Niall is a retired Professional Footballer. Throughout his sporting career, Niall played for Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland AFC, and earned 92 caps for the Republic of Ireland national football team. Niall represented the Republic of Ireland in the UEFA European Football Championship Finals 1988, and two FIFA World Cups in 1990 and 2002. He remains Ireland’s second highest goal-scorer of all time and is an inductee of the Hall of Fame at Manchester City and Sunderland AFC.
Since announcing his retirement from playing professionally in 2003, Niall spent six years as part-owner and Executive Chairman of Sunderland AFC. During his tenure, Niall led the club to promotion to the Premier League within his first year. Under Niall’s leadership, the club spent its longest time in topflight football since the 1950s. Niall stepped down in the spring of 2012, leaving the club sitting in 9th place in the Premier League and in the quarter final of the FA Cup.
Niall is experienced in leading large scale highly publicised transactions within the football industry, including lead officer in acquisitions and sales of Sunderland AFC. He was responsible for a host of astute player disposals including Darren Bent (£24m), Asamoah Jean (£20m), Simon Mignolet (£10m) and Kenwyne Jones (£10m). Niall nurtured both Jordan Pickford and Jordan Henderson in the Sunderland Academy of Light, before signing deals for both players to Everton for £30m and Liverpool for £20m, respectfully. Niall also represented the North East clubs for the World Cup 2022 bid, and has sat on boards such as the Irish Sports Council, the Sunderland Foundation of Light and the Kildare Sports Partnership.
Niall wrote his first book, Niall Quinn The Autobiography, in 2002, which was published by Headline Publishing Group. In this inspirational book, he describes the ups and downs of his life and career in professional football, and the powerful life lessons and skills learned along the way. The same year of its publish, the book went on to win 'Best Autobiography' in the British Sports Book Awards and ‘WHSmith Sports Book of the Year’; and was also nominated for ‘William Hill Sports Book of the Year’.
Her Majesty the Queen of England bestowed an honorary MBE on Niall for his philanthropic endeavours in 2003. Such charitable acts include donating his entire 2002 testimonial proceeds of €1.5m to children’s hospitals. Niall has gone down in history as was the first footballer in the world to do this. Other awards conferred on Niall include Freedom of the City of Sunderland, the UK Beacon Fellowship, the James Joyce Award, and honorary membership of the Trinity College Dublin Philosophical Society. Niall has also received an honorary doctorate by the National University of Ireland, an honorary fellowship by the University of Sunderland, and an honorary degree by The Open University.
Niall has been a regular face on our TV screens since hosting ‘Start Me Up’ for RTÉ in 1997. Since his retirement, Niall has also been a popular sports panellist on Sky Sports and Virgin Media Ireland. In the world of business, Niall co-founded Mo Shoppa, a leading ecommerce platform with a mission to transfer corporate profits to local sports clubs by changing the consumer behaviour of their members.
Most recently in 2020, Niall was headhunted by the Irish Government to serve as Interim Deputy CEO of the Football Association of Ireland (FAI). This role included re-establishing relationships, transparency, trust and confidence in Irish soccer amongst all stakeholders including UEFA, FIFA, the Irish Government, Irish media, corporate sponsors, investors and the wider Irish football constituencies. A testament to the success of his tenure, the FAI were awarded UEFA’s ‘Best Organisational Development Project in UEFA’s Grow Awards’ in December 2021.
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