SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Connolly thrilled to link up with Keane, Sunderland are in great hands

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Here’s what the Echo was reporting on SAFC 10 years ago today.

SEPTEMBER 2, 2006

GREAT TO BE HERE AT LAST!:

Connolly thrilled with Keane link-up

DAVID CONNOLLY is hoping it’s a case of third time lucky with Sunderland, having twice come close to signing for the club in the past.

The 29-year-old joined the Black Cats on Thursday little more than an hour before the midnight transfer window deadline.

And he is hoping that his delayed arrival at the club – he could have joined almost a decade ago – will see him instantly on form and finding the back of the net.

He revealed: “I almost joined Sunderland twice in the past.

“The first time was when I was at Watford as a youngster (Connolly was a Peter Reid target in 1997) and then I almost joined again a couple of years ago with Mick McCarthy.

“It didn’t quite happen on both occasions and I moved on but now it’s great to join such a huge club. As soon as the opportunity came up it wasn’t a difficult decision.

“I hard something might happen earlier in the week but nothing was really said until Wednesday and on Thursday it all happened very quickly.

“Everting was agreed very early in but I had to get to Sunderland to take my medical, and the traffic in Manchester was horrendous!

“I was driving up the A1 and it was quicker to take my MRI scan at Darlington just to speed things up. Luckily I got to Sunderland in time and were able to finalise the deal.”

SEPTEMBER 2, 2006 (Football Echo)

BRING IT ON!:

HE’S HERE ... AND HE’S OURS!

Roy Keane was named as Sunderland’s new boss this week, while chairman Niall Quinn exclaimed: “We mean business.”

And it did not take long for words to be turned into further action, with six new signings arriving on transfer deadline day.

Now, manager Keane says the hard work really starts, and he can’t wait to get into the dugout for his first game in charge, at Derby next Saturday.

QUINN: THE CLUB’S IN GREAT HANDS:

COCK-A-HOOP Niall Quinn admits he was thrilled to lure Roy Keane to the Stadium of Light and he says that the Manchester United legend will be given all the time it takes to turn the club around and will have the full backing of the board.

“We’re delighted to have attracted a figure like Roy to Sunderland Football Club,” he said today.

“The events of the last few days and the reception the appointment has received from the fans only proves to us in the consortium that we’ve made the right decision.

“And I’d like to point out that he’s under no time constraints here. There’s no timetable for success that’s been imposed upon him.

“We have complete faith in him and he will get our full support in his efforts to improve the club.”

Quinn said that Keane has been handed only one immediate task and he has already proved himself up to that job.

He said: “All we ask of Roy in the short term is that he lifts the club and he lifts the standards here but I think he’s already done that, in fact I think he actually did it before he was appointed.

“There was a buzz about the place on Bank Holiday Monday when we faced West Bromwich Albion and I think that was because Roy was in the stands and ready to take over.

“I want him to lift the club to the level that he would demand and I know he will do that. I really feel that any footballer would respond to someone like Roy.

“I feel that in Roy Keane, we as a consortium have delivered and I think in years to come, people in football will be asking us how we managed to pull it off.”

Quinn made it clear that whatever problems Keane might encounter as he acclimatises himself to management, an intransigent board will not be one of them.

He said: “Everything is in place here to back Roy all the way and we will endeavour to do whatever we can to help him. It may even have helped his case that I took over the management of the club for a while when there was no-one in place.

“I’ve seen how hard it is to successfully manage a club so I’m going to have every sympathy for him. But in terms of my management experience, everything I went through only served to convince me that someone like Roy Keane would thrive in that position.

“I’ve got very confidence in him and I’m very excited about the future of the club now.”