Sunderland Targets Top Eight

Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn wants a top eight finish next season.

Sunderland used to offer their players sweeteners just for staying up. But Quinn took over as chairman in 2006 and in partnership with then manager Roy Keane agreed that a club of its size should not be giving out rewards for simply surviving.

Quinn told the Sunderland Echo:

"I inherited a situation here where there were bonuses paid out just for staying in the Premier League.

"That wasn't acceptable as far as I was concerned. When I was here as a player, we finished 17th in 2002 – one place above the relegation zone – and we were mortified.

"To think that the players could have collected a bonus for doing that was too much. It just wasn't right for the ethos I was trying to bring back into the club. So we brought in a bonus system for winning promotion from the Championship and the players deserved it because they got the club back into the big time.

"But when we sat down at that point with Roy, myself and the players, it was about going further. We said 'look, you're all fantastically well-paid and getting money for just staying in the league is not what this club is all about'.

"That was Year One in the Premier League, the season just finished was Year Three and the same ethos has carried on.

"Next year it will be Year Four and I hope that when we sit down with the players, they will agree with me that the future for us is to hang onto that top eight.

"If we do, the club will be earning a lot more revenue and we can afford to pay the players bigger bonuses. But if they are finishing 13th, we can't.

"And if we finish 18th, we're all in trouble!"

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