O'Neill named as Sunderland boss
Martin O'Neill has signed a three-year contract to become manager of Sunderland.
The Black Cats turned to the Northern Irishman after parting company with Steve Bruce earlier this week following a poor start to the Premier League season.
O'Neill told the club's official website: "It's a very nice feeling to be back in football and to be the manager of Sunderland. It's a big moment for me."
O'Neill, who will officially start work on Monday, added: "I'd heard about what a good club it was but coming here, seeing the stadium and training ground, I've been bowled over. It's absolutely fantastic. I hope I can help Sunderland to a very successful period. That's what I've come for and that's my driving ambition."
O'Neill has been out of football management since leaving Aston Villa just prior to the start of the 2010-11 campaign. He had led Villa to consecutive sixth-place finishes, having previously enjoyed success with Celtic and Leicester.
Sunderland have moved swiftly to get their man following Bruce's departure on Wednesday in the wake of a 2-1 home defeat by his former club Wigan which proved the final straw for chairman and owner Ellis Short.
The Black Cats have won just two of their 13 league games to date this season and currently sit 16th in the table on 11 points, just two clear of the drop zone. They have won just three games at home in 2011, a return which severely hampered Bruce's hopes of establishing the club in the top half of the Premier League.
O'Neill was undoubtedly the fans' favourite from the moment Bruce was relieved of his duties, and his name has been on the lips of supporters for several years as a result of his boyhood affection for the club. One of O'Neill's first tasks will be to assess the squad he has inherited from Bruce and decide where it may need strengthening.
His predecessor presided over a major summer reshuffle which saw 11 new faces arrive, but there are significant deficiencies, particularly in attack where Bruce never really managed to replace Darren Bent, Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck.
O'Neill is expected to attend Sunderland's Premier League match at Wolves tomorrow, with Bruce's assistant Eric Black in temporary charge of first-team affairs.