Lifelong fan O’Neill aims to revive Black Cats fortunes

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Martin O’Neill last night pledged to do his “utmost to bring a bit of success to Sunderland”.

O’Neill signed a three-year deal on Saturday to succeed Steve Bruce at the Stadium of Light and was in the stands as the Black Cats went down 2-1 to Wolves at Molineux.

The former Leicester, Celtic and Aston Villa manager is excited to be back in the game after a year-long absence but refused to make any outlandish promises.

“It’s a nice feeling to be back in football and obviously I’m very excited about joining Sunderland,” he said. “It’s a big moment and I’m hoping it works out well.

“Naturally I want to do well for the fans, the team and myself. If we can combine all this and start winning football matches it would be terrific.

“All I can say, without promising the earth, moon and stars is I will do my utmost to bring a bit of success to Sunderland.”

O’Neill grew up a Sunderland fan in Northern Ireland due to his admiration for Cork-born great Charlie Hurley.

“You were either Celtic or Rangers in terms of a religious divide, but most of the boys took an English team too,” he said.

“Much to the laughing of one or two who took Manchester United and teams like that, I took Sunderland, with Charlie Hurley (being there).

“I never regretted it. I had a number of fights in the quad with other schoolboys about my choice, but outside that, not a problem.”

O’Neill takes over today and will be on the bench for Sunday’s Barclays Premier League clash with fellow strugglers Blackburn, who are in 18th position.