He was always destined to end up on Wearside after insisting that, just as he was born to captain Manchester United, so he was born to manage Sunderland.
That in the grand scheme of things was bollocks when you think about O'Neill.
'(O'Neill) will talk all day to the supporters about his particular idol - Irish defender Charlie Hurley, who played for the club for 13 years in the 1950s and 60s. He knows about other club legends such as Stan Anderson, George Mulhall and Ambrose Fogarty - plus a player who eventually influenced O'Neill's own playing career after playing in Sunderland's red and white - Brian Clough.
He was born to manage Sunderland'.
This man was born to manage Sunderland.