Take one Northern Irish manager, add a passionate football club in the North East of England, and give it an absolutely massive kick up the proverbial. It's an equation for success, as proven with a monumental climb up the table. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Martin O'Neill effect.

When O'Neill took over from Steve Bruce in early December, Sunderland were sat 16th in the table, after just two league wins in the previous ten games. Since he took the reigns, they've earned twenty-two points from eleven games - with defeats coming from just Spurs, Chelsea and Arsenal. They're now in 9th place, and just ten points from a European spot. It doesn't sound possible, but with the way this season is panning out, it really could happen.

Counter in the incredible FA Cup run O'Neill has taken Sunderland on. Beating Peterborough in the third round. Winning the fourth round replay against Middlesbrough. Followed up by a stunning victory against Arsenal this weekend in the fifth round, teeing up a game away to Everton. It honestly wouldn't surprise me if Martin can guide his team, high on morale, to Wembley this season.

There's a buzz around the Stadium of Light since O'Neill has arrived. The emergence of James McClean, alongside the tremendous form of Stephane Sessegnon and Seb Larsson has made everyone take note of the brilliance of O'Neill, his tactics and the mentality he's given the club.

So what are your views? Is he an Arsenal manager-in-waiting? Or is this a long-term appointment that will propel Sunderland into the top six?

Agree with me? Want to add your tuppence worth? You can follow me on Twitter - I'm @Adam9309 - or find me on my own blog!

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Comment by WorldClass on February 21, 2012 at 12:36

I think he is a man with a glass ceiling. 

Good, technically gifted teams will always beat MoN teams. His teams tactics are very simply, attack as one and defend as one, hit the corners and chase everything down. Pressure, pressure, pressure. 

The "effect" you're talking about is almost a carbon copy of what happened at Villa.

At first the press and the fans are won over by this charismatic manager, who clear passion for the game rubs off on everyone. But this is a man with huge weaknesses in his armoury.

He is obsessed with "experience", he has his first team and often  refuses to change it irrespective of form if they're all fit and clearly can not handle larger personalities... 

He likes easily manipulated players, players he can tell they "Brilliant" and he lifts them a level, but this does not rub off on players who have on the already very good players... 

As I say I have the feeling it'll will end up int he same way at Sunderland, with fans fed up on the never evolving football and the expensive but limited "experienced" buys.

MoN's best at Villa work was all done with players others had bought or had experience at Villa with the exception of Ashley Young. Milner should have already been at Villa before MoN and the club was always keen to bring him back, so I don't include Milner is MoN's buys.

So O'Neill and worthy manager, but not the new masiah... no where near in fact. What he does have is an impressive CV, but a record of leaving clubs on the brink of financial wreck and lots of average players on the books... take a look, this is nothing but fact.

When he took over at Villa and I amongst with many other was taken in by the tidal wave of MoNuphoria The Foxs and Celtic fans warned us that it will last 5 years and he'll leave us scratching our heads... how i wish we'd listened back then.

So to Sunderland fans, enjoy the success, but prepare for the mess in the aftermath... however i'm sure it'll fall on deaf ears.

MoN is not a "great manager"... not at all.

Marked Man, We would never have reached the next level under mon, any team that turned up and played football against us beat us... we could match anyone for commitment and ethic but when teams like United or Spurs came to town they matched the work rate and the gulf in quality was scarey at times, both in players on the park and tactic nouse on the side lines.... A MoN team plays one way and one way only, do not expect him to try and change things up...

Comment by thecityisred on February 20, 2012 at 10:15

Martin O'Neill seems like a drug. He comes in, all the players get high really easily for a bit.

Then, the effect seems to wear off and he needs to become a bigger version of himself, like increasing the dose, but he just can't replicate those highs at the beginning.

Once he's gone, the players are never the same.

Basically, he's crack. 

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