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Every time a managerial vacancy opens up in the UK, Martin O'Neill's name always appears at the top of any fan's wish list.
O'Neill has seen his stock rise again since taking over at the Black Cats. A great motivator and man-manager, O'Neill has helped bring the roar back to the Stadium of Light.
As part of Brain Clough's Notts Forest midfield, O'Neill spent 10 years at the club from 1971 to 1981 and helped them win two European Cups and one First Division title, as well as many other honors. The popular Northern Irishman also captained his country at the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain, where they recorded a famous victory over the hosts 1-0.
After retiring as a player in 1985, O'Neill entered into non-league management. He found his way to Wycombe Wanderers of the Football Conference in 1990, and within five years had guided them all the way up to the Second Division. After a brief spell in charge at one of his former clubs, Norwich City, O'Neill moved to Leicester City and won two League Cups with the Foxes during his five-year reign.
O'Neill replaced Kenny Dalglish and John Barnes on the sidelines of Celtic in 2000 and won the Scottish Premier League three years in a row. He also took the Glasgow team to the final of the 2003 UEFA Cup Final.
O'Neill took a break from soccer in 2005 to care for his wife but returned to the game as manager of Aston Villa in 2006, where he led the Villains to the League Cup final in 2010. O'Neill resigned five days before the start of the 2010-2011 season and had been out of soccer until his recent surprise return with Sunderland in December 2011.
With so much success as a player and manager, it is easy to see why O'Neill is always so popular with the fans. He has never managed one of the big five Premiership sides but his name will continue to be linked with most of them long after he has retired.