Fifteen games had gone, two had been won. There were eight points on the board and a dog fight against relegation loomed.
Yet if the season had started on O’Neill’s first day, the trip to Barnsley had been the opening day, Stoke would be play-off chasers rather than League One panickers.
The table below shows the Championship over the 22 match O’Neill has been in charge, slowly building up form and confidence.
Stoke are seventh here, having picked up more points in this time than promotion hopefuls Nottingham Forest, Bristol City and Preston North End.
They have picked up double the number of points in this period than Charlton Athletic and 10 more than Sheffield Wednesday, who had been riding high heading into the winter.
Even more remarkable has been the transformation at home.
Stoke had only won one of their previous 13 matches at the bet365 Stadium. Let that sink in again.
Since then they have won seven and drawn two of the next 11, scoring 21 and only conceding nine.
Brentford and Fulham are the only teams who can better that record.
And that is all including the time that O’Neill needed to get his feet under the table – and he has been reflecting on that during the enforced break since mid-March.
He told The Athletic earlier this week: “The first thing I did was really reflect on the 22 games we had at Stoke.
“I had come straight into it obviously from international football and I was still having to deal with the potential of playing the (Euro 2020) play-off game for Northern Ireland as well. So, although my focus was Stoke, I just felt that I hadn’t really had any time.
“I started to look back at the teams that I’d picked. I reviewed them and it’s something that I’ll probably do now going forward, I’ll kind of make a note of that and my thoughts going into games in terms of why I picked that team.
“It’s not something I would have done in the past. But I did feel it was interesting. I looked at the teams I picked sometimes at the start, and I would never pick that team now knowing the players like I do.”