FORMER Sunderland star and chairman Niall Quinn could be set for extra time in the North East.
The Irishman stepped down from his ambassadorial role at the Stadium of Light last year.
But now he is reported to be considering a return to the region with his new business.
He is understood to be in advanced talks about establishing a UK base for his Irish broadband business in the North East.
Q Sat, which was launched in 2011, provides superfast internet connections to homes and businesses in rural areas which are unable to access optical fibre networks.
The firm will use the latest satellite technology to provide cover to an estimated three million UK households, with areas such as the Durham and Yorkshire Dales and rural Northumberland high on the list of potential customers.
Quinn took over the Dublin-based firm shortly after parting company with the Black Cats in February and has overseen an expansion both at home in Ireland and in Africa, where the company has set up a hub in Kenya.
The nature of the business means it could establish its UK headquarters anywhere – but it is understood Quinn is particularly keen to establish a foothold here in the region he grew to love, first as a player and then later as chairman of SAFC.
The offices, which will house sales, installation and support staff, would employ about 50 people.
Quinn’s playing career with Sunderland ended in 2002, but he returned four years later as head of the Drumaville Consortium of Irish and UK businessmen who bought the club from Bob Murray and installed Roy Keane as manager.
When the downturn in the Irish economy hit the consortium, Quinn was instrumental in persuading Ellis Short to invest in the club and then take complete control.
Q Sat is also said to be interested in doing business in Iraq, and is working in Africa after Quinn got to know areas of the continent through his work to promote Sunderland in its countries.