I’ll answer that one in a moment, but in the meantime here’s another way of contrasting our club’s fortunes under him and his predecessor.
Taking it month-by-month, Stoke under Nathan Jones went very poor, very poor, poor, very poor, very poor and poor.
Under O’Neill, his months have gone average, average, very good, average and then into March it has started very good.
When you look at the current Championship table, there’s a remarkable symmetry about it.
Let’s assume Leeds and West Brom look like finishing top two, Nottingham Forest, Fulham and Brentford in three of the four play-off places and Luton and Barnsley in the bottom two.
You then have three points between the six clubs from Preston to Swansea that look like battling for the remaining play-off spot; three points between the five clubs from Charlton to Stoke that look like trying to avoid the last relegation spot; and three points between the five in mid-table from QPR down to Birmingham.
I find that incredible and a measure of how tight and exciting the Championship has been this season, even by its standards.
Now, where do I think Stoke would figure in those brackets had O’Neill been in charge from day one this season?
My best guess is that we would be in the group from Preston to Swansea… at least.
We will never know, of course, and it’s all about surviving this season and building for next when I reckon his priority will be to stop conceding so many goals.
We look like a team that can score again, as the figures prove, and against Hull last week it could have been eight by half-time.
But we also conceded and they got behind us a few times, even though they must be one of the worst teams I’ve ever seen, so there was an insight into the defensive issues to be addressed.
People have asked me why has O’Neill been so successful compared to his predecessor.
The answer is pretty simple when you think about it.
Jones went against the principles of football, while O’Neill has come in and merely mixed good common sense with hard work.
The net result is a team that looks bright and refreshed once again, certainly compared to life under their old manager, and they are now playing to their strengths.
O’Neill has seen that we have got wingers, seen that we have got pace up front, seen that we have got a `number 10’, seen that we have got a sitting midfielder, seen that we have got more advanced midfielders and seen that we have got a target man.
By putting people in their best positions as best he can we now have the option of working possession, in the right areas of course, or counter-attacking with pace.
We are a team that can once again go through, around or over the opposition.
The ingredients were always there and it baffles me why some managers ignore what’s staring them in the face.
Finally this week, I want to join everyone else in wishing Joe Allen all the best.
A ruptured Achilles tendon injury is a nasty one, probably the worst a footballer can get, one that can affect the whole balance of your body.
It might take him time to get his head around what’s happened to him, but he’s a strong character and I’m sure he will knuckle down to the necessary rehabilitation work awaiting him.”