Sunderland confirm Martin O’Neill appointment as manager

Martin O’Neill with Neil Lennon back in the day…

English Premier League club Sunderland have confirmed Martin O’Neill as their new manager.

The former Celtic and Aston Villa boss replaces Steve Bruce who was sacked at the end of November after a string of poor results which has left the club languishing in 16th place in the league.

O’Neill, who has signed a three-year contract, described the appointment as a “big moment” for him. “It’s a very nice feeling to be back in football and to be the manager of Sunderland,” O’Neill said in a statement on the club’s official web site.

“I’d heard about what a good club it was, but coming here, seeing the stadium and training ground, I’ve been bowled over. It’s absolutely fantastic,” O’Neill added.

I hope I can help Sunderland to very successful period. That’s what I’ve come for and that’s my driving ambition.”

The former Northern Ireland international will officially take charge on Monday, but is expected to be in the stands at Molineux for Sunderland’s game against fellow strugglers Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday.

I’ve always been a fan of Steve Bruce. I think he’s a solid, leading manager. One significant fault – that can afflict any manager with results beyond his control – is that he doesn’t always make the best decisions in who he shifts off to other clubs and who he buys and brings in. Tony Pulis at Stoke City can thank Steve three times over for Kenwynne Jones.

Since I’ve been coming down on the side of Celtic in the Auld Firm Derby since the 1971 season and the first proper football match I ever attended – I have nothing critical to say of Martin O’Neill. Of course I’m such a romantic I’d be as happy to have Roy Keene back.

Aside from that, I make no predictions about today’s match. My wife is a Wolves supporter. 🙂

Ancient Celtic coin cache found in Netherlands

A hobbyist with a metal detector struck both gold and silver when he uncovered an important cache of ancient Celtic coins in a cornfield in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht.

Archaeologists say the trove of 39 gold and 70 silver coins was minted in the middle of the first century B.C. as the future Roman ruler Julius Caesar led a campaign against Celtic tribes in the area.

Curfs said he was walking with his detector this spring and was about to go home when he suddenly got a strong signal on his earphones and uncovered the first coin.

“It was golden and had a little horse on it — I had no idea what I had found,” he said.

After posting a photo of the coin on a Web forum, he was told it was a rare find. The following day he went back and found another coin. “It looked totally different — silver, and saucer-shaped,” he said. Curfs notified the city of his find, and he and several other hobbyists helped in locating the rest of the coins, in cooperation with archaeologists.

Nico Roymans, the archaeologist who led the academic investigation of the find, believes the gold coins in the cache were minted by a tribe called the Eburones that Caesar claimed to have wiped out in 53 B.C. after they conspired with other groups in an attack that killed 6,000 Roman soldiers.

I love this dude. His metal detector habit is a meditative hobby and not an obsession.

That’s why I bring a camera along on my walks. Helps me focus on the intricacy of nature’s beauty.