SOUTH Shields MP David Miliband has paid tribute to Niall Quinn’s contribution at the Stadium of Light.
Mr Miliband, who is the club’s non-executive vice chairman, said: “One has to respect the class of the man.”
It was Quinn who approached Mr Miliband – an Arsenal supporter – after his Labour leadership defeat in September 2010 to join the club.
The then chairman saw former Foreign Secretary, Mr Miliband, as a key player in raising the club’s international profile.
Mr Miliband said: “I first saw Niall Quinn from the terraces at Highbury. He’s still a giant in everything he does, and has put so much into the club over the last six years.”
He added: “As he says in his moving statement announcing his departure, he was taken on trust, and the fans took him to their hearts, even when things weren’t going right.
“But with Martin O’Neill in post, there is a massive football brain guiding the club on the field. The owner has provided stability and nous in the boardroom.
“I am sure we haven’t heard the last of Niall Quinn. He’d make a formidable politician.
“The good thing is that his legacy to the club are vision and values that are true to the history of the area and the passion of the fans.
“It won’t be squandered.”