SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Davis ‘scarred’, Quinn’s Premier League vow

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

DAVIS: I’VE BEEN SCARRED BY CATS’ FLOP

... but keeper looks forward to returning

Kelvin Davis admits his single season with Sunderland has scarred him forever.

But he returns to Wearside with Southampton on Saturday insisting that whatever went wrong for him and the club last term, it wasn’t for a lack of effort.

The goalkeeper endured a difficult campaign personally, errors at the start of his Sunderland career making it tough to build confidence and form. But he wasn’t alone in enduring a huge test of character as the Black Cats crashed out of the Premiership with a record low 15 points, losing 29 of their 38 league games.

Davis said: “I can’t deny I found it difficult – but I don’t think there was a player that didn’t. It scars you for the rest of your career. It will always be there or thereabouts, at the back of your mind.

“I certainly didn’t think that any one individual was to blame for what happened – it was a complete combination of a lot of things.

“As an individual there are two ways you can treat it. You either don’t enjoy playing football again, and don’t want to be put in that position again, or you stand up and fight it, and that’s certainly what I tried to do.

“On a personal level, I always tried to remain positive and I did everything properly. I didn’t always play well, but I always gave 100 per cent in games and I always prepared and trained in a professional way. It just wasn’t to be.”

Sunderland recouped the money they’d spent on Davis when he was sold to Southampton in the summer, a year after his £1.25million switch from Ipswich to the Stadium of Light.

“I’m looking forward to coming back on Saturday, absolutely 100 per cent,” he insisted. “I must admit I was pleased when I saw the fixtures, and noticed we didn’t play Sunderland until November – I would have found it difficult if it was sooner.

“But now I’m really looking forward to going back and seeing a few friendly faces. I signed a four-year contract with Sunderland and I fully intended to fulfil that contract. I bought a house and relocated my family – I did everything right.”

The 30-year-old reckons a nightmare start to the season of seven defeats and only one win in the opening 10 Premiership games dealt Mick McCarthy’s side a fatal blow.

QUINN SETS OUT PREMIER TARGET

Niall Quinn says he will quit as Sunderland chairman when he has established the club in the Premiership.

Quinn has often spoken of his five-year plan at the Stadium of Light and details are emerging about how that may take shape.

His aim is to get the club back into the top flight and have at least three seasons there before he considers stepping aside.

Quinn, who succeeded Bob Murray as chairman in July after his Drumaville consortium succeeded in a £10m buy-out of Sunderland, said: “The overall aim when I first got involved was to get back into the Premiership again and bring the club back to where it deserves to be.

“Now, knowing a lot more about the situation, I would be happy when we had had three years of Premiership football.

“That for me would be the stability the club has lacked over the years. We had it for a few years under Peter Reid but as it started to ebb away it was not corrected and pushed into place.

“I have said it all along and I will say it again. If, after that period of time, we have brought it to a level and we feel that the club has started to standardise itself as a Premiership club and somebody else wants to come and try to kick on again, I will walk.

“I have got no big ego about this. I just really want to bring the club to a certain point where people can feel good about it again. When we get to that point, I think it would be job done.”

Sunderland have left themselves with an uphill task if promotion is to be achieved this season, with the club yet to break into the top half of the Championship and sitting closer to the relegation places than the play-offs.

But with Roy Keane at the helm, the former Black Cats’ striker still sees promotion as a realistic ambition this season.

“To be on the tails of the play-off places before the transfer window kin January is an appropriate aim,” said Quinn, speaking to SAFC World.

“We’re not a million miles from that. I would be happy if, by the end of the season, regardless of the position of the club, the fans, the media, all the onlookers, Roy and myself all know where the club is going.”