Sunderland turn to O’Neill to reignite Stadium of Light

Following the sacking of Steve Bruce, Sunderland have turned their attention to Martin O’Neill as the man to kick-start their faltering campaign. After a poor run of results, culminating in a 2-1 defeat at home to Wigan Athletic, Black Cats owner Ellis Short finally decided to act, ending Bruce’s reign at the Stadium of Light after two years in charge. With Sunderland sitting 17th in the Premier League table after just a single victory in their last seven games, supporters will be hoping the appointment of O’Neill will add a renewed energy and confidence to their side from someone famed for his passion for management.

Since leading Leicester City in 1996 to the Premier League en route to League Cup glory in 1997 and 2000, the familiar sight of O’Neill on the touchline has become synonymous with the man. The energetic displays of the former Aston Villa manager will offer Sunderland fans hope of a new era after replacing Bruce, who left Sunderland on just 11 points from 39 available. While expectations, in the short-term at least, will be more realistic, O’Neill’s record of taking clubs to higher levels of success is certainly one which stands up to scrutiny.

Following on from his successful spell at Leicester, O’Neill went onto further glory in Scotland, leading Celtic to no fewer than seven domestic trophies, including three SPL titles, as well as a UEFA Cup final, only to lose to Jose Mourinho’s Porto, during his five years at Celtic Park.

Having taken a break from the game due to personal reasons, O’Neill would resume his successful managerial career at Aston Villa, taking the club to regular contenders for European qualification during his four years in charge, as well as the club’s first major cup final in a decade, going down 2-1 to Manchester United in the League Cup final in 2010. Having departed due to a reported disagreement with the Villa hierarchy over transfer funds, O’Neill will be likely to look to the upcoming transfer window to strengthen his squad and avoid the relegation dogfight.

Having spent strongly in recent years, Sunderland owner Short and former chairman Niall Quinn have been keen to invest in talent to take Sunderland to new heights. While spending has been somewhat reduced of late, it is unclear at this stage what funds will be available to O’Neill, however, given the club’s desire to steer away from the foot of the league table under the guidance of a new manager, it is likely that the club would want to look at further recruitment in their playing staff.

While Sunderland face a challenge to recover from their poor start to the season, the appointment of O’Neill will bring a much-needed source of optimism to the Stadium of Light. With the club turning to an experienced manager to reverse the club’s recent fortunes, many will be expecting vast improvements as the club look to usher in a new era under Martin O’Neill.

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