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Steve Bruce Sacked

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Sunderland make O'Neill contact

Short understood to not be involved in discussions at this stage

Last Updated: December 1, 2011 2:12pm

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Sunderland approach O'Neill

Sky Bet

Sky Sports sources understand a high-ranking Sunderland official has made contact with Martin O'Neill regarding the club's vacant managerial position.

The Premier League club on Wednesday evening took the decision to sack Steve Brucespacer.gif after chairman and owner Ellis Short opted to act following a run of poor results.

Former Blackburn, Wales, Manchester Cityspacer.gif and Fulhamspacer.gif boss Mark Hughesspacer.gif had been installed by some bookmakers as the favourite to succeed Bruce at the Stadium of Light.

But O'Neillspacer.gif is also considered a leading candidate and initial enquires have been made to the ex-Leicester, Celticspacer.gif and Aston Villaspacer.gif manager, who has been out of work since August 2010.

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Contact

Former Sunderlandspacer.gif chairman and now head of international development Niall Quinn is understood to be in favour of appointing O'Neill over Hughes.

On Thursday lunchtime Quinn was at the club's training ground and from there he is expected to liaise with Short.

Sunderland's owner has yet to be involved in the contact with O'Neill, but it appears he is keen to appoint a new manager as quickly as possible.

Assistant boss Eric Blackspacer.gif has taken charge of first-team duties for an 'interim period' ahead of Sunday's important match at fellow strugglers Wolves.

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lol at Hughes, reputation is shot

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Hughes is too good for Sunderland

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Why is Hughes too good?

What job should he get?

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Hughes is talented but if he is not gonna be committed long term and just use Sunderland as a stepping stone then it's not worth it.

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One thing that made me laugh is when Bruce said he never walks away from a job, yup ask Wigan, Palace, Birmingham, Huddersfield, Sheffield United.

Never rated him as a manager.

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Why is Hughes too good?

What job should he get?

The job he done at Wales,Blackburn,Man City(needed to up his foreign market game),Fulham

Hughes deserves a top six team

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Steve Bruce 'as a big fat ed

*scouseish accent*

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Yes

It looks like O'Neill is taking over and I like said Hughes too good for this job.

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Odd that they're going for MON

Bruce did spend alot of money but he did make alot of it back (even if it was by default)

But I guess on Sunderlands part they want someone that can walk in and get the players playing ASAP

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Yes

It looks like O'Neill is taking over and I like said Hughes too good for this job.

Martin O'Neill is a better manager than Hughes don.

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Team Bendtner Must be real excited right now

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Yes

It looks like O'Neill is taking over and I like said Hughes too good for this job.

Martin O'Neill is a better manager than Hughes don.

:/

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Yes

It looks like O'Neill is taking over and I like said Hughes too good for this job.

Martin O'Neill is a better manager than Hughes don.

:/

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Lol I remember when JJ try drop them O'Neil > Wenger bars

Funny enough it was after then that Villa started their decline

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Yes

It looks like O'Neill is taking over and I like said Hughes too good for this job.

Martin O'Neill is a better manager than Hughes don.

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O'Neill will have dough at Sunderland and he gets teams organised.

Sunderland gonna be a different outfit you watch.

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ask villa if martin o'neill and doe is a good thing :lol:

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It is 21 years since a manager left Villa Park with his reputation enhanced. That was Graham Taylor, whose reward for promotion, and a second-place top-flight finish in 1990, was the England job.

Since then nine men have occupied the dug-out at Aston Villa: Josef Venglos, Ron Atkinson, Brian Little, John Gregory, Taylor (again), David O'Leary, Martin O'Neill, Gerard Houllier and, now, Alex McLeish. Of the departed only Gregory is in work, in Kazakhstan, though O'Neill's return to Premier League management appears imminent.

Aside from Venglos, under whom Villa dropped 17 places in a season, yet who later found work with Fenerbahce, Slovakia and Celtic, none of the others subsequently held a job of similar stature. That includes O'Neill's prospective appointment. Until Ellis Short's millions have a bigger impact, Sunderland cannot be regarded as commensurable with Villa – as the transfer of Darren Bent underlined. Last season was only the third time Sunderland finished in the top 10 in more than half a century.

Villa were European Cup winners 30 years ago and have been a top-flight team since 1988. They are financially stable with solid support, a fine stadium and an illustrious history. It is a desirable job for McLeish, with his connections to Sir Alex Ferguson; it could even be a platform to succeed his mentor, who brings Manchester United to Villa Park today. But it is also a dangerous job. Excluding personality clashes, managers tend to be fired for two reasons, because relegation threatens, or because they fail to meet expectations. The problem with a club like Villa is that, because of the setting and the history, expectations often outstrip reality.

This is especially so for a man associated with Birmingham City, as McLeish is. As Steve Bruce found, a manager deemed to have enemy allegiances gets no second chance.

The problem for Villa managers is that, more than any other club, they symbolise the "second tier" of Premier League clubs. Villa have finished inside the top 10 on 11 occasions in 14 seasons, but have never been higher than sixth. Relegation is unlikely, but so is Champions League qualification.

When Martin O'Neill and Randy Lerner first combined at Villa Park in September 2006, a determined effort was made to crack the top four. First they stabilised a club which had drifted in the final years of the Doug Ellis era. Lerner inherited a wage bill of £38m (a worrying 76 per cent of income) and a small annual loss after transfers. By 2008, Villa had climbed from 16th to sixth, made a £5m profit before transfers, and increased revenue from £49m to £75m.

Then came the push. Two further years on revenue was increased to £91m, but wages rose faster to reach a frightening 88 per cent of revenue. The club spent a net £58m in the transfer market taking total losses to almost £100m. Each season Villa threatened to break through, but on both occasions they faded and finished sixth as O'Neill's high-tempo style exposed a small squad despite sacrificing Uefa Cup campaigns. By this stage, Lerner's red ink had reached £180m, and to what end? With Manchester City fuelled by petro-dollars and Tottenham maximising commercial income, the prospect of making the top four was receding. Lerner decided to cut his losses. James Milner was sold for £26m and Stephen Ireland bought for £8m. O'Neill walked out.

Gérard Houllier arrived with a brief to develop Villa's impressive clutch of emerging young players. When ill-health forced Houllier out, Lerner was rejected by Roberto Martinez, who had shown at Swansea and Wigan that he could build an attractive team on a tight budget. Lerner hired McLeish, who had won the Carling Cup with Birm-ingham, but was also relegated.

It was not a popular move, and not just because of his association with the neighbours. At St Andrew's McLeish was perceived as a defensive manager. In the club's two full Premier League seasons under him, City scored less than a goal a game. It could be argued that was due to a lack of resources. After all, at Rangers a decade ago, McLeish oversaw a team which scored more than a century of goals in a season. However, even in the 2008-09 promotion-winning Championship campaign, Birmingham only scored 54 goals in 46 matches.

This season Villa have scored 16 goals in 13 games. McLeish has tended to field a 4-4-1-1 with two holding midfielders, two wingers, and Darren Bent leading the line. The youngsters have been largely sidelined, Fabien Delph, Barry Bannan and Chris Herd sharing the second holding midfield position alongside Stilyan Petrov. While the personnel have varied, McLeish currently plays Charles N'Zogbia and Gabby Agbonlahor on the flanks, both cutting in on to their stronger foot, as wingers are often deployed these days. This puts the onus on the full-backs to provide width, but while Alan Hutton and Stephen Warnock are athletic, neither are outstanding players. Between them are a pair of experienced, but ageing centre-halves. It is a solid team, but not one to inspire – attendances at Villa Park are falling – nor one likely to break into the top six, let alone the top four.

If Villa fans accept treading water, with the occasional cup run, as Evertonians seem to have done, McLeish might prosper. If not he will be in good company in Villa's management graveyard.

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O'Neill will have dough at Sunderland and he gets teams organised.

Sunderland gonna be a different outfit you watch.

the last thing Sunderland need is more money being thrown at them tbh

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O'Neill will have dough at Sunderland and he gets teams organised.

Sunderland gonna be a different outfit you watch.

O'Neill with money?

:/

Young

Beye

Cuellar

Davies

Shorey

Reo Coker

Heskey

Zat fuckin Knight

Harewood

Collins

Warnock

Downing

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MON confirmed, 3 year deal

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Side ways step.

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nah he will do a decent job tbh but he needs a DOF,

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