We all have our sporting highs. This is one of mine Who else but the big man?
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?And this is perhaps the greatest supporter song ever composed (albeit by Man City fans):
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.
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