European Dreams

Sunderland pushing for Champions League football

Chairman Niall Quinn unveils five step plan for success

Niall Quinn and Roy Keane

At the end of 2007, Sunderland found themselves in 18th place, and only after whipping out the chequebook were they able to assure another season in the top flight. Despite their tumultuous league status, chairman Niall Quinn insists the club are halfway through a masterplan that will see the Black Cats playing in the Champions League:

“We had five steps planned when we took over as a board. Step one was going up, step two was staying up, step three, where we’re at now, was establishing ourselves in the Premier League, step four was competing for Europe and step five was aiming for Champions League football.”

It’s rarely good to criticise someone for being ambitious, but this plan seems like it’s a rather long way from coming to fruition. Nevertheless, Quinn continued to raise the aspirations of his club thusly:

“If we keep progressing, if we get to the point down the line where we are knocking on the door to the Champions League, I would have to go to the investors and ask them to commit to a 60,000-seater stadium, to make us the second biggest club in England.”

Hmmm. Even if the Irishman is judging the size of clubs by their attendance alone, Manchester Utd and Arsenal both have more than 60,000 seats (although The Emirates only just exceeds this number).

Quinn’s ambitious comments may simply be designed as a call to action for his fellow investors in the Drumaville Consortium, then again, it may just be an attempt by the club to undermine their Geordie neighbours.

Either way, jumping from step three to step four in the masterplan will take a helluva lot more than El Hadji Diouf and a few Spurs cast-offs…


22 responses so far
  • Mackem Boy // August 12, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    The author of this column is clearly an amateur….and a prat! Underestimate Sunderland at your peril!

  • Tom B // August 12, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    What planet is this writer on??! Why mock a club with ambition? Which club does this guy support! Idiot!

  • CrazyToffee // August 12, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    As an Evertof fan, why does this plonker of a ‘journalist’ feel the need to knock Sunderland? Give them credit for aiming high! The Premier league would be better with teams like mine and Sunderland providing more competition for the ‘traditional’ top 6 teams!

  • Matt Langford // August 12, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    ‘The Spoiler”??? The TOOL more like!

  • GreenandWhite // August 12, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Celtic fan here…soft spot for Sunderland for obvious reasons! Why do some people feel the need to write garbage articles like this in order to antagonise people!!! Sunderland regularly had some of the highest attendances in the Premier league last season, despite finishing in the bottom half!! How many other teams can say that…either those in the top half….!!?

  • Upminster Iron // August 12, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    How is the journalist knocking Sunderland though? I think if anything he’s admiring their ambition but stating that their signings this summer aren’t going to take them to the next level. Can anyone disagree with that sentiment?

  • NorthLondonPete // August 12, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Spurs cast offs???! What an idiot!

  • Billy Shears // August 12, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Tottenham didnt want them, that makes them Spurs cast-offs NorthLondon Pete!

  • greg // August 12, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Upminster Iron, I think its his comments about spurs cast offs and his little ‘Hmmms’ are a bit sarcastic. He may be paying a compliment of sorts but its in a very back-handed way! Good luck to your boys this season by the way!

  • greg // August 12, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    So if Man u sold Ronaldo to Real that makes him a Man U cast off??!! Hmmm i think not billy Shears!

  • Eric // August 12, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    So that must make Robby Keane a cast off and he’ll soon be joined by Berbatov – that’s if we use your logic.

    Quinn said 5 stages not 5 years and yes this plonker is knocking the club whilst attempting to be a journalist but only succeeding in being a complete pratt

  • Billy Shears // August 12, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    I don’t think Chimbonda, Malbranque and Tanio are comparable assets to Ronaldo greg!

  • Upminster Iron // August 12, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Keane is a three-time Spurs player of the year and won the award last season. They only sold him because he asked to leave and they got a good offer for him. On the other hand, Tainio, for example, started just one league game in 2008 and even that was the game after they won the Carling Cup. I think that’s the difference between a reluctant sale (Keane, Carrick) and a cast-off – someone who is surplus to requirements.

  • Laffatpoppins // August 12, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    You tool! Do some research. Those comments were made 3 years ago before the Emirates was even finished. The majority of the spending took place last Summer, and not at the end of last year.

  • Letalent // August 12, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Why wouldnt Tainio, Chimbonda, Malbranque and Diouf all help take Sunderland to the next level, seeing as all 4 of these players have played in a League Cup final in reason seasons, 3 of them just having won it? Also, Spurs and Bolton both underperformed in the League last season, but spent the 2/3 seasons previous to that challenging in the top 6, and all 4 of the players signed were important parts of those top 6 teams. Spurs have heavily invested in their midfield this season, so they may have subsequently felt that the 3 were not needed any more, but they were needed when Spurs were challenging Arsenal for the 4th Champions League spot on the last day of the season.

  • Upminster Iron // August 12, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Robbie Savage played in and won two League Cup Finals but I don’t remember him playing in the Champions League shortly afterwards.

  • Letalent // August 12, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Robbie Savage was also an important part of a top half team for a few seasons – but this is what I am saying – the next stage for SAFC is to become an established top half team, the sort of team that is challenging for the league cup and uefa cup places. STAGE 3 If that is done successfully then they can look to push on to becoming a top 4 side STAGE 4 but give them a break they only just finished with STAGE 2. Nevertheless, the 4 signings are all STAGE 3 players.

  • BorisBear // August 12, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    When Keane took over Sunderland were bottom of the CCC. Now Sunderland are in their second season with some (arguably) shrewd signings of proven premiership quality (no argument against that) and probably more to come. With a predominantly young and improving squad and the second best youth team in the country for the last 2 years, who is to say that Sunderland aren’t two fifths of the way to champions league qualification? I happen to think that the next three fifths will be the hardest of them all but with the backing Sunderland have (fans, management and board) I happen to think they have more change of sustaining European football than smaller clubs, lesser supported clubs like West Ham (not trying to be incendiary here, its just a fact that Sunderland have a bigger following in every sense).
    The problem with the popular media is that they’re very London centric and so fans of London clubs believe they’re the biggest and the best when in fact Arsenal apart, all of the biggest supported clubs are north of the Watford gap (Everton, Aston Villa, Liverpool, Leeds, Man City/Utd, Sheff Wed, Sunderland and Newcastle).

    This article and some of the comments just show further ignorance of the fact that the football hotbed in the UK is actually further north than London.

  • Mike Gatt // August 12, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    It’s good to see a team like Sunderland spending money to try and establish themselves in the top division, rather than just pocket most of the telly money. Personally, I think they have a more than decent chance to push for a top ten finish.
    We’ve seen that you need to spend money to survive. Having heart and dedication is not enough. Look at Reading!
    As a Man United fan, I obviously like Keane, and I hope thay do well.

  • Hmmm // August 13, 2008 at 3:20 am

    whats with all the flame posts made 1 minute within of each other on every article? stop reading the fucking site if u dont like it instead of blind abuse.

  • Gareth // August 23, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    The Stadium Of Light has two 3 tier stands making the capacity about 49,000, the capacity if the other two sides are completed would be 63,000. The stadium was designed with the future in mind but the club got into debt and became a yo yo club and so the gradual development was never realised. What Niall is suggesting is that were Sunderland to get European football then the expansions would be necessary. Fair comment I think.

    As for the article belittling Sunderlands signings, as said in the responses already, they are only at stage 3 of the plan which is establishing themselves in the league, Cisse and Diouf are top ten standard players its all sensible stuff, free loan deal and two and a half million for Diouf, compare that to last seasons 5 million for Chopra, enough said.

  • Nathan Stephenson // September 17, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    I’m a Sunderland supporter, but hey this guy must have been on drugs when he wrote this, and Niall Quinn is being a prat for turning us into an over ambitious Newcastle type of club. We’re nowhere near that level yet. But hopefully we may be someday. FTM!!!

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