Yeah, yeah, I know. Lots of you have read the title and are screaming 'cos we're in the bottom 3 you idiot!' A valid argument but lets draw some comparisons with another manager who is in a similar position yet seems to be escaping any attention what so ever in terms of the threat to his job.
I'm talking of course about Paul Lambert. Now don't get me wrong, I like Lambert. I like what he's doing at Aston Villa even if I don't like the club itself. He's brought new young players in and it's the assumption that he will be given time to rebuild Villa. That all sounds fine so why is O'Neill getting the stick he is? The only argument that could be levelled at O'Neill is that he has been at the club longer but when you look at the transfer dealings there isn't much difference.
Since O'Neill has been at SAFC he has bought the grand total of four players to the club and only two have actually required a fee. You could include the loan signings of Bridge and Krygiakos last season, who did a job, and Rose this season who has been superb but in terms of playing staff who belong to the club it is just the four. The total cost in transfer fees that O'Neill has bought in is around £22m, £12m for Fletcher and £10m for Johnson. When you consider that Lambert has spent around £23.7m on eight players in his short time at Villa it does make you wonder why he isn't coming in for any stick.
Basically, O'Neill is a victim of his own success. He worked a miracle last season when he took Steve Bruce's shower of shit on a winning run to take them well away from the relegation zone. Let's face it though, apart from Fletcher, Johnson, Cuellar and Rose, it is still Steve Bruce's shower of shit. I suppose what I'm saying is that Villa is more Paul Lambert's team than Sunderland is Martin O'Neill's team. It's gonna take time and a few more signings before it can properly be Martin O'Neill's Sunderland. You only have to look at the improvement of players like Cattermole and just lately Connor Wickham to realise just what a good manager he really is. Yes i'm worried, I've supported Sunderland far too long to be comfortable. If we were in the top four right now I'd still be looking for the forty point mark. But lets calm down a bit and give the bloke a little time.