An Evening with Niall Quinn
Wednesday 22 March 2017 @ 18:30
Hotel Parc Belair
111 Avenue du Dix Septembre, L-2551 Luxembourg-Belair
An Evening with Niall Quinn
22nd March, 2017. Saran Buckingham
Niall Quinn talked to a packed house at the Irish Luxembourg Chamber Event held at the Parc Hotel Belair.
Niall recounted how he grew up playing Hurling, Gaelic football and Football. The latter sport was kept a secret from his father who was an avid Hurling player! It was through his mother’s efforts that Niall was able to pursue his interest in playing football.
At the age of 16, he was scouted by the Arsenal Squad. Niall had to ask the Christian Brothers for permission to leave school as he had not completed his Leaving Certificate.
Niall began his career at Arsenal as a young reserve. He attributed Pat Rice, the then Arsenal Assistant Manager, as being a huge influence on his improvement as a footballer. One of the highlights of Niall’s career at Arsenal was playing his first match for the club at 19 years old where he scored against Liverpool. This was the first match also to be aired live.
Following a successful career at Arsenal, Niall went on to play for Manchester City. He commented that Arsenal taught him his trade as a footballer, but he became a true footballer playing for Manchester City.
After many years playing for Manchester City, Niall transferred to Sunderland football Club where he played up to his retirement. He related the story of when he was coming to the end of his football career he was involved in a head injury tackle where both he and his team mate lay injured on the field. Niall good humouredly commented that it occurred to him as he was lying on the field that his football days were probably coming to an end when the medical team stepped over him to attend the younger player first!
In 2006, he became Chairman of Sunderland Football Club. He talked very fondly of this club describing how he was warmly accepted as both player and Chairman and had huge support from the Sunderland fans and Club members. He added that due to his experience as a former footballer, he understood the dressing room culture and how to get the best out of the players.
Niall explained that there is an underbelly to the ‘glamourous’ word of football in that a lot of footballers are naively coaxed into poor financial deals that leave them bankrupt at the end of their careers. Such deals are now effecting hundreds of football players in the UK.
Niall also commented that the other dark side of football is the inability of footballers -and many other top athletes- to cope with the normalcy of life when they retire. Niall highlighted to the audience that by the time a footballer reaches the age of 38, two in five face bankruptcy and three in five are divorced.
Niall thanked the Chamber and guests for coming to listen to him. He said everyone likes a ’pat on the back’. The fact that this comment comes from a retired football player who has played 650 games, has scored a total of 163 goals and played 92 caps for Ireland, signified his humility and ease with the less athletic of the audience!
Niall signed three footballs which will be used for Charity purposes within the Irish community of Luxembourg.
Niall’s true sportsmanship and generosity of spirit was evident as he spent the entire evening with the Chamber and guests answering any question he was asked and at the after reception speaking to and mingling with everyone.
The Irish Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all its members and guests for coming to support this fantastic event.