O’Neill praise for Sunderland owner Short

Ellis Short
Ellis Short
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MARTIN O’Neill admits Sunderland owner Ellis Short played a major role in persuading him to join the Black Cats.

Sunderland took just three days to land O’Neill on a three-year contract following the dismissal of Steve Bruce, with the 59-year-old officially unveiled by the club today.

O’Neill held talks with both Niall Quinn and Short (pictured, left) last week and insists he was impressed by the latter’s hopes for the Wearsiders.

“Mr Short impressed me very much with his vision for the club,” said O’Neill. “He has great aspirations for it and like everyone who takes on a football club, he wants it to be as successful as possible.

“He has these plans for the football club which are very impressive indeed.”

O’Neill will take charge for the first time in Sunday’s visit of Blackburn Rovers and has immediately targeted an improvement in Sunderland’s dire home form.

Sunderland have won just three times on their own patch in 2011 after only suffering two home defeats last year.

“When the Stadium of Light is rocking it really is intimidating for other teams coming up,” added O’Neill, to the club website.

“I have managed on a number of occasions against Sunderland, in particular when I was in charge of Leicester for the League Cup semi-final in 1999.

“Sunderland at that stage had a really strong side. We did well to win the game, they gave us a torrid time and could have easily have gone through.

“I think the move from Roker Park to the Stadium of Light was done well, the club have settled in.

“The lights shining at night make the place a bit special. In recent times I have been up with Aston Villa and it’s still an intimidating place, a great place if you can win your games.”