Quinn on his lucky break and Keane influence
Niall Quinn was a guest speaker at an Irish Post event in London recently. During the talk-in the former Sunderland player and chairman discussed a lucky break he had early in his career - no thanks to a former Newcastle United striker - and how Roy Keane turned Sunderland around.
Quinn explained how he was supported in his vision for Sunderland by the late Patsy Byrne, who installed the former striker as club chairman back in 2006, and emphasised the importance of Roy Keane in changing the mentality around the club:
A group of Irish people backed me to go in and buy Sunderland in 2006.
We were called the Drumaville Consortium and among them the great Patsy Byrne from Byrne Brothers.
Patsy was the leader of that, supporting my vision for Sunderland.
Roy came and everything was glorious.
He took over the team and we went on this incredible run – he did something I didn’t know was possible, he didn’t just bring Man United into our dressing room he brought Man United and that winning mentality to Sunderland.
He got the people to believe, he drove people from the point of view of the standards he was demanding. The frame of mind he was in was everybody has to come to this level and it started to happen.
Quinn went on to reveal that early on in his playing days, he had an unsuccessful trial with Fulham with former Newcastle striker Malcom MacDonald telling the Irishman in no uncertain terms that he would not make it as a professional football and how Quinn went on to wear MacDonald’s old number nine shirt at Arsenal two years later:
I want to talk about the importance of luck, as talent only brings you to a certain place.
I had a trial at Fulham at 15 and while I was there [the manager] Malcolm McDonald said to me ‘while there is a hole in your backside you will never make it as a footballer’.
So that was my start at 15. I got back on the plane [to Ireland] and played hurling, played Gaelic football and only played soccer when the other matches were not on.
I didn’t really take it serious, but I got to a schools’ final.
The Arsenal scout came to that match that day, to see a guy on the other team, but I had a great game in the final.
A week later I’m at trials for Arsenal…twenty months later I was wearing Malcolm McDonald’s number nine Arsenal jersey on my back.
To me, at this junction in my life, I know that was the greatest moment.
And I still look back at it now – I never met [McDonald] afterwards, but [what he said] was the drive for me.
Where did the luck come in? Well, obviously, I had been scouted when somebody else was meant to be there.
Gyan on ‘great’ Sunderland fans
Asamoah Gyan recently joined Indian Super League outfit NorthEast United ahead of the start of the new season, which kicks off in just over a week.
Ahead of the kick off, Gyan spoke to Outlook India about his career so far and what he hopes to achieve in the ISL.
During his interview, the Ghanaian legend said although he played in the best league in the world with Sunderland, he believes he played his best football with United Arab Emirates side Al Ain. The well travelled striker then goes on to praise the fans of both club as the best he played in front of:
I played in the best league in the world in England with Sunderland. But Al Ain was the team, where I spent the most time.
I think for most of my career, I have spent only one to two years with different clubs. With Al Ain, I gave my everything. I was the top scorer for four years and was also adjudged the best player in Asia. You can say that my best football was with Al Ain.
In terms of fans, Sunderland fans were great. But then I spent a long time with Al Ain, so their fans also loved and were amazing.
Robson nominated for award
Grimsby Town’s on-loan Sunderland midfielder Ethan Robson has been nominated for the PFA League Two Player of the Month.
The 22-year-old scored three impressive goals for The Mariners’ during September in just five games and will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of his fellow Academy product who win the award last December whilst also on-loan at Grimsby.
You can click HERE to vote for Robson to win the award.
Meanwhile, Grimsby boss Michael Jolley is keeping his eye on developments at Sunderland and how the next manager may view Robson’s future at the club but Jolley says that is not a worry just yet, due to the player on-loan until January.
When there is a new manager at Sunderland, he will have his own views on Ethan and where he sees his future.
That will be for whoever it is to decide as and when. There is a little bit of water under the bridge until then – and Ethan is with us until January anyway.