Niall Quinn has revealed that his failed move to Sporting Lisbon remains his biggest regret from his football career.
In 1995, Niall Quinn was being linked with a switch from Manchester City to the reigning Portuguese champions but a dispute with City proved too great a stumbling block to overcome.
The Republic of Ireland legend has explained that a disagreement over the transfer fee resulted in a deadline set by then-Sporting manager Carlos Queiroz but Quinn was unable to work it out in time and the deal fell apart.
“Not signing for Sporting Lisbon was the worst decision I ever made in football,” Quinn told Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast.
“Carlos Queiroz was the coach there, who later came to Man United and did great things, and he agreed a deal with Manchester City. I went over, signed for them, picked a house to live in [ahead of] moving the family over, but had a row with Man City over the parting fee.
“Queiroz gave me seven days, and when I didn’t clear it up after seven days, he went for somebody else. That’s the one I look back and say I wish I’d have done.”
Quinn remained at City until 1996, when a move to Sunderland presented itself and the powerful centre-forward was able to come to terms on that transfer.
Quinn ended up scoring 67 goals in 218 appearances for the Black Cats and he looks back fondly on his time at the Stadium of Light.
“As a family, Gillian and I, it was a wonderful time in our lives,” Quinn said of his Sunderland spell. “Our children were born when I was at Sunderland and it was just a great time to be playing football in the North East.
“I appreciated that because, as I said to many people, the supporters are just like Dubs. They’re like the way the Dublin fans follow Dublin Gaelic Football.
“They live for it, they love it. They’re not as successful as Dublin, obviously, but they’re the nearest thing to what I would call Irish diehard fans, in that the club is everything. They can be quite tough if you’re not putting it in, but if you put it in for them, they’re great. So, that relationship just grew and grew.”