MARTIN O'Neill has taken a fresh swipe at Phil Dowd - the same referee who, in the Northern Irishman's eyes, denied him a League Cup triumph two years ago while in charge of Aston Villa.
The Sunderland boss found himself having to defend his time at Villa Park after Saturday’s 0-0 draw in the Midlands, as he was booed by some home fans as he walked towards the dug-out before kick-off.
It must be said that some of the home support applauded their former boss and many did nothing at all, which gave the impression many Villa supporters were thankful for the four years he spent at their club.
They would have been even more pleased with O’Neill had he led them to the League Cup against Manchester United when Nemanja Vidic should have been sent off after just a minute for a last-man foul on Gabriel Agbonlahor, instead Dowd only booking the defender.
It is a decision that still smarts with the Sunderland boss, and O’Neill said: “I will always have regrets about leaving Villa.
“I had four years there and the irony is that it went sour in the last year as we had finished our most successful season, six points off the Champions League, cup final, semi-finals.
“If Phil Dowd had done his job properly back in 2010 we’d have won that final. He’s been rewarded with an FA Cup final this year.
“Well done to him two years on, eh?”