Date:Monday May 29 2006
Niall Quinn's number one managerial target Martin O'Neill is set to decide on whether to accept the Boro job by tomorrow.
Should he accept the job, after having 'enthusiastic and enjoyable' talks with Boro officials on Friday, it will come as a blow to Quinn and his consortium as delays in the takeover process mean that he is still unable to offer O'Neill the Sunderland job.
And while it is commonly known that O'Neill has a soft spot for the Black Cats, the lure of Teesside could be too strong with the prospect of transfer funds, an excellent youth set-up, a good salary and the chance to work under one of the most respected chairmen in the country.
However if there is one sticking point in Sunderland and Quinn's favour, it is O'Neill's insistence on having his own backroom staff, while Gibson is similarly reluctant to part with any of the current backroom setup at Boro.
O'Neill has worked with assistants John Robertson and Steve Walford at Leicester and Celtic, and it is believed that being denied the chance to involve them with the England set up was one of the main reasons why he did not get the job. A similar situation could arise in discussions with Boro, as Gibson is adamant he wants the new manager to slot in easily with the current set up alongside Steve Round and Steve Harrison.
No such problems would be foreseeable at Sunderland, as the takeover of the club would see a complete overhaul and there would be no problem for O'Neill to bring in who he liked.
While the national media are reporting that O'Neill is expected to take the Boro job, Sunderland fans will be quietly confident that Quinny can pull off a massive coup and entice him to Wearside. For that to happen however, the takeover needs to be completed as soon as possible, managers like O'Neill don't wait around forever.
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