Last night at the Stadium of Light was ‘Quinntessentially Sunderland’... a night in which Niall Quinn did a bit of talking and wotnot, and SAFC fans could mingle with the big man, and some of the players on hand.
Quinny was on stage for around 40 minutes, but didn’t really address the fans concerns about the illegal showing of games in pubs etc.
There was a tongue-in-cheek comment that he thinks he may have gone OTT about the whole thing, but generally the tone was "I’m just passionate" which nobody can deny, the man speaks from his heart, even if it is sometimes to his detriment.
Tony Griffiths who has recently been in the press, and on TV’s Come Dine With Me, was in attendance, and applauded by Quinn for taking the stance of not showing SAFC games in his bars around town.
Following a delicious meal and several ales was when Quinny took to the stage, and it was more your after-dinner speaking than the roadshow he embarks on this week.
Stories and banter flowed, mainly about his times at Man City & Arsenal with some particular being memories of drinking with Paul Merson.
I’m no fan of Merson, so a ditty about him being a gambler from an early age didn’t surprise me. At ages 16, both Merse and Quinny were on trial at Arsenal. Having both scored in their last trial match (Quinn 3, Merson 4) the now Sky pundit was in high spirits about their chances of being kept on, and said to Sir Niall "I bet you £20 we get kept on"... Quinny laughed this off but Merson retorted "Seriously, I’ll give you 5/4"... this from a 16 year old.
Stories of he, Merson and drinking went on further, revealing how in some time off Quinny, Merson & Tony Adams went on a bit of a bender, which proved to be the final days of Quinny’s Arsenal tenure.
Having turned up to training a little worse for wear, then Arsenal manager George Graham said "Fucking hell Quinny, you stink like a brewery"... to which Niall could only reply "So would you if you’d drank as much as me these few days!"... and he was never seen in an Arsenal shirt again.
Various other less interesting stories went on before Sir Niall called it a night, allowing fans to mix with players in attendance; Phil Bardsley, Craig Gordon, Michael Turner, Titus Bramble, Lee Cattermole, Sulley Muntari & Marcos Angeleri.
Angeleri looked both silly, and completely lost. Nobody seemed to want to speak to him, and I’m not surprised really as he sported a new haircut. The locks are still there, don’t fret ladies, but it was rather quaffed, almost like a woman going to a wedding such was the OTT styling.
Having decided to leave Angeleri be, Roker Report chose to speak with Ghanaian midfielder Sulley Muntari.
Whilst he posed for pictures etc, and with time pushed we asked only one question. Are you staying on at the end of the season... to which he told us "I am staying beyond June, for sure, for sure"
A confident lad, clearly he’s been hanging out with Brucey a bit to have already picked up the overuse of ‘for sure’ we hope he does stay.
Oh, and to those questioning his fitness, we can tell you first hand that the man is absolutely ripped. As we posed for pictures (to follow hopefully) there simply is not one ounce of fat on the lad, and appears to be either flexing permanently or he’s just naturally a gym-hound.
Either way, the night was highly enjoyable. Good bits of banter from Quinny, and pretty good news about Muntari.
We’ll be reporting from Quinny’s roadshow next week too, so stay tuned for that, along with more buildup to the Arsenal game right here on this site!