On this day in 2011: Martin O’Neill takes charge of Sunderland

Martin O’Neill signed a three-year deal to become Sunderland manager on this day 11 years ago.

The then 59-year-old took the reins at the Stadium of Light after the Black Cats had sacked Steve Bruce following a poor start to the Premier League season.

O’Neill was announced as new boss after a 2-1 home defeat to Wigan left the side languishing above the Premier League relegation zone in 16th.

Martin O'Neill
O’Neill won seven of his first 10 fixtures in charge of the Black Cats (Peter Byrne/PA)

It was the first time in 16 months the Northern Irishman had taken up a managerial role having resigned as Aston Villa boss in August 2010.

O’Neill went to Sunderland with a high reputation having guided Villa to three successive sixth-placed finishes in the top flight as well as a League Cup final in 2010, which they lost to Manchester United, while other successes came with Leicester and Celtic.

O’Neill made an instant impact on Wearside, winning seven of his first 10 fixtures and guiding the club to Premier League safety.

However, the following campaign did not run as smoothly and O’Neill was sacked in March 2013 after eight games without a win left Sunderland in 16th place. He was replaced by Paolo Di Canio.