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O'Neill in cats' glory game

On the walls of the Academy of Light, leading to Martin O'Neill's office, are reminders of a glorious day in Sunderland's history -- Jimmy Montgomery being hugged by Bob Stokoe, Ian Porterfield scoring in the same game, the giants of Leeds slain, the FA Cup heading back to Wearside.

That was 39 years ago. They are reminders of an inglorious past as much as a glorious one, suggested O'Neill on the eve of Sunderland's trip to Everton.

"For a club of this size to have not won a trophy since 1973 is a great shame," he said. "To have only been in one final since then, you wouldn't have believed it at the time. A club of this size should be doing better.

"This club has lived on the 1973 FA Cup final against Leeds United and that's absolutely fantastic, but you would like to think at some stage we will be able to share a few more moments like that.

"I'm not sure if the players worry or know enough about the history of their own club but then you'd be surprised at how much some of the younger players know. The lesson of history is that these opportunities don't come around very often. You think that at the age of 21 or 22, when you lose a quarter-final, that it's all right, it'll be around next year. Then you're 29 and it hasn't happened for you.

"Even in our great days under Brian Clough at Forest, the FA Cup eluded us. We lost a quarter-final against West Brom and the following year against Arsenal Gary Birtles missed a sitter before Frank Stapleton scored. Everton v Sunderland,

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Irish Independent