Sunderland Parts Ways with Manager Martin O'Neill

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIMarch 30, 2013

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - MARCH 17:  Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill loooks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Norwich City at the Stadium of Light on March 17, 2013 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Sunderland’s 2012-13 campaign has not gone the way the club was expecting, and Martin O’Neill has been relieved of his managerial duties.

BBC Sport reported the news via Twitter, and the club confirmed its decision via a statement on

O’Neill was sacked after the Black Cats played a competitive match with league-leading Manchester United, which resulted in a 1-0 defeat. An own goal from defender Titus Bramble provided the only mark on the scoresheet.

The loss dropped Sunderland to 16th in the table. The club is just one point ahead of Aston Villa and Wigan, who both have a game in hand on the Black Cats.

O’Neill was hired midway through the 2011-12 season to replace Steve Bruce, who was fired after a poor start. The 61-year-old Northern Irishman made an immediate difference in the team’s form, and he eventually coached the team to a 13th-place finish. 

There were many positive signs from the team’s previous campaign, and a mid-table finish at worst was likely what the club’s higher-ups were expecting this year.

Teams sitting near the bottom of the table are desperate to make any change necessary to avoid relegation, as failing to stay in the top flight this year will be especially costly. The Premier League’s television income will surpass £5 billion pounds next season, and the teams who go down to the Championship will miss out on a massive payday. 

Reading already fired Brian McDermott, while Southampton got rid of Nigel Adkins in hopes of staying in the Premiership.

Now, O’Neill is the next casualty, and the club will be desperately hoping that the move will allow the team to stave off relegation.