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.
Breaking news: Sunderland have parted company with manager Martin O'Neill— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) March 30, 2013
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.
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.
What do you think of Sunderland's decision to fire Martin O'Neill?
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.
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.