Short shrift for Niall? Someone’s imagination is working overtime

The mischief makers are at work already. Jeremy Robson naturally found ways of interpreting the Niall Quinn announcement in a quite different way than presented by SAFC …

There has been a widespread discussion following the news that Niall Quinn has stepped down as Sunderland chairman to pursue other duties. Much of this debate is about the truth in the statement. But in reality, can a man in Ellis Short’s position actually afford to tell the whole truth?

What would the reaction be if the news reports following the press release said the following:

Niall Quinn has been forced to step down by Sunderland AFC’s owner, the Texan billionaire Ellis Short.

“Niall is one of the nicest guys that I have come across during my time in football. He is very popular with the followers of this club, and it’s with great reluctance that I have had to remove him from his post as chairman.

As he is such a genial and well loved gentleman I have created a position for him in the Far East, developing the SAFC brand in that part of the world. I haven’t the foggiest idea what that means and neither does he, but we all feel better about the changes we have to make by telling everyone that. I’ve invested a fortune in this club and it’s as clear as day that we are getting worse and not better.

Steve Bruce was a terrible appointment, which I grilled Niall about at the time. He insisted that Steve was the best that we could get. I regret taking Niall’s lead on this but he was the football guy and I am the businessman. I made a mistake in trusting his judgement and I regret that.

Niall said to me: “If Steve goes then I go.” I know that he meant leave altogether but I’ve sent the pair of them to Korea which is far enough away. The website we were on couldn’t issue tickets for Timbuktu anyway.”

Quinn will be heading off later this week to the Far East as part of his new role and will be accompanied by both Steve Bruce and Mike Farnan who until Quinn’s change of role had some post loosely described as “National and International Marketing Manager.”

When quizzed about the longer term future of manager Steve Bruce, the London based financier said: “Steve Bruce is the manager of Sunderland football club and will remain as the manager until I sack him.”

When asked to elaborate on whether Steve Bruce would still be in charge for the upcoming Arsenal game, Short told reporters that he is “Still waiting for Martin O’Neill to respond to my text messages and voicemail,” and when probed about the possibility of Steve MacLaren (who earlier resigned as manager of Nottingham Forest). taking the reins at the Stadium of Light he responded curtly with “It’s a manager for a football club I need here. If could get somebody better than him at Burger King!”

19 thoughts on “Short shrift for Niall? Someone’s imagination is working overtime”

  1. Hilary. They are probably thinking “Who is this person. Is it Robin Williams as “Mrs Doubtfire.”

    I wonder if he’ll respond if one of them shouts “Cwibbibs!”?

  2. Jeremy, I so agree about Niall Quinn being a remarkable man. I think what he gave Sunderland AFC and even Sunderland itself, was a renewed sense of dignity. He recognised the value of the Club, the place and the people, and how the Club could be a hub of the community. We may not have been the richest club in the League, or the most successful, but we had the most decent, loyal and committed chairman. He is also very able on many levels, and we must trust in his judgement about Short.

    Niall will always be good PR, but I wonder what the Koreans make of Steve ?

  3. Great post Vince.

    I too, think that these events are part of a greater plan from Ellis Short, who has shown IMHO impeccable judgment in his decision making and overall approach. Niall was the man for that time, but that time has now passed thanks in what NQ has done. Different direction is required. Bruce too in my view has been a man for that time and his is most assuredly running out. I genuinely believe that while the profile of the club has never been better than at present (again thanks to Niall), that now ES is chairman it will continue to grow. On another site it was reported that ES has sold a huge shareholding in a Korean bank (isn’t it interesting that both NQ & SB are headed there?). I think that ES sees a potential for the SAFC “brand” etc that the rest of us probably do not. These are interesting times indeed, and that moaning you mentioned is a difficult habit to break. 🙂

  4. Jeremy
    Niall’s energy and enthusiasm was second to none.We should be very grateful to him,I know I am.He is the best thing to have happened to SAFC since 1973,right from his days as a player.The supporters owe him a great debt of gratitude.
    But it is probably in the best interests of the club that he step aside now.I don’t think this has anything to do with whats gone on on the pitch.
    We would only dream of spending the kind of cash we do now in decades gone by,all thanks to Niall.Doesnt stop us all having a good moan though 🙂

  5. I have to say Vince, and totally to Niall’s credit, that taking on the task he faced when he first became involved was an enormous challenge. It would have been an enormous challenge to someone with 20 years of corporate experience and an MBA. For a man who has spent his life playing football it must have been extraordinarily difficult, and almost insurmountable at times. Niall’s achievement was based on his dedication, his genuine love for the club and its fans, combined with his complete sincerity and the force of his disarming warm personality. Niall’s achievements completely outrank those who would have appeared far more qualified to take on the task.

    It is sad, inevitable, and at the same time incredibly appropriate that Niall should leave the role as Chairman at this time. The timing is crucial. Ellis Short, perhaps even more than the fans, recognises Niall’s passion, and devotion to the duties which he has discharged to the best of his ability, and which probably outstrips the hopes that even the most optimistic of us had when he arrived to save us from disaster in 2005.

    It’s not so much that Niall was able to fulfil the role of Chairman so wonderfully that we should applaud, but the fact that he was able to do it at all. Niall Quinn really is a most remarkable man.

  6. Good article and probably sums it up well.Only thing I would add is that while Niall was a nice guy and SAFC through and through,he was not the greatest executive,as he was just a footballer with little experience of doing such things.Ellis wants a tighter run ship on the admin/business side,and Niall bless him just cannot deliver on that.

  7. Is there anybody else like me a season ticket holder for many years and sick of the same old story of promises at SAFC and we are always struggling to play any kind of fluent football we will struggle again this year and ime fed up with it over payed and lazy they need a hard kick up the backside starting with the board and management …???

  8. Most of the dubious ones have left Pete. You are behind the times. One or two went in the same direction as Gyan for a time.

  9. Don’t believe what you read in the Telegraph. It has a reputation for employing journalists of dubious morality.

  10. Red Frog.

    I agree. Quinny can hardly leave his post and say that he fully expects Bruce to get the push by the end of next week. I note that he says unless the situation becomes “apocalyptic.” He at least recognises that reasonable expectations are not being met. He has presided over three different managers and has not sacked any of them. This is unusual in football these days, if not unprecedented in the top flight these days (apart from Man Utd and Arsenal) which are exceptions. He doesn’t want to fire Bruce and this is a way of avoiding that responsibility. That comes with being a chairman. It’s like being a copper and having an aversion to locking people up. It doesn’t work.

    Quinn no longer has the control he once had over Bruce’s tenure and that is hugely significant here I believe. He is largely speculating in this interview. There’s little else.

  11. Whilst I believe Nialls statement about SB getting more time, I think we can count that in days and not months.

  12. I want to know where this club and management are heading to say bruce job is safe it’s a joke I don’t blame NIAL if he jumps ship they don’t know what they are doing NIAL Quinn is Sunderland and I am sick to death there is no use being a season ticket holder because when you apply for away tickets you can’t get them I am heading out of SAFC and going to watch the pools with bert where they look after there fans because they care unlike SAFC ….,???….

  13. Davey. I don’t think that Niall will be joining Manchester City in any capacity at this point either. If that was the case, then Quinny could have shaken hands with Ellis and said”I’m off. Thanks but I don’t need a sinecure from you!”

  14. Ellis Short is obviously an intelligent and astute business man . If he thinks that Bruce should be given more time then so be it . Quinn has stated that Bruce will be given more time – and that he will in no way be going to join Man City ; as he is a man of integrity I take his word on that

  15. Spot on chaps, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out what’s been going on behind the scenes. Niall is fantastic and has done us proud but it’s Short’s money and I’d be less than chuffed with the 2011 performance so far, if I’d spent that much wedge. Short is meeting SB today and he’ll most likely be given a last chance. Flogging a dead horse if you ask me but fairs fair I suppose….Other than Martin O’Neil I wonder who he is approaching just in case things do get ‘apocalyptic’?

  16. Nice article, made me chuckle. What do you think of Quinn’s statement this morning on Bruce’s position (being safe) and his response to the Man C rumours?

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