Stoke City have confirmed the arrival of Alex Neal as their new manager on a three-year contract.
Neil left Sunderland to take up the job after the black cats gave the potters permission to speak to the 41-year-old about the vacancy.
The Scot was on hand to watch Stoke City’s 1-0 win over Blackburn on Saturday before the switch was officially confirmed.
Meanwhile, Sunderland lost 1-0 to Norwich on the same day with assistant coach Martin Canning, first-team coach Mike Dodds and Michael Proctor as well as head goalkeeper Alessandro Barcherini taking over as head coach.
Sky BEIN News He understands that former Blackburn coach Tony Mowbray is lined up to be Neil’s successor at Sunderland, after earlier spells in the Northeast as a player and manager with Middlesbrough.
Neil had a fantastic six months at Sunderland as he won promotion to the Championship with the Black Cats via the League One playoffs.
He replaces Michael O’Neill at Stoke City after being sacked with club number 21 in the table, winning just one of his first five games.
John Coates, president of Stoke, announced O’Neill’s departure, saying: “Michael joined us in November 2019 when the club was in a difficult position, and the task he has done in cementing our position in the Championship should not be underestimated.
“Michael has worked tirelessly and very professionally, particularly in reshaping our squad and developing young players, but we feel the time is right to move in a different direction. I would like to thank him for his efforts and wish him every success for the future.”
After that latest defeat to Sunderland, O’Neill, who joined the club when he was bottom of the tournament after serving as Northern Ireland coach, called for “perspective” on Stoke’s start to the campaign.
“We have five games a season and there’s a lot of football to play and I think it’s about keeping it in place as well and that’s what we’re going to try to do,” he said. “This is a completely new group of players and we’ve lost five or six players through injury who could be in the starting XI, so we’re not really where we could be at the moment.
“I think we have a really good squad in our dressing room, but it’s easy for me to say because we haven’t shown that.”
Stoke finished 14th in O’Neill’s two full seasons after driving them away from the relegation zone and climbing to 15th in 2019/20.