Martin O'Neill Claims Premier League Manager Of The Month Award For December 2011

"Martin O'Neill Celebrate" (We'll see who gets that)

We tend to save 'news' for the podcast (which you can get here), as a 'blog' like our own should really be more about spouting opinions and providing analysis that we thinly hope someone, anyone will read and enjoy. However sometimes a bit of news comes along and you just have to say something.

So with that in mind can everyone please stand up and give a big round of applause for Martin O'Neill as he's been named Premier League Manager Of The Month for December 2011 by the Barclays Award Panel, comprised of former players, pundits and journalists.

And quite rightly so, I don't think there can be any arguments. At all. Here we take a quick gander through why, and dish out some rightful praise...

It caps what has been a quite incredible turn around at the club from the labouring and loathsome final days of Steve Bruce to the unbridled optimism that currently surrounds the club.

With only one defeat in the month of December, away at a very good Tottenham Hotspur side, there wasn't one performance among the four games played that month which could really be looked down upon.

We're starting to regain an identity, and whilst some have been quick to draw parallels to the Peter Reid-era at the club, they wouldn't be far wrong as in October 1999 and December 2000, Reid was the last Sunderland manager to win the award. The football is a fast and as exciting as it was in Reid's pomp, and very welcome.

It's also the eighth time that O'Neill has won the award in his managerial career, and adds nicely to the Scottish equivalent which he won nine times as Celtic manager.

December was an incredible month for the club, starting with the win over a stubborn Blackburn Rovers side, the performance, if not the result was carried through to White Hart Lane where we were unfortunately beaten. Just one of those where they're better than us and the all round performance was still one to be proud of.

Unlike the months previous to O'Neill's arrival where we could well have sat around feeling sorry for ourselves, we instead took maximum points from a tricky away day at QPR, and rounding out December with a credible draw against Everton, which could easily have been three points had it not been for Howard Webb.

The icing on the cake, despite it not counting towards the award, was of course on January the 1st with that incredible performance and win over Manchester City. With the team in such fine form at the moment, including that win combined with the battering of Wigan Athletic, who'd bet against him taking the award again next month?

We've mentioned the performances, and that comes down to the players too. The introduction of James McClean has proved to be a master stroke. Other players who were derided, including by myself such as Craig Gardner, and perhaps most notably of all the captain, Lee Cattermole, have been revelations, and looked nothing like their previous selves. The way O'Neill has everyone believing in the club, on and off the pitch, has been nothing short of remarkable.

Perhaps the ultimate testament of the transformation of O'Neill's turn around of the club? According to Infostrada Sports (@Infostradalive), the football stats and facts service... Had the season started on December the 5th when O'Neill arrived, we'd have been top right now. You can't argue with that at all.

All rise please and lend a huge round of applause to Mr Martin O'Neill - Official Premier League Manager Of The Month.

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