Martin O'Neill's former assistant John Robertson says Sunderland should never have fired him

The Black Cats have been through three more managers ever since O'Neill's departure.

Sunderland performed yet another miracle escape from the Premier League this season, with Sam Allardyce saving the club from the drop.

However, one man feels the club should have stuck by a man who begun this annual event, Martin O’Neill.

John Robertson played with O’Neill at Nottingham Forest and then worked as his assistant at Wycombe, Norwich, Leicester, Celtic and Aston Villa.

He told Gulf News this week that Sunderland should have stuck by the now Republic of Ireland boss:

"Sunderland should have held their nerve, there's no doubt about that.

“He'd have kept them up anyway and it would have worked out under him anyway in my eyes. He shouldn't have lost his job; he's an outstanding manager.

“He knows how to communicate with players. Whoever gets him if he leaves the Republic will be a lucky club. I don't know if that will be this year or in two, three or four years."

O’Neill was fired in March 2013 by Sunderland with the club in poor form and just one point clear of the relegation zone. He was replaced by Paolo Di Canio. He kept the team up but flopped the following season and Gus Poyet came in to save the day. When Poyet went the season after it was Dick Advocaat who stepped in and this term Allardyce saved the club after Advocaat’s struggles.

Robertson clearly believes that if Sunderland had simply kept faith with O’Neill three years ago that they would have advanced forward, rather than stood still like they have since.

Hopefully Sunderland can now move on with Allardyce at the helm.

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