Like the majority of my fellow Sunderland supporters I was completely thrown when I saw the news report speculating that Niall Quinn might be involved with a potential takeover of the club from current owner Ellis Short.
The article - which turfed up late last night - claims that the former chairman is in talks with an Irish businessman regarding a potential purchase of the club from the want-away American billionaire, and that Quinn wasn’t available for comment when attempts were made to speak with him across the weekend.
I know, I know... it’s the Sun, and people are often sceptical of what they report, but more often than not these days they tend to call it right when it comes to Sunderland - though it was notable that the piece came from the Irish edition of the publication, written by a journalist called John Fallon.
Google the name and it won’t turf up a great deal, although he does apparently hail from a news agency called ‘Media West Ireland’. He appears to cover Rugby in main for a wide variety of publications, although when he does write about football it’s generally a big story. He was the first to break the news about Martin O’Neill’s talks with Stoke City in January, for example, and has written exclusives on Irish football recently for the Times.
The article itself is incredibly thin on detail, and doesn’t actually say a great deal, so if we’re trying to be level-headed we should probably take it with a skip-load of salt.
Roker Report have reached out to a number of people this morning regarding the news and nobody really seems to know what is going on - though we have been told that Quinn isn’t answering his phone this morning despite repeated attempts to contact him.
Even still, it all just seems a bit... well, a bit strange, doesn’t it? The speculation has got me all excited, and I think that on this occasion I’m going to choose to get hyped by it, even if the news does eventually turn out to be complete horseshit.
Imagine it, if Niall Quinn returns once again to save us?
It’d be enough to help reinvigorate a dying fan-base in dire need of resuscitation.
Niall wasn’t the greatest Chairman in the world, and certainly made mistakes, but you always felt as though he cared deeply for the football club and the Sunderland people. He was genuine, sincere and open - the supporters felt that, for a long time, one of our own was in a position of leadership at the top.
The sale of a football club is generally a long, drawn out affair and there’s no doubting that attempting to shift our debts on to a new owner is going to be difficult, but with Ellis Short apparently so keen to offload us that he’ll give us away for free, it certainly makes us an interesting prospect for a potential investor.
Sunderland is a sleeping giant in every sense, and that’ll be even more true if we are, as we suspect, playing League One football next season. The facilities we possess are immense, the like of which have never been seen in the third tier of English football before. Club debt aside, this is an interesting potential project for someone wealthy and ambitious, and finding people that are serious enough to take on the task is perhaps the biggest hurdle Short faces.
Which, I guess, is why a potential investor might want a man like Niall Quinn on board with him. He is, after all, Mr Sunderland.
It almost seems too good to be true. I think if you could depict a perfect scenario, Ellis Short would offload the club to someone that has the best interests of Sunderland at heart.
After all of the misery recently you’re well within your rights to go completely overboard with this and get all excited until someone comes along to tell you otherwise. I know that I certainly will be!