NIALL Quinn believes Gus Poyet can bring good times back to Sunderland and reckons the ex-Brighton boss has what it takes to keep the club in the Premier League this season.
The Irish icon – a former Sunderland player, manager and chairman – was this week given the freedom of the city for services to Wearside.
And he believes that new head coach has already make a good start to serving Sunderland Football Club, by improving the mood around the city as well as the Premier League points tally.
Quinn was at the Stadium of Light, ahead of his civic honour, to commentate for Sky television last Sunday on Sunderland’s thrilling 1-0 win over super-rich Manchester City.
And he believes that not only was the victory itself inspiring, but the character, determination and footballing ability shown under Poyet’s leadership has to give hope for the future.
“To play the way they did against Manchester City was brilliant,” enthused Quinn.
“Of course, there are going to be days like the Hull City game, with two sent off and an own goal by half-time, but he is putting smiles on the players’ faces and he will put smiles on the fans’ faces too.”
Just about Quinn’s last action before leaving Sunderland in 2012 was to influence owner Ellis Short into appointing Martin O’Neill as Steve Bruce’s managerial successor.
And Quinn still believes – as does O’Neill himself – that the Ulsterman would have kept the Black Cats up last season had he not been sacked at the end of March to usher in the arrival of controversial Italian Paolo Di Canio.
Quinn was not a fan of Di Canio’s methods, but he is thankful that his beloved club has acted more quickly this season than last in replacing a manager who was struggling for results.
“Paolo’s reign was like the rise and fall of the Roman Empire in record time!” he said.
“But the great thing about it for me was, yes, they needed a guy to keep them up, and I know Martin O’Neill says he would’ve got the points needed, but they realised this season that things were not right.
“So fair play to Ellis Short for deciding to go with Gus Poyet.
“I don’t know Gus well or much about him, but I think Ellis has made a first-class appointment and I support it and salute it.”
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