Sunderland pushing for Champions League football

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Chairman Niall Quinn unveils five step plan for success


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…

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