Here’s what the Echo was reporting on SAFC 10 years ago today.
QUINN: NO REGRETS
We need time but we WILL get it right
Niall Quinn insisted last night he had no regrets about turning his back on the life of Riley to pursue ambitious and costly plans to revive Sunderland.
Speaking at the launch of the club’s latest book, Match of My Life, Black Cats’ chairman Quinn insisted there has been only one occasion when he felt for a moment that he had taken on too much.
August’s 3-2 home defeat to Plymouth three games into the campaign left the Irishman – then also acting as manager – in no doubt about the mountain that was to be conquered.
But as Sunderland go into tomorrow’s home game with Colchester sitting only four points above the relegation zone, the 40-year old is convinced he made the right decision to lead a consortium that succeeded in buying the club.
Quinn said: “When you feel you can make a difference it is great to have the responsibility. There is a task here that I feel is achievable.
“I will be happy when the belief is returned to the football club and the stadium is full again.
“My desire to do well with Sunderland overrides anything negative. When we contrived to lose the Plymouth game, which we should have won, there was a moment when I felt this was going to be far harder than I thought.
“But I never once thought or wished I was back in Ireland, or sitting on Sky TV talking a good game. You can talk until the cows come home. It is much better to be there making a difference at the coal face.
“I know I have done the right thing.”
While there was a surge of fresh optimism when the Drumaville group was successful with a £10million takeover, there are still plenty of empty seats at the Stadium of Light as fans wait for Quinn’s plans to take flight.
He accepts that results, not rhetoric will improve attendances.
“I want to get that feeling back where everyone wants to be at the games, but I know the players have to start that off by being dynamic and winning matches,” said Quinn.
“We want to bring back that winning mentality and we have a manager in Roy Keane who epitomises that. I hope people will give us the time to achieve what we want.”
Quinn is one of 12 former players who have contributed to Match of My Life, in which they relive memories of remarkable games in Sunderland’s history.
The chairman’s memory match is the 1998 play-off final against Charlton, which the Black Cats lost 4-3 on penalties after the game finished 4-4.
Quinn joined fellow former players Len Ashurst, Kevin Ball, Gary Bennett, Tony Norman and Nick Sharkey autographing the book at a packed Stadium of Light club shop.
KEANE: SHOW ME A STUBBORN STREAK
Roy Keane says his stuttering Sunderland side need to grind out more victories.
The Black Cats almost secured what would have been an undeserved home win against Southampton last weekend, only for the Saints to equalise at the death.
And when his side is not firing on all cylinders, Keane says they have to show a more stubborn streak.
Preparing for tomorrow’s home visit of Colchester United, Keane said: “Sometimes you have your off days when it doesn’t come together for you as a team. That was certainly the case for us last week. We had an off day but got something out of the game and almost won it.
“You have to be prepared to show mental and physical strength when things are going against you. You have to grind out performances and results.
“We made a lot more chances a couple of weeks ago at Norwich and got nothing.
“The Championship is such an unpredictable league. If I was a betting man I wouldn’t be touching it. One week a team is getting hammered and the next week they win.
“Any side able to build a consistent run of good results, however they come, can climb the league and be challenging.”
Colchester prepare for their first ever visit to Sunderland on the back of a 3-0 loss at Leeds. They have only won once on the road but are eight places and four points better off than the Black Cats.
Keane said: “This is their first time at this level but we would be stupid to underestimate them. The biggest danger in any sport is to underestimate your opposition. They’re above us in the league, so we’ll be giving them respect.
“We’ll brief the players about the dangers our opponents pose but it’s more important that we concentrate on our strengths and playing to the best of our ability.”
Keane will have the strongest squad for a while to choose from, with Kenny Cunningham (knee), Stephen Wright (ankle) and Ben Alnwick (shoulder) the absentees.
Stan Varga is back in training after two games out with a knee injury.
Tomorrow’s encounter – the first between the two clubs in any competition – will be Keane’s 13th in charge and he has yet to name an unchanged line-up.
He added: “A lot of my selections have been decided by injuries and suspensions. I’m not trying to be too clever here. I hope to get a settled side without to many injuries.”