NIALL Quinn acknowledges sea-change at Sunderland and hopes his transformed club succeeds

Former chairman Niall Quinn says Ellis Short has to do it his way.
Former chairman Niall Quinn says Ellis Short has to do it his way.
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NIALL Quinn says he doesn’t mind if Ellis Short rips up everything he put in place during his own time at Sunderland – so long as the American owner brings success for the club and its fans.

The Irishman spent six years at the helm of the club he took over from Bob Murray in 2005, raising the Black Cats from the bottom of the Championship, helping turn them into an established Premier League team and bringing in Short, before leaving the club 16 months ago.

Since then, in his role as a media pundit and a man still with deep links in football, he has seen Sunderland transformed, front of shop and back, with the manager he helped bring to the club, Martin O’Neill, ditched for surprise appointment Paolo Di Canio.

And along with that has been a radical transformation in players and backroom staff since Quinn’s departure, as well as a completely different approach to player recruitment.

But the ex-Sunderland player, manager and chairman says that each regime must steer their own course and he is not precious about the changes– he only hopes they succeed.

“I keep meeting people who used to work at the club,” said Quinn. “They have gone a different way.

“I had my turn, I had my time and I was allowed to do what I felt was appropriate and that is what seems to be happening now.

“I don’t know Paolo’s back up team, the people he works with. There’s lot of speculation about people coming and going.

“I just hope it settles and it goes well for him.

“You look at Newcastle, the trouble there, I just hope football settles down and it’s not about all the off the field matters any more.”

Quinn accepts that change is one of the few constants in football and that includes himself, the Irishman acceptinig the Sunderland he left, is not the same Sunderland that exists today.

Speaking at a charity golf tournament in the North East, he said: “There’s a few people I had there who have left.

“They were a bit out of place and they have been moved on.

“I don’t have that central feeling I had before Paolo was appointed, when Martin was there with his people.

“But at the same time, nobody should ever knock what Ellis Short has done for the club because he has kept this club in the higher echelons of football. “His support has ultimately kept the club where it is over the last few years.”

Recruitment is probably the most radical area of change with chief scout Pop Robson sacked and replaced by Valentino Angeloni and a director of football appointed in the shape of Roberto de Fanti.

That has been the catalyst for a string of overseas signings this summer and Quinn commented: “A foreign market has not been tried that much before at Sunderland and it may come off.

“It’s a curious one, in as much as it could work very well. It could be brilliant for the club, it could encourage Ellis Short that the club can drive on to another level.

“That is what they are looking for. I really hope it all works out for the club and it goes great.”