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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 12 March, 2003, 09:55 GMT
McCarthy unveiled as Sunderland boss
New Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy gets a feel for his new surroundings
McCarthy has signed an "open-ended" contract at Sunderland

Mick McCarthy has been confirmed as Sunderland's new manager.

The relegation-threatened Premiership club unveiled ex-Republic of Ireland boss McCarthy as Howard Wilkinson's successor at a news conference on Wednesday.

It is McCarthy's first job in Premiership management and only his second at club level, having been in charge of Ireland from when he left Millwall in 1996 until 2002.

McCarthy said it was an "absolute pleasure and a privilege" to be Sunderland's new manager but he admitted it would take "a remarkable achievement" to keep them in the Premiership.

The Black Cats have nine games left to preserve their top flight status and they are seven points adrift.

The 44-year-old said: "Some may ask me why I've come here but it's a football club, a proper football club. It has a great set of supporters and everyone connected with it has a passion to see it do well.

MCCARTHY'S STORY SO FAR
1959: Born Barnsley, 7 February
1977: Makes league debut for Barnsley, later moving to Man City, Celtic, Lyon and Millwall
1984: Makes debut for Republic of Ireland
1991: Named as Millwall's player-manager
1996: After impressive stint at Millwall, appointed successor to Jack Charlton as Ireland manager
2002: Quits as Ireland boss in the same year as a row with Roy Keane overshadows the World Cup campaign
2003: Appointed Sunderland manager

"Everything about the club is right except of course the results on the field and that is my brief. Thankfully it is because everything else seems to be in excellent order.

"Me and (new assistant boss) Ian Evans will be at the training ground from this afternoon trying to get results."

McCarthy said it would be "a remarkable achievement" to stay up.

"I'm not saying I will keep them up but I will try to do that," he added.

Sunderland chairman Bob Murray - the man responsible for hiring then firing Wilkinson - was not at Wednesday's press conference because of illness.

But the vice-chairman John Fickling said: "We've acted quickly to secure the services of a manager who would undoubtedly be purused by several clubs in the summer.

"By appointing Mick now we have ... given him the chance to pursue a strategy for the summer and beyond."

Fickling stressed it was "not an appointment for nine games" but rather for the "long-term".

But he also admitted that McCarthy had signed an "open-ended contract" and that either party could terminate it at any time.

Fickling said McCarthy's row with Roy Keane at the World Cup in the summer was part of the reason why Sunderland went for him - as he would have benefitted from the "experience".

But the manager said he was trying to forget the Keane saga and described getting back into management as "part of the healing process".

Fickling also said his new manager had been "made aware of our financial postion", hinting that McCarthy would have little to spend in the transfer market.

"I accept that," the Black Cats boss said.

"There are more clubs in that position than clubs that can go out and spend."

Wilkinson was appointed just five months ago following Peter Reid's sacking but the one-time England caretaker boss was sacked on Monday after winning just two league games in his spell at the helm.

Now McCarthy has nine games to save Sunderland's Premiership status, starting with a home game against Bolton on Saturday.

Evans - who was McCarthy's deputy with the Republic before the pair resigned in the wake of losing the first two Euro 2004 qualifiers - is also joining Sunderland.

There had been speculation that Niall Quinn - a Sunderland hero and a colleague of McCarthy's at international level - would also come on board but that did not materialise.

However, Quinn did give the new manager his ringing endorsement.

HAVE YOUR SAY

"He will get the immediate respect of the players," said the man who won the last of his 91 Republic of Ireland caps under McCarthy.

"You know with him you won't get mind games. He's a hard-working man, he has worked for everything he has got in the game and if Mick was to get it, he leads from the heart."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Sunderland boss Mick McCarthy
"It's a pleasure to be here"


SUNDERLAND

SEE ALSO
Sunderland sack Wilkinson
10 Mar 03  |  Sunderland
A not-so dynamic duo
10 Oct 02  |  Sunderland

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