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Niall Quinn


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Last night Sunderland fans were left stranded at Bristol Airport after the Cardiff game due to a Easyjet cockup. Niall Quinn was due to be on the cancelled flight, organized taxis for every single fan back home to Sunderland with the club picking up the tab.

 

From a sunderland fansite:

 

i woke up this morning and had to convince myself it hadn't just been a dream. helped by looking at my signed boarding pass

 

the way everyone connected with sunderland handled themselves last night was brilliant. special credit has to go to the big man and louise wanless though. out of this world.

 

now for a bit of the story that hasn't been mentioned yet. when we were waiting to board it all got stopped when a bloke who i recognise from the awayers and american tours picked up a sign that lying in the middle of the floor for zurich and posed with it before putting it on the nearest table. some daft wifey from easyjet went mental and got it all stopped, got security to get the bloke and then refused to let him on the flight. absolute shite it was but anyway, after a while boarding resumed and about 10 more of us were let through, me being the first one. i walked through to the next boarding pass check place by the side of the runway and along with 2 others walked to the top of the steps of the plane and just about to board. got to the door and were told to stop and get back down and were sent back to this bus stop type thing. we asked what we'd done and there was no response. some others joined us in the bus stop thing and we asked the easyjet and airport staff what was happening and they bluntly said, "don't know". we asked if they would find out and we were ignored. we were allowed on the plane after about 15 minutes after the pilot had, had a change of heart.

 

we sat on the plane for about half an hour with no announcement or anything and then the pilot comes on the tannoy and says we're doing some last minute paperwork and security checks. bollocks, they were leaving us to get aggitated and hoping for someone to do something to give them an excuse to cancel the flight. police arrived. 10 mintes later the captain is back on the tannoy saying cabin crew will point out and get the police to escort flight safety hazzard people off the plane and it may be possible innocent people may be affected.

 

the people that were kicked off and/or left in protest (which i was on because my mate was kicked off for using his phone on flight mode when the engines weren't even switched on) were sent to where the luggage comes out and kept in there by security and the police. A 50 year old woman and her husband were also identified as threats because they'd pressed the call button but managed to keep themselves on. the woman was in tears. Quinn and co were one of the first to leave the flight and were already talking to a few people when we walked down the stairs, calming them all down and saying if we stick together we'll win this.

 

eventually after a few more drabs of people arrived and around 25 of us were milling about (the learning difficulties lad breaking his heart at this point) quinn and wanless gathered us round and everyone was silent whilst niall said, "don't worry, i'll get you all home tonight i promise. no matter what it takes." he explained that if we remained calm, gave them no ammuniton to use against us and stuck together that we'd all be fine. he asked us all to sit on the luggage carousel whilst he went to talk to the cheif police bloke and try and get a resolution.

 

all 25ish of us threats to flight safety sat calm, passive and hardly making a noise for ages whilst niall was away and the men with machine guns looked at us more confused than anything as to why it had happened.

 

after while, quinn returned and said there was a ridiculous (his words not mine) situation that all of us that left the plane would not be offered a rescheduled flight unless we paid and no accomodation provided however the others left on the now cancelled flight would be. after that he went on to say he was going to try and organise some coaches to get us home that night and for us to be patient and remain calm whilst him and the other sunderland lot tried to arrange things.

 

off he went again and a while later he returned to say one coach was meant to be sorted and another was being finalised and that everything would be ok. the police chief gadgy said his piece about how we'd been perfectly well behaved and that we'd all been spot on and not to let ourselves down at the last hurdle.

 

quinn went off again to talk to the now departed other passengers and explain the craic to them whilst we sat and waited a bit longer. eventually when he came back we were told it was sorted and everyone gave quinn a round of applause and we walked through to front of the airport terminal and everyone congregated waiting for bags and stuff. a few of us then decided after our traumatic experience we'd best go and get a few light ales to relax us whilst loads of police stood wathching everyone. quinn and wanless were on the phones all the time sorting stuff out and eventually got us all back together and said there was a problem with the coaches and it would be taxis now. they again asked to remain patient and calm and we all said nee bother. anyway, me and a couple of my mates were the last plebs to leave and we got home at half 5. only quinn and co remained when we were plonked in our taxi.

 

from start to finish, it was surreal but it's just great to have someone like quinn who is willing to speak up against the unfair stigma football fans have. as they said last night, nothing would have happened if we were rugby fans.

 

niall. i love you.

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