From doom and gloom under the regime of the Elephant Man Wearsiders now have cause for Christmas cheer with the arrival of Martin O’Neill. We asked lifelong Mackem Gary Evans what he made of it all…

1/ What did you make of Bruce’s summer signings?

I was pleased, to be honest. I still am. Although I think we’re yet to see the best of most of them. We desperately need a goalscorer; but no one could have predicted that Gyan was going to “pull a-Bent” in quite the way he did.

2/ Did Niall Quinn stepping down as chairman weaken Bruce’s position or was his sacking entirely performance/results based?

Two places above the drop-zone; 30 signings in two years; £25 million spent this season. He had to go. Maybe Quinny would have given him more time, but he’d lost the fans. I hated the way the press insinuated we’d lost patience quicker because he was a Geordie (just look at the statue outside of the Stadium of Light). We lost patience because he was shite – a tactical fucking retard.  

3/ Personally speaking, was Martin O’Neill your first choice as replacement gaffer?

I wasn’t mad on him. Celtic play in a two-team league. Admittedly, he was solid at Villa, but his glory days at Leicester were a decade ago. Then, when he signed, I was buzzing. He’s got a special presence about him.  

4/ What changes have you noticed already?

Spirit. Fight. Confidence. WINS. I was never in doubt about winning the Blackburn game – the first time I’ve felt like that all season. And, as MON said, we beat QPR twice!  

5/ Where can you hope to finish this term and what are your hopes for the future under O’Neill?

The league’s still so tight, I can’t see why we shouldn’t be aiming to better last season – top half finish. Beyond that? Let’s hope he can bring us some much needed stability, and build the team into the top six/seven side we’ve got the resources to be.