NIALL Quinn’s association with Sunderland stretches back 15 years ...
1996: AFTER starting his career at Arsenal and then moving to Manchester City, Quinn signs for Sunderland in 1996 in a £1.3million move from Manchester City but misses months of his first season after suffering a knee injury.
1997: In Sunderland’s last season at Roker Park, the Black Cats are relegated from the Premier League. As they move to the Stadium of Light however, Quinn – Sunderland’s first scorer at the venue – forms a devastating partnership with forward Kevin Phillips.
1998: Peter Reid’s side reach the Play-Off final but are beaten in an epic encounter with Charlton Athletic.
1999: Quinn wins North East Football Writers’ Player of the Year award as Sunderland gain promotion with a then record points total.
2000: Quinn and Phillips’ red hot partnership continues as Sunderland finish 7th, their best finish in more than 50 years.
2001: Sunderland finish 7th again.
2002: Shortly before playing in the World Cup in Japan and South Korea for the Republic of Ireland, Quinn holds his testimonial match at the Stadium of Light, raising over £1million for worthy causes. Later that year at the age of 36, Quinn decided to retire from playing. He scored 69 goals for Sunderland in 220 appearances.
2006: With Sunderland enduring a dismal Premier League season, Quinn announces his intention to takeover. In June of that year, backed by the Drumaville Consortium, Quinn bought a controlling stake in the Black Cats, formally taking over in July. Quinn initially manages Sunderland, before Roy Keane is hired and Quinn reverts to the chairman’s position.
2007: Despite being bottom when he took over, Keane leads Sunderland back to the Premier League. In a notable incident, Quinn spends several thousands of pounds on getting taxis home for SAFC fans after they are ejected from their flight from Cardiff following an away win.
2008: After a 15th-placed finish in their first season back in the top-flight, Texan billionaire Ellis Short buys a significant stake in the Black Cats. Keane resigns from Sunderland in late 2008 after a poor run of results, with coach Ricky Sbragia taking over the reigns.
2009: Following a near miss with relegation, Ellis Short buys a majority stake in Sunderland, making him the club’s owner. Steve Bruce is appointed manager.
2010: Sunderland finish 13th in the Premier League.
2011: Bruce’s side manage a top-half finish of 10th in 2010/2011, but endure a bad start to the following season, winning only one of their opening eight games. Quinn steps down as chairman on October 3 as it is announced he is to “spearhad International Development” at the club.