Quinn gets coaching commission


Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn has been named as a player-coach at Sunderland in a major shake-up of backroom staff.

The 35-year-old, who retired from international football after the Republic of Ireland's exit from the second round of the World Cup, will work alongside Adrian Heath, who becomes assistant to manager Peter Reid.

"The new football structure will be a massive benefit to the football club in terms of experience, technical knowledge, new ideas and enthusiasm," said Reid.

Quinn will be principally involved behind the scenes rather than playing for what would be a 19th season. He had been on the verge of retirement due to a persistent back injury.

Long-serving first-team coach Bobby Saxton has left and Reid wanted Quinn's influence on the dressing-room to be retained.

He effectively replaces Saxton while Heath remains as Reid's other coach.

Quinn's team-mate at the World Cup, Kenny Cunningham, looks to have caught the eye of Reid.

New Wimbledon manager Stuart Murdoch has confirmed that the centre back has been in talks with Sunderland regarding a switch to the Stadium of Light.

"Kenny has spoken to Sunderland, but other than that I don't know what the situation is," Murdoch said.

Leeds United manager David O'Leary is still holding out hope he will not have to sell England defender Rio Ferdinand to Manchester United.

O'Leary, who bought the central defender from West Ham in November 2000, said he would prefer not to sell the player he values at over £30 million.

"I bought Rio Ferdinand for £18 million when people said it was a lot of money and I want to keep him," O'Leary said.

"I particularly don't want to sell him to Manchester United."

Anther player contemplating a move the equivalent of footballing treason is Celta Vigo's Russian midfielder Valery Karpin, who could be on the verge of joining Galician rivals Deportivo La Coruna.

Karpin's contract with Celta expires on June 30th.

French club Nice have been relegated to the third division by the French Soccer Federation (FFF) on financial grounds, despite being promoted to the first division at the end of last season,

Nice finished third in the second division and were set to be promoted to the first division for the 2002-2003 season.

But the court of appeal confirmed last month's decision by the FFF's financial committee, who found that Nice had not proved they had sufficient funds to play in the first division.

The German press rejoiced yesterday in its team's World Cup semi-final victory as a vindication of an often maligned football squad, and even of classic German virtues.

"We came as wimps, as losers, as cowards, as bumblers to the World Cup. Now we are a sensation," the Bild said.

"Now everything is possible," said the centre-left daily Frankfurter Rundschau, looking towards the final on Sunday.

•The death has occured of former Sligo Rovers player Gerry Mitchell. He was joint manager of the Reds with David Pugh in the early '70s and went on to take over management on his own in the '80s. He also played for the Sligo senior gaelic football team.

Mitchell is survived by his wife, Peg, three sons and one daughter.