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Roy rants Niall Quinn gives his verdict on whether Roy Keane could return to management

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Niall Quinn

Niall Quinn

Niall Quinn

Niall Quinn has opened up on his turbulent relationship with Roy Keane and insisted the former Sunderland boss could still make a return to full-time management.

Quinn sided with Mick McCarthy in the infamous bust-up that ended with Keane walking out of the Ireland team at the 2002 World Cup finals and then revived his relationship with the firebrand legend by hiring him to manage Sunderland in 2006.

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Roy Keane speaks with Mick McCarthy in the heat of Saipan before the eruption occurred. Photo: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

Roy Keane speaks with Mick McCarthy in the heat of Saipan before the eruption occurred. Photo: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

Roy Keane speaks with Mick McCarthy in the heat of Saipan before the eruption occurred. Photo: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

Speaking to Paddy Power's From The Horse's Mouth podcast, Quinn reflected on the infamous events in Saipan and the fall out that split the Irish sporting nation.

"Had we known it was going to be so serious in that team meeting, we should have just abandoned that team meeting," said Quinn of the showdown between McCarthy and Keane.

"It was a really difficult time for us and it doesn’t get any easier. I appreciate that it was 1000 times more difficult for Roy Keane.

"I was pleased in many ways when Roy eventually came to Sunderland as manager and did as well as he did. I was pleased that there was more to my relationship then than somebody who was part of a group who supported Mick and played for Mick in that tournament, rather than saying it was Roy we should have been sticking up for."

Quinn, who went on to be part of the consortium that took bought Sunderland , recalls how he patched up his differences with Keane prior to his appointment as Black Cats boss.

He came in and just said, look, Niall and I have a little bit of business to discuss, if you just give us a couple of minutes," he recalls.

"He said, okay, if we’re doing this, put everything behind us and let’s go, and that was it. It was literally five seconds.

"We kicked on from there, and it took him a while. He didn’t take the job straight afterwards, and he kind of went against taking it for a little while, and then he came back into it and took it, and it was just an amazing year. That year when we got promotion, he took over - we won one game out of five. I was in charge, I remember it well.

"He kind of swept into town, and the whole city just backed him accordingly. The players responded, and we did what we could. We bought players to help him along the way.

"But it was great to see him in that first year, that first 18 months, two years, obviously his most successful time as a manager, and to see the control he had over not just his players but the club and the city as a whole, I always felt that he was going to go on somewhere bigger and do it on his own.

"Now, he chose to go number two for the last lot of years, but I would always still argue the point that he’s number one, and there’s still a number one in him somewhere to redo what he did at Sunderland."

Former Republic of Ireland striker Quinn has seen it all in a career that took in spells with Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland, with the tales he has to tell from a life in football enough to fill several books.

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Niall Quinn celebrating scoring the equaliser in 1991. Photo: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Niall Quinn celebrating scoring the equaliser in 1991. Photo: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Niall Quinn celebrating scoring the equaliser in 1991. Photo: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Quinn played for City at a time when the club were in a very different financial position prior to the vast investment pumped into the club by their owners from Abu Dhabi, yet he admits he is happy to have played for the club in their less affluent days.

"It's kind of Hollywood today, but our days were great as well," he added. "I'm often asked, what Man City would I have preferred to play for? Believe it or not, I'm really glad I played for the Man City I did.

"They were special times. This local group started to become superstars at the time, and they would go on stage all over the country and they'd wear my shirt number with my name. Oasis used to do stuff like that.

"Suddenly you were getting ideas about yourself. I was asked to do Question of Sport, and you suddenly think, 'Jesus, I've arrived'. We had great fun."

Listen to the full podcast with Niall Quinn HERE

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