Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Happier Fans Is Target for Quinn

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Happier Fans Is Target for Quinn

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

NIALL Quinn is hoping he will be able to sit more comfortably in his director's box seat next season after challenging Sunderland's players to put a smile on the fans' faces in 2008-09.

The Black Cats chairman has been satisfied with the steady progress the club has made since being bought by the consortium he headed two years ago. But having had to wait until April 26 for Sunderland to guarantee topflight status, Quinn hopes the coming campaign is much less stressful.

"For me a great year next year would be to have our fans not worrying about relegation all year," he said. "I'd buy that now. Last year I'd have bought 17th place. We finished 15th. Next year if we can finish five or six places higher and the crowd enjoy it more, and the anxiety isn't there, that would be another step in the right direction."

Despite his vast experience in the game as a former Republic of Ireland international and top-flight striker with Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland, Quinn is restricting his role in this summer's transfer market to putting together the financial packages necessary to attract manager Roy Keane's top targets.

Part of the process is selling season tickets to fund the new faces but Quinn accepts there is also a responsibility on the club to bring in the players who can repay the faith he is asking for.

"It was the same last year, we got a great initial push and then when a couple of players started to come in, the push got going again," he reflected on the club's official website. "We'd like to improve on last year. We had 30,000 then and I think we're getting up near it. I'd like to get a lot more than it but we'll see.

"The fans are expecting a little bit more this year and I accept that. What I have to do is try to satisfy them in the transfer market, in the level of football we play, the type of player we bring in, and give them a little bit more to cheer about year in, year out. …

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