Niall Quinn: maybe gone sooner than we think – but never forgotten


The words will flow thick and fast about Niall Quinn and his departure from role of chairman of Sunderland AFC. No one beyond his immediate circle can really know what to make of the new role “spearheading international development”, though there are theories aplenty on that, too. But nor should anyone forget all Niall has done for SAFC. Here is one tribute, with sharp injections of realism, from Eric Sweeney

Niall Quinn is a Sunderland legend. As a player he formed one half of the most potent strikeforce we ever had. A gentleman on and off the field he will be remembered for his love and affection for the Sunderland faithful and more recently his commitment to the club in spearheading much needed investment and leadership.

The Drumaville Consortium takeover in 2006 was the beginning of an amazing adventure.

Vast amounts of money were spent backing Roy Keane in the transfer market in order to make the club a premiership force. Everyone connected to the club believed we were on the cusp of greatness, that something magical was on the cards. Some had the the dream that Sunderland’s future would be similar to that being enjoyed by City fans, maybe afraid to say it outloud in case the dream would die.

Unfortunately, a world recession occurred and but for that I wonder where this club would be today?

The consortium didn’t seem to care about how the money was being spent by Keane.

They had placed their full confidence in Quinn to oversee the revolution of SAFC. The recession ended that dream and in came Short to pick up the pieces. Clearly he had the finances we needed but without question it needed to be justified and likely to yield a return.

Short moved quick to sack Keane who he regarded as wasteful and underqualified for the role. I truely believe Bruce was appointed for his record in the transfer market. Short still wanted Quinn and early signs were positive the club would still move forward. Bruce was making progress, Bent in particular was great business.

Recent transfer activity seems to have ebbed away at the confidence of both Short and the fan base.

Attendances are way down, performance are way below par and some of the tactics used by Bruce have left many baffled. This is likely to have been the main reason why Short now wants a more active role in the club by pushing Quinn aside to take the role of chairman.

I suspect Quinn won’t last long in his new role as this time next year he gently steps aside.

Short seems intent to listen to the restless fans who want a more tactically aware manager. He will remove Bruce and who know what the next manager will be for this great club? My only hope is that the next five years would bring the same emotions as the last.

The Quinn era will live long in the memory. It brought hope and despair in equal measure but allowed us to dream, if only for a while, that we were about to achieve something impossible. I will be eternally grateful to the big man for that. Ha’way the lads…

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9 thoughts on “Niall Quinn: maybe gone sooner than we think – but never forgotten”

  1. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Niall Quinn,he will be forever remembered a saviour of this club.The man can do no wrong in my eyes.

    Ellis has decided to take over the reins now and good luck to him.If it were my money on the line I would want direct control over the running of the club too,though he would be best advised to be up here rather than manage it hands off from London, otherwise it may appear that this club is a mere hobby or siedline for him.

    We also need to concentrate on getting results on the pitch before we go promoting ouselves as an international brand.Something our new International Marketing Manager Mike Farnan has already pointed out.

    We are stepping into a new era,lets hope it continues in the vain Niall helped create.

  2. I said on another thread that Niall Quiin has done more as an individual for this club in capacities both on and off the field, than any anyone else, during my lifetime.

    I can’t help but feel that this is the end of an era, a romantic time in our history when a former player came back to the board room, and provided a direction at a time when we were peering over the brink into the abyss.

    At this time, there is a pressing need for change in the management of the club. Mr Short has recognised that need and acted appropriately. Regardless of our current plight in this regard, the commitment and achievements, as well as overall progress made under Niall’s leadership will not and should not ever be forgotten or made light of. Niall Quinn has realised that he has taken this club as far as he can go and that his role or future now takes a different direction. That is no slight to the great work that he has done. In his press release yesterday Bruce remarked that “fans expectations were too high.” They are certainly higher than they used to be and that is due largely to the work that Niall Quinn has done in terms of securing financial backing through the Drumaville consortium and then through Ellis Short. If Bruce thinks that our expectations are too high then this is nothing but an insult to not only the supporters but also to the efforts and achievements of our departing chairman. If the job is too big for the manager then he came walk out and ply his trade at Wigan or Burnley, or Tranmere, where the expectations are lower.

    Thanks Niall, for all the good things. Good luck to you wherever you may go.

  3. To quote Dersk Scott – “Naming a stand after Niall is an excellent idea – he did more to rescue the club from the abyss than anyone.”

    It’s the least we should do.

  4. I will miss Quinny and thank him for all he has done but this is obviously him opening the door for his move to Man City. With all the millions and facelessness of the Arab owners they need a friendly face for the public eye and who better that the gentle giant! Fingers crossed this isnt true but im off to ladbrookes as we speak!

  5. Did anyone see the episode of dispatches on channel 4 “How to buy a football club?” Bryan Robson lives out in thailand doing dodgy deals with foreign capitalists to make money out of english football. Very interesting and heartbreaking. I wonder if Niall will have a similar destiny? I hope not.

    I agree with Eric that Bruce was probably brought in for his transfer market contributions and on the whole i’d say that strategy has really paid off. Welbeck on loan O’Shea and Brown on contract etc etc. I feel it’s time to move him on and thank him. it seems like he’s reached the peak of his abilities. had a big budget, great players, terrific support from above and we have very successfully treaded water (surely no mean feat in this day and age). I hope Short has been looking closely over the last year at possible men to move the club forward it’s been clear for quite some time that Bruce may have troubles securing us as a top 8 team. It feels like if his time is up it has not been a panic decision from the board which also fills me with confidence.

    I hope Short can lead with as much dignity and success as Nial and I hope we move forward because it’s been really positive so far.

  6. I’ll echo the thanks to Quinn comments here but am wondering if it could be the first step to his leaving the club. However, I can’t see him taking on this role purely to deflect any “crisis in the club” stories.

    Only a couple of days ago there were stories that he had been approached to join Man City in an executive role, a job he could have taken knowing he was soon to be replaced as Chairman. Sir Niall has always said that Sunderland was the only club that tempted him back into football from the world of horse racing. I hope he stays at SAFC but am sure he will make a success of his future commitments. He has been a success at everything else he has tried – except the manager’s job!

  7. Quinn said on several occasions that he wouldnt be Chairman for long. I believe he mentioned 5 years – so that would be about right…

    Quinn has been brilliant for the club, the fans and for football in General. Thanks to the man for that.

    I think he might be in this international role longer than people suspect, he has already seems to relish the sales side of things and is very good at it (gift of the gab). He recently entered partnership with a facility in Ghana, so was already making progress in this area.

    Not sure if Short will sack Bruce or not, the people who are jumping to that conclusion are the ones who want Bruce out anyway – so not exactly unbiased. Wait and See. Personally I think Bruce will have until Dec 10th to prove his worth.

  8. Let me be one of the first to stand up and say ‘Thank you Niall’. As a player you seen what the club means to the man in the street and stood alongside them in an attempt to raise SAFC to a place where we all believe it should be. It is a sorry day for us, but you deserve all the plaudits for where we stand today as a club. Best of luck in the future and no matter what life throws at you, remember, you have a million friends in the Northeast. Best of luck and thanks.

  9. It will be a sad day if quinn ever leaves the club, the fans of our great club owe him so much . His commitment to the club has made him a legand to the cause and i have no doubt he will give his all in his new role. Short in my opinion has had enough of bruce and his excuses and he will be gone by the end of the month. I think the move of quinn,s new role is the nail in the coffin for bruce.

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