Playing long balls into empty space since 2012.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

How a Postal Strike prevented Niall Quinn from Playing AFL

We all have our sporting highs. This is one of mine Who else but the big man? 
And this is perhaps the greatest supporter song ever composed (albeit by Man City fans):
Niall Quinn's disco pants are the best, 
they go up from his arse to his chest, 
they're better than Adam and the Ants,
Niall Quinn's disco pants!
For a lot of contemporary Sunderland supporters Niall Quinn is an icon. Scored goals against the barcodes. Led the team out of championship misery. Scored goals against the dirty mags. Played in the most dominant Sunderland team for 50 years. In retirement, as chairman, led the club out of one of its frequent troughs. Did I mention that he scored goals against the horse punchers?

Yet it is little known that he might have been lost to English and Irish football if not for the interference of a postal strike.

What follows is a nice piece by Daniel Garb from the Footy Record this year about Niall Quinn's connection with Australian Rules. It is astounding just how many codes of football Quinn seemed to be good at. He also played in an All-Irleand Hurling final according to Garb.

We might take with a grain of salt the suggestion that Quinn would have preferred to play Australian Rules - given the purpose of the magazine in which the piece is published - if not for the fact that he is quoted as saying "I'd probably have gone" if the deal had arrived in a timely fashion.

It would have been fascinating to see how he might have gone at footy though I am pleased he stayed with soccer and contributed so positively to the fortunes of my club and the game in general.

Click on the images to enlarge them to a readable size.


  1. " It is astounding just how many codes of football Quinn seemed to be good at."

    Not really. According to Wikipedia "Aged 16, he (Quinn) played in the 1983 All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship Final" for (County) Dublin.

    Dublin is not a traditional hotbed of Hurling. The Jackeens much prefer Gaelic Football to the clash of the ash. So to be a member of an under-18 Dublin rep team and reach the final was quite something -even though they lost to Galway by three points in a goalless game.

    Now the thing I have noticed in my contacts with men who have been brought up playing hurling is that have all had a wonderful "ball sense". They just know where it is, what it is going to do and what to do about it. The place where I worked in Dublin entered a team in business houses sporting comps and no matter what we participated all we had to do was outline the rules to the two or three hurlers that we might have in the teams, they understood and then played very well if not brilliantly. One chap from Kilkenny scored three tries in a Sevens game and it was the first time he had ever touched a rugby ball. They were devastating at basketball too.

    One just has to watch the game to know why they are so good at ball sports.

  2. Ahhh The Disco Pants... that brings back some memories. What was Quinn thinking???

    Footballers with a 'Gaelic sports' background is not unsual due to the codes amateur status. I beleive it was in the 1970s that the GAA overturned its rules preventing players from playing the so called British sports.

    It is interesting that the staunchly amateur GAA doesnt imbose bans on players returning from the AFL or competing in the International Rules series.