Complete support for Bruce from Quinn
NIALL Quinn has underlined his faith in Steve Bruce by revealing that the Sunderland manager will not be dismissed even if his side fails to pick up another point this season. And while the Black Cats chairman remains confident relegation will not be an issue in the final ten matches of the campaign, he last night confirmed that each and every player will be subject to an automatic 40 per cent wage cut if they find themselves playing Championship football next season. Bruce's position was the subject of considerable debate ahead of Tuesday night's home game with Bolton, a match that saw owner Ellis Short travel from his London base to attend the Stadium of Light. The pressure decreased considerably when Sunderland recorded a comprehensive 4-0 win to end a run of 14 league games without a victory and haul themselves six points clear of the relegation zone, but regardless of what happens in the remainder of the campaign, Bruce has proved unable to engineer the dramatic improvement that was envisaged when he was appointed last summer. Nevertheless, Quinn continues to insist he is the right man for the job, and when asked to clarify any doubts regarding the solidity of Bruce's position, the Sunderland chairman could hardly have been any more unequivocal. I can assure you now that even if we don't win another game between now and the end of the season, Steve Bruce will be manager here next year, said Quinn. If we go down, he'll still be the manager. I just feel he shares the same passion that the fans have, the owner has, we all have. He sees what needs to be done here and people believe in him. The way he carries himself and projects our club is everything we wanted. We're trying to make a step up in the toughest league in the world, and we know it's going to take guts, determination and hard work aligned with other stuff like a good transfer policy and getting things right tactically and in terms of motivation. The pressure in the Premier League is incredible and there have been some tough knock backs, but we think he's the right man to get this club to where we all want it to be. That aim is a regular position in the top ten of the Premier League, and while such a scenario now looks unlikely this season, Bruce will be provided with further funds in the summer in an attempt to ensure it is a realistic target next term. Short has cemented his commitment to Sunderland's long-term future by injecting more than £50m into the club in the last two years, and after quietly assuming 100 per cent of the shareholding, it appears as though the previously reclusive American is beginning to assume a more hands-on role. As well as attending Tuesday's victory, he also travelled to Sunderland's training ground on Wednesday morning to deliver a motivational address to the players. It's been a tough period, but Steve played a blinder in that period, said Quinn. The players know they have to keep to the standard they set on Tuesday now, and that was one of the messages Ellis gave them yesterday. He said, I'm delighted with how you played the other night, but I'm not here to pat you on the back about it, I'm here to tell you everyone expects it in the next ten games'. The players agreed with that, it was a good chat. Provided things go to plan in the remaining ten matches, Short is prepared to make further funds available in the close season, but if the worst was to happen and Sunderland were to be relegated, Quinn insists there would be no financial meltdown. Instead, a series of automatic pay reductions would kick in, with the whole of the playing squad, and a large number of senior executives, receiving mandatory 40 per cent wage cuts. Since Kenny Cunningham arrived on a free transfer in July 2006, every subsequent new arrival has agreed to a 40 per cent relegation clause being inserted into their contract, so even an England international like Darren Bent would not become a financial burden if Sunderland were to find themselves in the Championship. From the moment I came to this club right the way through to today, anyone who comes in has to agree to take a 40 per cent deduction in salary in the event of us getting relegated, revealed Quinn. Any player still at the club who didn't have it in, when they signed their new contracts, it was in there. So what happens if we go down and hit what people might think of as Armageddon Well, the first thing that happens is that our wage bill including senior members of staff goes down by 40 per cent. That means we can breathe. We would never hold on to Darren Bent if he's scored 25 goals and wants to be an England international he wouldn't want to stay in the Championship, so we'd have to do one or two transfers but not only would we be safe financially, we'd also have a proper team to come back up.
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