AS a boyhood fan, Martin O’Neill is proud of Sunderland’s history but keen to make his own.
The Wearsiders have not lifted a major trophy since their famous FA Cup victory over Leeds in 1973.
Commemorated throughout the Stadium of Light and Academy of Light, that feat now has a human embodiment after Sunderland’s man of the match that day, Jim Montgomery, was named a club ambassador last week.
O’Neill has always embraced the history of the clubs he has managed, but is keen for more up-to-date decorations.
The FA Cup is the last trophy Sunderland are in contention for this season and they entertain Arsenal in this evening’s fifth round.
O’Neill said: “For a club of this size it has been bereft of trophies for a long time.
“I passed Jim in the corridor before. It is great to see him and a reminder of the great days.
“That would be an aim for a club of this size. Why should we not think we should win something?”
With both Manchester clubs out, the winners of this weekend’s only all-Premier League tie will be a win away from Wembley, albeit at the semi-finals stage.
Some managers – such as O’Neill’s mentor Brian Clough at Leeds United – see the past as a heavy burden, others embrace it.
The Ulsterman falls into the latter category, and appreciates the value of silverware.
He added: “It is great to see their pictures up. It is very important, but it would be nice for Sunderland, the fans here, if we could use that as a benchmark but try and get something for ourselves.
“Aston Villa, when I went there, there was not a picture of the 1982 European Cup-winning team so we put them up, I wanted to give the younger players an incentive to look at the greatest night in the club’s history. To lose the (2010) League Cup final against Manchester United was really disappointing. (it would have been nice) to have at least won the trophy and been able to put it into the cabinet and say, ‘You have achieved something.’”