Sunderland fans’ mixed reaction to O’Neill departure + VIDEO

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MARTIN O’Neill’s shock sacking divided fans, with some welcoming the change at the top, and others warning the club had acted too soon.

Twenty-five-year-old Ben Rowlands, from High Barnes, believes Ellis Short has jumped the gun and replacing the manager with so few games left is a recipe for disaster.

Liam Smiles

Liam Smiles

“It is the wrong decision,” he said.

“It has happened before – Mick McCarthy, Alan Shearer – they all went down.”

He added O’Neill shouldn’t bear all the blame for the club’s predicament.

“We can’t blame the manager consistently,” said Ben. “Some of the blame has to be put on the players. On the other hand, he has had three transfer windows to bring in strikers.”

Barry Appleton, 25, from Houghton, is a Newcastle fan, but doesn’t want to see Sunderland drop out of the Premier League.

“Look at Alan Pardew – when he went to Newcastle, everybody said don’t do it, but he got us out of a ditch,” said Barry. “It is a case of the new manager coming in for Sunderland and doing the same thing, to make the team his own.”

Fellow Magpie Kevin Ambler, from Houghton, was taken aback by the dismissal.

“I was very, very surprised, especially with eight games left,” said the 28-year-old.

Andrew Kerr, 29, from Penshaw, will be back at the SoL next season, no matter who is in the hot seat.

“ I have renewed my season ticket because it is a part of my life. I have been going for 20 years,” he said. “I can’t stop – I was there during the 14-point season.”

Twenty-nine-year-old Manchester Utd fan Michael Ambler was amazed O’Neill had been axed for losing 1-0 to a team which was on its way to the Premier League title.

“I was very shocked he got sacked for that,” he said.

Twenty-seven-year-old Michael Copeland, from Millfield, said: “The team has got no creativity whatsoever. There is nobody who can run in behind the striker.

“Playing one up front, you need to have someone running in behind.”

Stephen Thompson, from High Barnes, and Liam Smiles, from Silksworth, had been hoping to see David Moyes on Wearside.

Liam said: “Someone who will get them playing good football.”

Marc Whitfeild, 27, from Millfield, believes O’Neill’s time was up.

“It’s time for a change. It has been poor this season, just playing the long ball all the time,” he said.