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By ESPN Staff
Jul 3, 2006

Quinn moves closer to Sunderland takeover

Niall Quinn today set out on a quest to recruit a top-class manager to drag Sunderland back into the upper reaches of the Premiership as he and his consortium finally tabled their formal offer to take over the club.

Quinn will not officially slide into the hot-seat at the Stadium of Light until the club's remaining shareholders - his consortium has already received undertakings to acquire a 72.59 per cent stake - have made a decision on their offer.

However, he has been given permission by outgoing chairman Bob Murray to start the recruitment process, and will waste no time.

Quinn declined to comment on speculation suggesting Martin O'Neill is his number one target with Roy Keane and Alex McLeish also on his shortlist, but promised he was looking for a special kind of man.

He said: 'I'll tell you what I'm looking at - and it's my call - I've got to get somebody here who really does stick his chest out and is passionate about driving this club back to where it was, and the fans can connect with it and we can all do it together.

'What I can't have is somebody who sees it as a stop-off point before another job.

'It was futile even trying to think about that until we had control, but it starts today, and the beauty of today is that I can make phone calls.

'I have ideas in my mind, but availability then comes into it. I don't want to build the fans' hopes up too much, but I'll certainly be looking for somebody they will be proud of.

'There's been lots of speculation and really what I've spent the last couple of weeks doing is building a profile of the type of manager I think this football club needs to go forward.

'The key word to it all, in my opinion, is passion, and somebody who will re-ignite the fans' beliefs again and the zest that was in this club seven or eight years ago, that it can happen again.

'Giving somebody a free hand to turn this would-be monster club great again, that's a challenge that the type of man I want will take.

'The man who takes this will be a man who's really up for a challenge and who will get into the people's hearts, and that's the type of guy I'll be looking for - and hopefully, I'll get him very, very soon.'

Quinn's consortium of seven - Patrick Beirne, Patsy Byrne, Carlie Chawke, Louis Fitzgerald, John Hays, Paddy Kelly and Jack Tierney - will have offered 117p for each share, a price which will net Murray £5.7million and which values the club at around £10million.

The offer is conditional upon a 90 per cent acceptance, and shareholders now have 21 days to decide.

However, the Irishman's rhetoric as he launched his bid was music to the ears of the club's supporters.

Asked about the club's potential, Quinn said: 'Listen, it's unbelievable.

'You can talk numbers, you can talk history - there are various reasons why the potential is there - but the big thing that's there, there's a spirit in this place.

'When it's awoken, it's something special to behold.

'Our aim - my aim, the consortium's aim and the club's aim - naturally is to be in the big league, in the Premiership with the big boys where we think a club of this stature deserves to be.

'Consolidating it would be another thing, but we will just take one fence at a time.

'I'm hopeful that everybody will get behind us, will understand now that the buildings have been built - the stadium is superb, the training ground is great - it's all about on the pitch now.

'This baby has been asleep for a few years now - we want to wake her up, drive her as far as we can and do it together in unity as one.'