FOR THE last decade, Martin O’Neill’s shadow has loomed large over every incumbent in the Sunderland dug-out.
Ever since O’Neill revealed the boyhood pursuit of glueing a transistor to his ear in the hope of hearing a snippet of commentary about hero Charlie Hurley, there has been an emotional attachment to the new Sunderland manager on Wearside.
The view has persisted that this wouldn’t be another of those fly-by-night bosses, content to do their 18-month stint before collecting a weighty severance cheque and signing on at another Premier League club.
Here was a boyhood Sunderland fan, whose dreams on the other side of the Irish Sea were red and white tinted and would surely be the answer to generations of under-achievement.
It was as close to a home-grown managerial hero as Sunderland could get. And, even better, he was a successful one.
Whenever O’Neill was between jobs, the current Sunderland manager would feel the heat if times were hard.
Supporters were not ignorant enough to think the country’s A-list bosses would jump at the chance of moving to the Stadium of Light.
Read Chris Young’s full verdict on Martin O’Neill’s appointment in today’s Echo.