THERE are perks to leaving the soccer world behind and a better social life is one, according to Niall Quinn.
The former Ireland striker says settling into family life in Kildare after years away has improved his social life and also allowed him to indulge in another pastime – GAA.
Quinn (46) left England and soccer management behind last year after six years as chairman of Sunderland.
Niall, his model wife Gillian, daughter Aisling (18) and son Michael (15) live at Forenaughts, near Naas, in a country mansion with stables and an equestrian track.
The dad of two is enjoying being at home as he concentrates on his broadband company, Q Sat, while also being a part-time pundit on Sky Sports.
"I think we made the right decision; it was better for the kids we felt," Niall said.
"Their lives are different here than they would be in England.
"I wouldn't get to see the Dublin matches or the Tipperary hurling matches that I go to.
"These are all the things that you need to try to get the balance," added the Dubliner.
Niall, who had spells playing with Sunderland, Man City and Arsenal, says that his decision to quit the UK benefited his children.
Aisling has temporarily ditched the catwalk for the books as she concentrates on her studies and Niall says he prefers it this way.
"I'm delighted. She has her head down now so she's fine."
Niall also believes that his sports-mad son Michael is happier at home, although he has ruled out following his dad into the professional game.
"He plays all the sports – gaelic, soccer and rugby – so that's enough; just getting him to do a bit of school work is all you want him to do," laughed Niall.
Quinn's departure from Sunderland also allowed him the opportunity to pour time and resources into his company and he now has 50 employees working at the broadband firm.