Sunderland sack manager Martin O’Neill

Martin O'Neill
Martin O'Neill
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MARTIN O’NEILL has been sensationally axed as Sunderland manager with just seven games of the season to go.

MARTIN O’NEILL has been sensationally axed as Sunderland manager with just seven games of the season to go.

Sunderland owner Ellis Short tonight made the shocking decision to part company with O’Neill, who has been at the Stadium of Light less than 16 months.

The Black Cats’ league position has grown increasingly perilous over recent weeks after a return of just three points from eight games has seen the club slide closer and closer to the bottom three.

Yet it still comes as a major surprise that Short has decided to dispense with O’Neill’s services, with so little of the campaign remaining.

There was no indication after today’s defeat to Manchester United that O’Neill was on his way out of the Stadium of Light.

But owner Short, who was NOT at the ground to watch the 1-0 loss, has opted to remove O’Neill in a bid to retain Sunderland’s Premier League status.

A club statement said: “Sunderland AFC has announced that it has parted company with manager Martin O’Neill this evening.

“The club would like to place on record its thanks to Martin and wishes him well for the future.

“An announcement will be made in the coming days regarding a successor.”

Boyhood Sunderland fan O’Neill succeeded Steve Bruce in December 2011 and initially enjoyed a huge impact, with the Black Cats winning seven of his first 10 Premier League games in charge.

Although O’Neill’s side faded towards the end of the campaign, they still comfortably avoided relegation and managed to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.

But despite spending more than £20million during the summer on big money buys Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson, Sunderland have struggled to convince this season.

Yet after back-to-back wins in January over West Ham and Wigan, Sunderland looked like they were comfortably heading to survival.

But Sunderland haven’t tasted victory since and January signings Danny Graham, Alfred N’Diaye and Kader Mangane have all struggled to make an impact.

Still, Short gave no indication that O’Neill’s position was under threat, albeit both were looking towards a summer of overhauling the club’s playing squad.