O’Neill didn’t talk transfer budget to Sunderland owner

RINGING THE CHANGES ... Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill.
RINGING THE CHANGES ... Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill.

NEW Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill says not even the wet and windy North-East weather can dampen his enthusiasm for the job in hand at Sunderland.

And he revealed that so keen is he to help the club realise its potential, his talks with owner Ellis Short were brief and did not involve any talk at all about what January transfer window budget he might have at his disposal.

“Do you think that strange?” he queried.

“The truth is I really wanted the job. I’m excited by it, so the budget wasn’t on my mind and it didn’t take us long to agree things.

“I came up here on Saturday, just to view the last training session before Wolves.

“It was cold and it was windy and it reminded me of Glasgow!

“The weather isn’t a problem for me – I am from Northern Ireland.

“And I loved my time in Glasgow – the only issue there is that when you opened the curtains in the morning you didn’t know whether it was June or November!

“But, really, the only thing on my mind is getting started on the job we face.

“Ellis Short sees the size of the football club – I think Niall was pretty strong in selling him on that.

“But Ellis has an enthusiasm for it, too. That’s quite obvious to me.

“I had discussions with the owner that weren’t very long and the transfer budget for January was not discussed.

“They didn’t need to be, because I’m excited about taking this job.

“I’m excited about getting this opportunity to take the club forward. I’m so pleased to have it.

“I had discussions with Niall in 2006 about taking the job, but, at that stage, my wife was recovering from illness and needed to be based around London.

“I only had preliminary discussions and it didn’t go any further than that, but now that I’m here I intend to make most of it.

“Our position is insecure at the moment. The opportunity is there to join the pack if you win a few games – which is, of course, easier said than done.

“But, long-term, I would love to be really successful at the club and if I am successful then I will have the opportunity to stay here longer.”

John Robertson is unlikely to join Martin O’Neill at Sunderland, although the new Black Cats boss has not shut the door on his long-time assistant manager.

O’Neill yesterday confirmed Steve Walford and Seamus McDonagh as his colleagues at Sunderland.

Walford, who has worked with O’Neill since his Wycombe days, will be Sunderland’s new first-team coach while McDonagh, who arrives from Hull City after a spell under O’Neill at Aston Villa, will be the club’s goalkeeping coach.

The duo replace two members of former manager Steve Bruce’s backroom team, in assistant manager Eric Black and goalkeeping coach Nigel Spink, who have both now left the club.