Quinn and Keane agree to let sleeping dogs lie

Sunderland chairman says he has buried the hatchet with club's former manager
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The Independent Online

The Sunderland chairman, Niall Quinn, has revealed he and Roy Keane have settled their differences after the former manager's abrupt departure from the club. Keane quit three months ago and recently blamed a change in his relationship with Quinn for his decision, as well as the club's major shareholder Ellis Short.

Quinn has spoken to Keane, however, and believes that his fellow Irishman is "champing at the bit" to return to football management.

Quinn said: "We've had a conversation since he's left and all was fine. There were a couple of things that I think he wasn't too happy with, things that should have been done, but that's all history now.

"I think he's already champing at the bit. You can tell from the interview he did that he's champing at the bit to get back into football."

Quinn accepted that Keane's expectations of the Sunderland players were too high for some of them to meet.

"Roy had standards and demands that were exceptional, and some players came to the front and warmed to the task. Others didn't and, of course, those kind of players are always going to look for excuses," he said.

"Roy was a colossal influence on players and if Roy Keane told you to do something, then you did it. We got to great success with that, I think we just had a difficult two or three weeks which culminated in a lot of pressure, and culminated in Roy saying, 'Hey, okay, I don't hang around somewhere for six or seven months and not get what I want out of it.'"

Quinn also insisted that he was not involved in Keane's departure. He said: "I wasn't involved in what went on, I wouldn't say, 'Oh you should have done this, you should have done that.' I think there were times we gave a couple of last-minute goals away and that could've changed everything.

"Football is such a fine line, and I don't think you can suddenly define it. I think Roy is Roy and probably for himself he would alter one or two things. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before he gets back into the game."

Keane's successor, Ricky Sbragia, has notched up five wins, six draws and five defeats since taking over in December.

Sunderland are also five points clear of the relegation zone going into Saturday's home game against Wigan Athletic and need just a couple of wins to guarantee their top-flight status. Quinn has hailed the new manager's influence and the impact he has had in the dressing room.

"I think Ricky came in for those few games before he got the job permanently and it was amazing. We just felt that he brought exactly what was needed at that time," Quinn said.

"We were really at a crossroads when it could all have gone horribly wrong for us, and Ricky calmed the situation down and brought his professionalism in, which was a different type to Roy's," added Quinn.

"[They have] different ways in performance, Ricky got people smiling again. He got the players to believe in themselves. I think if we do stay up it will be a colossal achievement by him to come into a team who were in the bottom three, that had just lost three home games."

5

The number of points Sunderland are clear of the relegation zone under new manager Ricky Sbragia.

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