Belfast Telegraph

Martin O'Neill on his way to light up Sunderland

Martin O'Neill will be rubberstamped as the new Sunderland boss today.

The former Northern Ireland skipper was in Wearside last night thrashing out a deal that sees him return to football management 16 months after his departure from Aston Villa.

Sunderland hope O'Neill will be in the stands at Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow as their new manager, with Steve Bruce's former assistant Eric Black taking charge of the team on the day.

The 59-year-old former Aston Villa and Celtic boss is being tipped to be a huge success at the Black Cats by managerial heavyweights Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

Both Manchester United boss Ferguson and Arsenal chief Wenger felt Sunderland were wrong to sack Bruce but they feel O’Neill is the right man to lift the Premier League club out of the doldrums.

Ferguson said: “The job he did at Villa Park was excellent, he did a great job at Celtic, he won the League Cup with Leicester, so Martin has got the experience and track record to do well. If that's the job he's going to, I'm sure he will do well.”

The Old Trafford supremo claimed that Bruce's Geordie roots may have contributed to his dismissal. “Fans just don't have patience any longer, just see what happened to Steve up in the north east where being a Geordie didn't help him,” said the Scot of his former player.

Wenger also backed O’Neill to taste success at Sunderland.

“Maybe he needed a few months breather, some people sometimes need to go away a little bit to realise how much they miss it.” Wenger said.

O'Neill will expect to be given a £15m transfer kitty ahead of the January window and guarantees that more money will be made available in the summer.

Belfast Telegraph

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