Could Niall Quinn return as Sunderland's new chief executive?

Niall Quinn and Ellis Short
Niall Quinn and Ellis Short
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Sunderland legend Niall Quinn is not thought to be in the frame for the vacant chief executive position, despite being linked with a shock return to the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats are expected to take their time in appointing a new chief executive after Margaret Byrne's resignation last week, with chairman Ellis Short sounding out possible options to handle the day-to-day running of the club.

A report today indicated that Quinn was among the shortlisted options being considered by Short - four-and-a-half years after the ex-Sunderland striker stepped down from his role as the club's chairman.

However, Sunderland sources have indicated that there is minimal prospect of Quinn returning to the club.

It would be a surprise if Quinn returned to the Stadium of Light anyway after his relationship with Short is understood to have become fractured when he left the club.

The pair have subsequently addressed their issues and are thought to be on good terms again.

But Quinn has built a successful career as a television pundit since leaving Sunderland and there would be major question marks over whether he would be tempted to return to Wearside, where he spent six years as a player and five as chairman.

Sunderland are in need of a strong figurehead to lead the club forwards though after Adam Johnson's convictions for sex offences has cast a shadow over the Black Cats.

There is also a realisation that Sunderland require a chief executive who is more prepared to communicate with supporters after the club's hierarchy have been largely silent since Quinn's departure.