.”
Plenty there – I have left it intact save for correcting a couple of wayward apostrophes (and I’m sure that by “rebuke”, he meant “repel” or similar) – to chew on. Plenty to enable us to sympathise with Steve, Niall and indeed everyone with the glaring exception of Gyan, who rides a short way to his own rescue with the pledge of money to the SAFC foundation but has betrayed club, management and fans in disgraceful fashion.
However, there is nothing to ease our entirely reasonable concerns about the curent predicament. Wins against Stoke and Norwich would, of course, give the start to the season a different look, but can anyone seriously complain that eyebrows have been raised? Are we meant to be grateful for two points and two goals from four games, a lamentably early exit from the Carling Cup and a squad now desperately thin on Premier-seasoned strike power?
I would like very much to know whether Gary Bennett was right in saying at the weekend that a move for an experienced striker – as glaring a need as could be imagined – was vetoed at a somewhat advanced stage. More on that and how we propose to stem the outward flow of attacking talent, and less on the routine but, in fact, meaningless gripes about “hearsay, rumour and media speculation”, would have been welcome. Even if Niall Quinn’s comments, broadly speaking, are illuminating and fair.