Major Changes At The Top As Quinn Assumes New Role

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Sunderland Owner Ellis Short (L) chats with Chairman Niall Quinn (R) and Manager Steve Bruce prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Chelsea at the Stadium of Light on September 10, 2011 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

After a another major overhaul of the squad, the club have now completed a major re-organisation at the very top of the club. Steve Walton and Leslie Callaghan left their positions on the board during the summer and now the ever-popular Niall Quinn is relinquishing his role as Chairman to take up a new role spearheading the international development of the club.

Quinn will be replaced by Ellis Short, who described it as "a great honour" and one which he will treat with "the utmost respect".

Of his changing responsibilities, Quinn told the official site, "This is a great opportunity for us to make the club stronger and I'm delighted that Ellis has agreed to support the plan. He'll be a fantastic Chairman and taking this role on speaks volumes about his ambition for the club".

Rumours had been abound for a number of weeks that Quinn was readying himself to step down from the day-to-day running of the club and newspapers had linked him with a role at Manchester City.

Incoming Chairman Ellis Short assured fans that "it's the same group of people continuing to run the club" and that perhaps suggests that Quinn's influence had diminished to such a point that redeploying his skills will have a minimum effect on the actual day to day operations. Where the move will be felt most however is amongst the fanbase. Quinn's popularity amongst supporters is largely unprecedented and losing him as their figurehead will be a tough to digest by fans.

This all means increasing involvement in the club by Ellis Short, who said of his predecessor's new role "With financial fair play rules coming into effect it is essential for the long-term success of the club that we develop interests on a global scale and there's no-one better than Niall to sell the ethos of Sunderland to an international audience. He has been keen to drive this change for some time and I agree that it's the way forward for us now".

It remains to be seen how supporters who have grown accustomed to Quinn's dulcet tones of communication will take to the somewhat mysterious and reclusive Short replacing him, and it will be interesting to see how Short himself takes to the demands of his new role. But for everything Short gets involved with, success tends to follow, and a greater involvement from the Texan can certainly be welcomed, whilst Quinn's stewardship of the club can be considered nothing but a totally successful one.

Personally, I think that whilst sadness will reign initially, it should be considered to be a positive move fans must embrace. We have seen Quinn's role and power at the club slowly diminish since the day he rode in at the head of the Drumaville consortium, and without a personal fortune to invest in the club he had probably achieved all he was going to be able to in a Chairman's capacity. Perhaps it was time for a more ruthless and powerful man to take the club forward, and Short is most certainly that.

Thanks for everything Quinny, and we can think of no better man to spread the Sunderland word around the world.

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