Footballer Niall "The Mighty" Quinn

Niall Quinn has revealed he came close to quitting as Sunderland chairman as they struggled to avoid the drop at the tail-end of last season.

The former Republic of Ireland striker admitted the club’s narrow escape left him exhausted as they avoided relegation on the final day of the campaign.

But Quinn says the last few days, in which US billionaire Ellis Short bought the club and Steve Bruce took over as manager have rejuvenated him and left him looking forward to a bright future.

He said: “I was shattered after the last game of the season. I think every Sunderland fan was.

“The last eight weeks of the season were awful to endure and I questioned myself several times in that period because I know what I came here to try to do and yet there we were staring over the precipice again.

“They were very tough times, I have to admit, but when things work out as they have, it is all worth it.

“I didn’t get much sleep in those eight weeks and I’ve not had a lot of sleep in the last few days, but for different reasons. Then it was anxiety, but now it’s been excitement and anticipation.

“It seems everything has fallen into place. We stayed up, Ellis made his announcement and now Steve is here.

“My batteries are charged up again. Having your number one choice as manager coming here with such enthusiasm and relish makes you feel that what we have here is special.”

Steve Bruce was appointed on Wednesday night following the resignation of Ricky Sbragia on the final day of the season.

Quinn believes Bruce can bring back the passion that he feels has been missing at the Stadium of Light and help the club move forward.

He said: “Steve knows what this club is all about and if he can get that steel running right through this club, we will be on the right track.

“We had an average of 40,000 supporters at our home games last season and we just stayed up, but at times we lacked that passion – everyone knows that.

“There’s been a lack of mental toughness but I’m sure Steve can attract the kind of characters we need to put that right.

“He knows more than anyone what football means to the people of this region and I’m confident he will be able to instill into our players exactly what it means to play for this football club.”