Date:Saturday December 3 2011
New Sunderland boss Martin O`Neill arrives with a fine pedigree as a manager in the UK having tasted success with Wycombe Wanderers, Leicester City and Celtic as well as enjoying moderate success with Aston Villa in his last job.
O`Neill, 59, arrived in England in 1971 with Nottingham Forest having moved across from his native Northern Ireland where he played for Lisburn Distillery.
The Kilrea-born midfielder won the Irish cup with Distillery and also scored in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup against Barcelona in 1971 before his arrival at the City Ground where he spent the most successful period of his playing career.
Under the legendary Brian Clough, O`Neill and Forest twice (1979 & 1980) won the European Cup as well as the then First Division in 1978).
O`Neill made 285 appearances for the Tricky Trees over a 10 year period, scoring 48 goals in the process before brief spells with Norwich City (twice) and Manchester City over the next two years.
O`Neill settled at Notts County for a year, making 64 appearances and scoring five goals before moving to Chesterfield.
O`Neill only managed one reserve game at Saltergate before injury essentially put paid to his career. A brief spell with Fulham without playing saw him retire in February 1985.
On the international scene, O`Neill captain the Northern Irish side at the Spain 1982 World Cup. In total he made 64 appearances and scored eight goals for his home nation. He won the Home Nations twice with Northern Ireland (1980 & 1984).
O`Neill took his first steps in management in the non-leagues with Grantham Town before a short spell at Shepshed Caterhouse.
In February of 1990, O`Neill got his big break with a move to Wycombe Wanderers of the Conference. The Chairboys won two promotions under O`Neill as well as two F.A Trophies (1991 & 1993).
His impressive spell at Adams Park lead to an ill feted move to Norwich City where he fell out with chairman Robert Chase over the signing of a young Dean Windass. This was to be a theme which would follow O`Neill throughout his career.
Next up with Leicester where O`Neill tasted his greatest success` in England, winning two League Cups (1997 & 2000), taking Leicester to Europe as a consequence. Ninth, 10th, 10th and eighth-place finishes saw Celtic come in for O`Neill`s services and was appointed on June 1 2000.
Replacing John Barnes was Parkhead was never going to be too big a challenge but O`Neill brought flailing Celtic back in line with their Glaswegian rivals Rangers in spectacular fashion.
In five seasons in Scotland, O`Neill won three SPL titles (2001, 2002, 2004), three Scottish Cups (2001, 2004, 2005) and a Scottish League Cup (2001). He also saw his side finish as runners up to Jose Mourinho`s Porto in the 2003 Uefa Cup, as well as finishing as runner-up in one Scottish Cup, one Scottish League Cup and two Scottish Premier League chases.
Having left Glasgow in 2005 for family reasons, O`Neill returned to the game in 2006 to take up the reigns at Aston Villa. O`Neill got the Villains firing again, back by Randy Lerner`s money and brought the likes of Ashley Young, John Carew and Stiylian Petrov to Villa Park. He also helped bring through Gabby Agbonlahor from the club`s academy setup.
O`Neill won 80 of his 190 games in charge of the Midland`s outfit, dragging Villa into Europe as well as finishing as League Cup runners-up in 2010.
For reasons unknown, O`Neill left Villa Park five days before the new Premier League campaign kicked off in August 2010. He has been out of work since, but was heavily linked with West Ham United last season before removing himself from the running after the club`s hierarchy appeared to go public.
O`Neill`s Managerial Record:
Wycombe Wanderers - Games 112: 46.43% win record
Norwich City - Games 20: 45% win record
Leicester City - Games 223: 38.12% win record
Celtic - Games 282: 75.53% win record
Aston Villa - Games 190: 42.11% win record.
Welcome to Sunderland, Martin O`Neill. Ha`way the lads.
Date:Saturday December 3 2011
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