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Embattled Manager of the Week: Martin O’Neill, Sunderland

By Jonny Abrams

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Jonny ForumerWho cares what a bunch of disinterested hacks have to say when you can get the skinny direct from those to whom it matters most? Well, good news – Football Burp’s very own Jonny Forumer, lurker extraordinaire, is here to collate choice message board analysis so you can get the lowdown from the people who really know what they’re on about. Take it away, Jonny…

Morning folks, Jonny Forumer signing in. A dismal 1-0 home defeat to struggling Aston Villa prolonged Sunderland’s poor start to Martin O’Neill’s first full season as manager, and as such the Northern Irishman is coming in for criticism from sections of the Stadium of Light faithful. I hotfooted it on down to online Black Cats joints Ready To Go and SAFC Fans to see what folk had to say about it all…

Martin O'Neill
O’Neill… Hello! (Img: Jonesy702)

Rizla, Ready To Go…

MON is looking dated as a manager compared to others in the league. He needs to modernise his tactics, his methods and transfer strategies quickly rather than relying on a 1990s philosophy. Whether Robertson is a factor Is certainly a question but he simply looks dated to me.

ca reless6365, Ready To Go…

Please understand , that when MON joined , I was fully behind the appointment.
Whilst I approved of it , as most of us did , I still had my doubts !
The biggest being John Robertsons reluctance to move to the North East with MON.
John had been Martin’s right hand man , through all of his managerial career , apparently having a ” More Than Just A Passing Influence On Team Tactics”.
Are we now seeing the true extent of MON’S capabilities , minus John Robertson’s influence ?
Is this very similar to Taylors reluctantance to join Clough at Leed’s ?
If so , does the blame lie at the board ??

rowley2, Ready To Go…

There was no one bemoaning John Robertson’s absence when we were picking up all those points from Dec to March last season. We had a tempo, intensity and desire that was too much for most teams we played against.

The question to ask is why have we changed to a more passive style, waiting until we get the ball back instead of hustling for it straight away, and sitting too deep, giving us too much to do when we do get it? There looks to me as if there has been a change in the coaching approach or personnel in that time, and whatever it is , it is that we can look to for the sharp decline in the team’s results.

It is basically still the same shite collection of plodders that Bruce left, and if they don’t work harder than the opposition then they will win very, very few games.

Robanner, SAFC Fans…

I’m not sure how people can find the positives in that. I would expect us to have created a few more chances given how poor Villa are and especially on the road but football is all about scoring goals and we are inept at the moment in that regard. Whilst it sounds like the game could have gone either way, there was an inevitability about that once Villa scored.

We are lucky that there are 3 terrible teams at the bottom of the league because at the moment we are definitely playing like a relegation threatened side. We need a decent striker (people will respond but Fletch isn’t that and his one dimensional skills are actually in my eyes the cause for our lack of creativity as other sides find it easy to defend against us) and we certainly need one if not 2 creative central midfielders. If you don’t have quality players in the spine of the team you will always struggle and boy are we.

That’s 21 points from our last 23 league games. Given the investment that’s clearly not good enough.

gipetto, Ready To Go…

No one was complaining when we were beating Man City, Arsenal and finishing the season comfortably above the relegation zone after looking relegation certainties.

Now all of a sudden we’re looking for any form of excuse.

Fez2, Ready To Go…

I’m convinced this is why we’re failing. In his first 10 games we rode a tide of euphoria but since then our football has been truly abysmal and I honestly don’t know if O’Neil can turn it around. 1 shot on target again today – a 25 yarder that the Villa keeper should have held. We need a new coach

Abu Dhabi Red and White, Ready To Go…

I would have been 100% behind MON’s appointment 10 years ago. When he came (after snubbing us a few times), I was still keen although he had been out of the game a while.

Early on (and until recently), I was impressed but I’m baffled by his tactics and his claims that the team is performing okay.

In O’Neill’s defense…

johnnydontdoit, SAFC Fans…

Crap to watch at the mo but MON is rebuilding it takes time. His first priority was to put right what Bruce had left and job done. Now he is rebuilding it takes time and money i hope Elis Short supplies. Keep the faith far far to early to get on MON’s back. Discuss in 2 years time.

Andy_Roker1983, Ready To Go…

We haven’t been great this season but we have generally been hard to beat. We lacking confidence but i’m still confident O’ Neil will see it through. If you look back on yesterday’s game things could of been a lot different, Fetchers goal marginally offside, Saha and Campbell headers.

If Fletchers goal had of stood we would of went on and won that game, Johnson looked brighter, Cattermole played well too.

We are on the same points as Stoke with a game in hand wonder if their having a meltdown and having a pop at Pulis?

Some of the comments yesterday were embarrassing lets get behind the lads and help turn this around, all the moaning doesn’t help anyone. I’m frustrated too and the quality of football has been shocking but its not all O ‘Neils doing.

Germ, SAFC Fans…

I must admit I’m getting sick and tired of watching us play so badly and negatively but I have enough common sense and faith in MoN to know that we’d be hard pushed to find a better manager willing to come and take over at Sunderland.
We have to keep the faith and believe in him and give him time to build the team he wants to play the way he wants.

I often look at clubs who sack their managers after just a few bad results and think back to the first 2 or 3 seasons of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign.If he’d had the same treatment in those early years then we’d likely not be looking back at the last 20 years of them dominating the Prem.
Now,don’t get me wrong,I’m not comparing us and Man U but I think you see where I’m coming from.We’ve endured sh*t for years and finally have a manager who I’m sure can do the job for us so let’s not get rid of him just because things haven’t lived up to the high expectations we built ourselves up to expect pre-season.

After all that positive stuff I pray to god that at some point we start playing watchable football that at least gives us fans hope (if not pleasure).

Robanner, SAFC Fans…

Definitely agree MON is as good as it gets for us as a manager so we do need to stick by it. I’m also glad the fans kept with the team today despite the disappointing outcome and yet another failure to score a goal.

I would say however that I wasn’t overly impressed with MON’s post match interview where he implied that we played well and bascially were the unluckiest side on the planet not to win! We had one shot on target in the whole game. Sometimes you do need to give an honest assessment as the reaction on Soccer Saturday for example by people in the know about football was laughter and derision!

supernaut1968, Ready To Go…

Ridiculous to even think MoN is going anywhere. The players need a boot up their arses, most of them are lazy unprofessional kernts and the quicker we ship them out the better.

MoN will buy some quality in January and we can start to see some progress.

Some of our current players have done a lot to make me want to stay away from the SoL.

chestermackem, SAFC Fans…

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but quite concerning that we have already seen the first cracks in the ‘Party with Marty’.
When Martin O’Neill arrived we were in a horrible run of form. The confidence at the club was at rock bottom. He then provided the much need morale boost in the squad to steer us clear of relegation and at times last season we climbed as high as 9th. Europe was even muted.

Upto and included the draw at Stoke City, MON has managed SAFC in 40 league & cup games so far. 15 wins, 15 draws and 10 defeats. Thats a win % of 52%.
He took us to the Quarter finals of the FA Cup last season and we are a game away from the Quarters of the League Cup this season.

In those 40 games we have kept 15 clean sheets, and this season have lost just once in 10 games.

There is no denying that our run of 1 win in 16 league games is concerning but a football season is a marathon not a sprint and 8 of those 16 games were last season after we were effectively safe from relegation, not conceding many but had no attacking threat. That is something we can build on with our new signings and its just a case of getting them attackers gelling as well as the defensive unit.

I find it an absolute joke that some fans are already doubting the ability of an experienced manager like O’Neill who has performed so well at every club he has managed.
Remember, MON has taken Wycombe from non-league to what is now League 1. He also won the FA Trophy twice.

He then took unfashionable Leicester City to 3 League Cup finals, winning it twice. Also 4 successive top 10 finishes in the Premiership.

The Scottish League is hardly the toughest of leagues but a domestic treble in his first season including a 6-2 win over Rangers was hardly an easy task.
In his five seasons at Celtic Park, O’Neill won three League titles, three Scottish Cups, and a League Cup. The two league titles he lost where by the very fine margins of a point and a goal. He also oversaw a record 7 consecutive victories in Old Firm derbies, and in season 2003–04 Celtic created a British record of 25 consecutive league victories.

Lets not forget he took Celtic to the UEFA Cup final too. And they only lost in extra time!

At Villa he took them to finishes of 11th, 6th, 6th and 6th with an increase in the points total each season. They also got to the League Cup final.
They hated the man when he walked away but I bet they wish he was still there now.

Look, I know things are not pretty but lets appreciate who we have in charge. His record is outstanding considering the clubs he has took on.

IN O’NEILL I TRUST.

Lets judge him at the end of the season.

Do you think Martin O’Neill is the right man for the job, Sunderland fans? Have your say in the comments section below…