SUNDERLAND 10 YEARS AGO: Roy Keane’s first award, Quinn on the road

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

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Keane wins his first award as a manager

ROY KEANE scooped the first managerial award of his career today when he was named Championship Manager of the Month for February.

Sunderland’s record of four February victories and one draw, propelling the Black Cats to genuine contenders for automatic promotion, were enough for Keane to get one over on old adversary Mick McCarthy.

Wolves boss McCarthy guided his side to an identical points return in February, but Keane’s transformation of Sunderland helped him win the vote of a panel led by Sky Sports pundit Chris Kamara for the Coca-Cola sponsored gong.

The Wearsiders’ boss had been nominated for the monthly award in January, but was pipped to the post by Derby’s Billy Davies.

There was nothing Davies could do to stop Keane’s bandwagon in February, however, last weekend’s 2-1 home win over Derby capping a near perfect month.

Sunderland were a couple of minutes away from taking maximum points in February, Birmingham’s late leveller at St Andrew’s preventing Keane’s side from registering five victories.

The former Manchester United, Celtic and Nottingham Forest midfielder took the Sunderland job six months ago.

He said: “I knew Sunderland would be a challenge and it is and one maybe I’m starting to enjoy. Maybe at the end of the season if we go up I can relax for a bit. But if we do get to the Premier League, you just want to keep going and keep improving the club. We have made progress and we will keep trying to do so.

“There’s an added pressure here, even when you are not in the Premier League. Sunderland fans are demanding but that’s a nice type of pressure, I enjoy that challenge.

“We give it our very every single week and I think our fans are OK with it. I have no regrets about going into management or coming to Sunderland.”

Keane has win 17 of his 31 games in charge of the Black Cats, losing eight and drawing six.

The Wearsiders are unbeaten in the Championship during 2007, winning seven and drawing two while keeping six clean sheets.

QUINN GOES ON ROAD

NIALL QUINN will begin a roadshow tour across the North East next week aimed at drumming up extra support for Sunderland.

The Black Cats’ chairman will go out on the road hoping to bring back the fans who have drifted away from the club in recent seasons.

And he has written to more than 7,000 lapsed season ticket holders as part of the campaign.

He said: “I know from my playing days here just how important a part the crowd plays.

“That famous roar inspires our players and gives them an edge, not to mention the effect it has on the opposition.

“We’re famous throughout the land for the passion of our supporters and we need and everyone of them behind us if we are to succeed.”

The first night on the tour is on Tuesday at the Stella Social Club at Albany in Washington.

The next is at Houghton’s Rainton Meadows Arena 24 hours later.

The nights will be compered by Metro Radio and Magic 1152’s Simon Crabtree.