HATS off to Niall Quinn who leaves Sunderland AFC after guiding it with skill, vision, power and loyalty for six years.
Niall, if anyone needs telling, is the man who took my home town club from the bottom of the Championship to where we are now in just six years
But it is the back story to this man’s career which deserves special mention.
His testimonial match in 2002 raised over £1 million.
Niall gave half to the children’s hospital in Sunderland. And the other half to the children’s hospital in Dublin.
I bumped into him in Portugal in 2007. He was on a brief golfing break. I was on the Madeleine McCann story and we shared a few drinks at the hotel where we were both staying. The passion this Irishman had for this north east club was palpable and complete.
Stokoe, Carter, Porterfield, Montgomery and Shackleton are all hallowed names on Wearside.
But that of Quinn humbles us all and will live forever bright, not only through his supreme skill but also his rare munificence in a sport where greed pervades.
|Quinn celebrates one of his 61 goals for Sunderland|
|Niall Quinn with Sunderland AFC mascot, my nephew and tough tackling midfielder Jack Barker!|