John O’Shea wants to stay at relegated Sunderland

Defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday consigned Black Cats to the Championship

John O’Shea says he wants to stay at Sunderland despite the club’s relegation on Saturday, the subdued end of a miserable season on Wearside.

O’Shea, 36 on Sunday, is one of eight Sunderland players out of contract at the Stadium of Light but having been at the club since 2011, O’Shea and his family are settled in the north-east.

Asked if he would like to be at Sunderland next season in the Championship, O’Shea replied: “Yeah. I’ve really enjoyed being here every year.

“It’s a great place and the people around the place, the club, the Sunderland family outside and inside, whether at the training ground or Black Cats House, the decency among the people is very special. It’s something I definitely want to continue with. But it’s not up to me.”


With Sunderland on the market and uncertainty around the future of manager David Moyes, it is unclear who will make that decision or when. Saturday was O'Shea's 26th club appearance of the season and there are four Premier League games left.

The Ireland defender signed from Manchester United when Steve Bruce was Sunderland manager and O'Shea has seen Martin O'Neill, Paolo Di Canio, Gus Poyet, Dick Advocaat, Sam Allardyce and Moyes occupy the dugout during a constant battle against relegation. After 10 years in the Premier League it was finally lost at home to Bournemouth when Josh King scored a late winner for the visitors.

O’Shea agreed it was “fair” to say relegation was coming – only in his first season did Sunderland get more than 40 points.

“We have got the wins to get that momentum at the right time to get us over the line,” O’Shea said of previous escapes. “But we have just scraped over the line a few times. It’s not as if we’ve flown over it.

“The fans had a right to be a lot more frustrated and to show a lot more anger, but I think they’d come to the realisation that . . obviously if we’d got the win today we’d have a chance to survive.”

The mood around the club is low with concern about its overall direction. Moyes has added to this with his downbeat assessments, but O’Shea offered a rare rallying cry on Wearside and insisted the Championship is not an ending.

“Far from it, far from it. The one thing you see is the attitude of the fans, not just those here, but the fans who travel. If we can get the momentum going quickly in our favour, it will be very hard for Sunderland to be stopped.”

Michael Walker

Michael Walker

Michael Walker is a contributor to The Irish Times, specialising in soccer