London: Former Republic of Ireland international striker Niall Quinn announced on Monday he is stepping down as chairman of struggling English Premier League side Sunderland.
The 44-year-old - who played over 200 times for Sunderland in the twilight of his distinguished career - is to focus on 'international development' for the Black Cats.
Quinn - who revealed in his autobiography that of the three clubs he played for it was Sunderland who had got under his skin - will be replaced by club owner Ellis Short.
"He'll (Short) be a fantastic chairman and taking this role on speaks volumes about his ambition for the club," said Quinn, who devotes a lot of his spare time to helping children's and medical charities.
Short said that the changes at the top would make no difference to the running of the club.
"I can assure our fans that it's the same group of people continuing to lead the club," he said.
Sunderland are presently fifth from bottom - with just one win in their seven matches - and only one point above the relegation places.