Gallery: MON's first year

by Kate Smith

Photographs of O'Neill's first 12 months in charge.

It's one year ago since Martin O’Neill took charge of the Black Cats.

O’Neill steered his side to a 2-1 home victory over Blackburn Rovers in his first game at the helm and in his first month in charge he was rewarded with December’s Barclays Manager of the Month.

January saw impressive victories over Manchester City, Wigan Athletic and Swansea City, as well as the start of the best run SAFC have had in the FA Cup in eight seasons.

Another three league wins and progression to the sixth round of the FA Cup was how February drew to a close, before March saw the Lads pick up their first point away to Newcastle United since 2009 and notch home wins over Liverpool and QPR.

Defeat at the hands of Everton in the sixth round replay of the FA Cup was the first low point under O'Neill's tutelage, however, the team bounced back to score three goals against future Premier League champions Manchester City days later.

Further points were picked up against Tottenham, Wolves and Bolton, before 2011-12 ended with a home defeat to Manchester United who were rivaling City for the title. 

Sunderland made a positive start to the 2012-13 campaign, remaining unbeaten in the opening two months and being bolstered by the signings of Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher, with the latter scoring five goals in his first five games for the club.

A disappointing defeat to neighbours Middlesbrough saw Sunderland exit the Capital One Cup in late October, before November was rounded of with a resounding away win at Fulham.

The game against Norwich City was O'Neill's 38th Barclays Premier League game as Sunderland manager and since his arrival the side have picked up 47 points in the top flight, which equals the Black Cats’ best return in one Premier League season since Peter Reid was in charge.