TEN YEARS ON: Martin O’Neill still to assess squad before clearing up Super Kev’s future

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Here’s a look back at what the Echo was reporting on SAFC 10 years ago on this date.



Martin O’Neill says he will take time to assess his squad and speak to Kevin Phillips before deciding on the Sunderland target’s future.

O’Neill has only been in charge of Aston Villa for 11 days and much of that was spent out of England on a pre-season tour of Germany.

His efforts to establish how many of the current squad will remain in his plans for the new season have also been hampered by having to attend a meeting of Premiership bosses in Blackburn today.

Sunderland chairman-manager Niall Quinn has made no secret of his interest in bringing Phillips back to the Stadium of Light and said he expected an answer from Villa by yesterday.

But O’Neill – a man Quinn had targeted for the manager’s job on Wearside – insisted: “There is speculation about players going out and coming in.

“At this minute, I personally have not spoken to Sunderland and I just want to assess the squad.

“I think Sunderland made it public that they were interested, but I have not spoken to Kevin either. Today was a day I would have liked to have spoken to a couple of players, but I am enmeshed in a league managers’ meeting for the rest of the day.”


Daryl Murphy thought it was a wind-up when Steve Staunton rang to ask him to join the Republic of Ireland squad for tomorrow’s friendly against Holland in Dublin.

The Sunderland striker has been called up to replace injured Spurs forward Robbie Keane.

Murphy was at home on Saturday after scoring one and creating the other of Sunderland’s goals in a 3-2 home loss to Plymouth when Staunton got in touch.

He said: “It was a good job I didn’t put the phone down because it really was the manager.

“When my phone rang, it flashed up private number, so I didn’t know who it was.

“It was only after a few minutes that I started to recognise his voice and I knew it was real. He just told me to pack my bags and get on a flight the next morning.”


The two home games last week gave me my first chance to look at the Statue for Stokoe.

I have to congratulate the artist for doing an excellent job. I was really impressed by it.

I like where it’s been sited, where home and away fans can look at it on their way to the ground.

It seems like we have waited ages for the statue to arrive, but it was worth the wait.

Seeing Bob Stokoe in that celebratory pose from ‘73 brought a tingle to my spine.