THESE days, former soccer international and Sunderland boss Niall Quinn is mainly focused on scoring business goals for his rapidly expanding broadband company.
He won 92 Irish caps, playing in the European Championship in 1988 and in the World Cups of 1990 and 2002. His club career began at Arsenal, led to Man City and concluded at Sunderland -- 475 games played, 141 goals scored.
He hung up his boots in 2003, took a coaching job at Sunderland and dabbled in TV punditry. He led the consortium that bought into Sunderland in 2006, and became chairman, helping attract US tycoon Ellis Short. He wrapped up his involvement there earlier this year.
Last August he co-founded Qsat, a satellite broadband business targeting customers that don't have access to fibre services. There's a potential 200,000 market in Ireland and rights to several British territories, including the 3m population area around Sunderland in the north east.
In March, Quinn bought out the other Qsat owners to go it alone. The company has around 50 employees. "We're on our way to 10,000 customers," he says. A British office will open shortly and he's in talks to get into markets in Germany and Africa.
"People said I'm mad, Ireland is in bits, stay in England. But I know it's going to come good. I've such talented people working for me. It's not football but I do have a team and I'm captain of the team."
He has a share in a pub and apartment complex called the Manor House in Bagenalstown. He'll watch Euro 2012 on TV this year. "I think we'll be fine tonight, we'll get a result for sure. You can't knock what Trapattoni does. It's all bundling up well," he says.
The photo in last week's column was not John Brennan of Jury's Inns, but RTE star and hotelier John Brennan. Our apologies.
Sunday Indo Business