Back in 2006, Sunderland ended a dreadful losing run by beating West Brom (then Championship leaders) 2-0 at home. Just the sort of result that we could all do with tomorrow after, er, another dreadful run. By all accounts, though, we were lucky to get a team out that day …
A quick postscript to the Niall Quinn interview in which he admits that he faced an instant players’ revolt after taking over, briefly, as manager of Sunderland in 2006, when we had just been relegated – with a record low, which Derby County later beat, of 15 points.
Talking to the Journal about his first day in the job – from which he quickly, as club chairman, sacked himself, Quinny said: “The first player who came to see me was goalkeeper Ben Alnwick. He handed me a transfer request. I was a little bit disappointed, as you can imagine. I thought very quickly, ‘You only have two goalkeepers, you had better go and get the other one.’ Kelvin (Davies) was the other one and I wanted to make sure he was OK, so I asked him how he was. He said, ‘I am fine’, then handed me a transfer request.”
“I sent him to get Ben back in and told him, ‘Ben, you have a new three-year contract, you are playing on Saturday. Do you want your transfer request back?’ He took it back.”
Then Julio Arca told him he, too, must leave the club. Things settled down after a forthright intervention by Bobby Saxton, though not well enough for Sunderland to register a win until the last of Quinny’s six games in charge, by which time Roy Keane was sitting in the stand on the point of signing up as manager.
For those who have not heard M Salut’s story from the day of that win against, interestingly enough, West Brom, here it is:
After the match, Keano was taken into the boardroom to be given player-by-player rundown on the squad he was inheriting.
No detail was spared. The playing strengths, such as they were, were described, the weaknesses – of which there were many – catalogued. Then came the off-the-field lowdown on which player had a gambling habit, which one took a bit too much drink, and so on.
Keano listened in silence, the facial expression offering no certainty that he was utterly appalled, though he may well have been.
Eventually, the list was complete. Keano – who had been hired on a reported £2m a year deal – reflected on all he had just heard and said: “I should have asked for half as much again.”
He may, of course, have been joking.