Keane running team his way, insists Quinn

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The Independent Football

The Sunderland chairman, Niall Quinn, has insisted he will not interfere in manager Roy Keane's business as the manager attempts to turn around the club's fortunes on the pitch.

The former Republic of Ireland team-mates, who famously found themselves on opposite sides after Keane's pre-World Cup bust-up with manager Mick McCarthy in 2002, have forged a solid working relationship since the former Black Cats striker handed his compatriot his first job in management in August.

Keane's early months in charge at the Championship club have brought mixed fortunes to the Stadium of Light, but Quinn is confident he has got the right man at the helm.

Speaking in a question and answer session on the club's official website, www.safc.com, the chairman said: "I am very, very comfortable knowing that everything Roy has epitomises what I want brought into this football club.

"As a director, the worst thing I could do is get busy and start interfering. But at the same time, I must ensure that behind the scenes, I am preparing the playing side of things here exactly how the manager would want it, that there can be no friction between the two and the path is there for us to take.

"What happens here is results-driven; the football club will live or die because of its results, and my job is to ensure the manager gets as much assistance as possible in getting results," Quinn insisted.

"I am not up high looking down on the manager, saying, 'You better do this, you better do that', as happens at a lot of football clubs.

"I am on a level par with the manager. I have got to get my side of things right and he has got to get his side of things right and have a synergy between us to get the whole thing working as one."

Quinn's belief in Keane is in stark contrast to his emotions when he retired as a player following Howard Wilkinson's appointment as Peter Reid's successor in October 2002.

He revealed: "I hoped things would have worked out for the club when I left. I got the feeling they would not. I disagreed with the new choice of manager, not because of anything I knew about him, but I just felt the club needed something different at that time.

"We had ridden the crest of a wave, we were on the way down and I felt the club needed a big name, a big attraction and somebody passionate who the fans would warm to. I knew from hearing about Howard's style that he would have found it difficult to get into the fans' hearts because of his abrasive style, and I just felt it was going to start off badly.

"I had no idea it was going to go as badly as it did - and I would be lying if I said it did, that is not true.

"But at that particular time, I wished the club well and left, but I always felt if it did not work out, there might be something here for me at the club."

Quinn and his Drumaville consortium finally took control on Wearside just days before the closure of the summer transfer window, and the Irishman acknowledges that their initial attempts to recruit new blood to the relegated club - they were unsuccessful with a £3m bid for an unnamed Premiership player - were perhaps ambitious in the circumstances.

However, he is happy with the way things have progressed since, although he admits that his current role is no substitute for the years he enjoyed wearing the famous red-and-white stripes.

"You do not score goals up in the directors' box," Quinn said. "You head them and you kick them, but you do not get anywhere, I am afraid. "It is much, much better playing football."

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