Martin O'Neill: By hook or by crook, I will bring Sunderland success

 

Martin O'Neill yesterday launched an impassioned defence of his time at Sunderland and insisted he would be at the club for the long term.

Sunderland have won one of their last 16 games under the former Celtic and Aston Villa manager, a run this season that has seen them score just six goals and drop to within four points of the relegation zone.

However, while there has been questioning of O'Neill in certain quarters for the first time, internally, his position remains strong.

"By hook or by crook I intend to make this team one the supporters are genuinely proud of and feel as if they have a chance of competing," he said. "It's not overnight – I have not completed a season yet – but I intend to do that. I'm sitting here today in early November 2012 and I hope that in a couple of seasons we'll have a really strong team here.

"I want to have a side that not only I'm proud of, but that is also competing; and I don't mean invariably competing, I mean being as strong as Everton are, for instance.

"The one thing I do have, I think, is a little bit of spirit and plenty of determination and I've got a load of enthusiasm.

"It would mean a lot to me to make this a fairly decent football club and I've got a lot of self-belief not to be knocked off course here by a couple of results. I'll put everything into it, anyway, and I've got absolutely no doubt that it'll be good.

"It takes time. It sounds like a defence mechanism and I don't mean it to be the case, but that's the case. I remember being asked when I first arrived 'do you think the club are really in relegation difficulty', well, that morning of the Blackburn game, we dropped into the bottom-three and we might have to go and fight this again.

"I wish it was instantaneous. I wish that everything could just be like that, but it takes a bit of time. People have asked me about the history of the club and how people can feel despondency so very, very quickly, but if that's been the case for 100 years, then please, just give me a couple more months! I'm sitting here now and I'll put a sign out: we WILL compete.

"When I came here first of all, I wish I hadn't supported the team, from that viewpoint. If this situation continues when we're just treading water or are in serious difficulty every year, well, I'm sorry, what's the point me doing it? What's the point?

"I intend to try to change it, but it will not happen overnight. The greatest living manager in the game has had 26 years at Old Trafford and he will tell you that it doesn't happen overnight. By the same token, I don't want Sunderland supporters to be waiting a decade for it."

12

Sunderland have only registered 12 shots on target all season

Life and Style
love + sex
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all