Martin O'Neill looks to the past for inspiration

 

On the walls of the Academy of Light, leading to Martin O'Neill's office, are a reminder of a glorious day in Sunderland's history; Jimmy Montgomery being hugged by Bob Stokoe, Ian Porterfield scoring in the same game, the giants of Leeds slain, the FA Cup heading back to Wearside.

That was 39 years ago. It is a reminder of an inglorious past now as much as a glorious one, as O'Neill admitted on the eve of Sunderland's trip to Everton in the FA Cup quarter-final today.

"For a club of this size to have not won a trophy since 1973 is a great shame," he said. "To have only been in one final since then, you wouldn't have believed it at the time. It might be a fairly lengthy time before we are contesting that, but a club of this size should be doing better. This club has lived on the 1973 FA Cup final against Leeds United and that's absolutely fantastic, but you would like to think at some stage we will be able to share a few more moments than that.

"I'm not sure if the players worry or know enough about the history of their own club but then you'd be surprised at how much some of the younger players know. The lesson of history is that these opportunities don't come around very often. You think that at the age of 21 or 22, when you lose a quarter final, that it's all right, it'll be around next year. Then you're 29 and it hasn't happened for you, honestly.

"Even in our great days under Brian Clough the FA Cup eluded us. We lost a quarter-final against West Bromwich Albion, it was the fifth round the following year against Arsenal and Gary Birtles missed a sitter and then Frank Stapleton scored, I could go through many harrowing moments, losing to Newcastle United in 1974, you thought it was bad enough to lose that but you think you'll have plenty of time again, I was 22 at the time, then it just goes.

"Getting to Wembley would be absolutely fantastic. For a club like us to go down there would be a great day out. It would be an achievement. You dare not think about getting to Wembley yet, that is the point. We've 6,000 going to the game and that is really fantastic. It has given everyone a lift, including the players. We'll give it everything we've got, we have to."

Stéphane Sessègnon will not be there, suspended because of his sending off in the Tyne-Wear derby, and O'Neill is concerned about the player's family still being in Paris: "We have someone here at the football club that is in constant touch with Sess. We have given him a little bit of time to go and see his family," O'Neill said.

"We wouldn't want to lose Sessègnon because of homesickness. His family concerns over there are something we will really have to look at. For normal reasons we should do it and for very obvious reasons, because he is going to attract an awful lot of attention from big clubs. I believe his name will be bandied around significantly, we'd hate to lose him. If it's because of homesickness it is something we would have to look at ourselves."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor