Martin O'Neill shadow haunts bosses


Martin O'Neill Celtic newsThe shadow of Martin O’Neill is hanging ominously over a number of Premiership managers.

O’Neill’s motivational skills and ability to get the best out of under-performing players will be sounding out alarm bells at Liverpool, Aston Villa, Chelsea and West Ham this morning.

Since quitting Aston Villa on the eve of the new season the former Celtic boss has kept a very low profile but every under pressure chairman in the Premiership will be well aware of his availability.

The sacking season is well underway in the lower divisions but so far only Newcastle and Blackburn have pressed the panic button in the Premiership with Chris Hughton and Sam Allerdyce axed last month.

With no compensation required and the almost universal acceptance of supporters a call to O’Neill will seem irresistible to most chairman.

According to bookmakers Victor Chandler Roy Hodgson is the favourite in the sack race but the Liverpool boss faces tough competition from Gerard Houllier, Carlo Ancelotti and Avram Grant

Thursday morning odds: Hodgson 4/7, Ancelotti 2/1 Grant 11/2, Houllier 10/1.

Two polls to consider today

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O’Neill of course doesn’t come easily.

Not many club owners will be prepared to give him the level of control that he enjoyed at Celtic.

The reasons for his departure from Villa Park have never surfaced but it’s widely believed that Villa owner Randy Lerner was looking for greater value for money from his investment with O’Neill’s only interest in driving the club into the top four and a Champions League spot.

Whether a club are prepared to give O’Neill the control he demands is open to debate- it’s unlikely that the former Celt will compromise and allow excessive boardroom interference in what he considers to be his business.

This weekend’s FA Cup ties and the availability of players during the transfer window will have a huge bearing on the future’s of Hodgson, Ancelotti, Houllier and Grant.

Whoever goes first there’s no doubt that O’Neill will instantly be amongst the favourites to take over.

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  • Mark Fulton says:

    Can’t see Martin managing Liverpool due to the presence of Damien Commoli, their Director of Football who is highly rated by the new regime.

    Ditto Chelsea with Abramovich and Frank Arnesen.

    Can’t see a return to Villa due to his acrimonious departure.

    West Ham have their own egomaniacs in the board and simply aren’t big enough for a man of O’Neill’s stature.

    It’s an intriguing time in O’Neill’s career, with the manager’s autononomy over football matters becoming a dying trend. Perhaps international football beckons? Trapattoni’s successor perhaps?

  • Joe McHugh says:

    Interesting thoughts Mark, thanks

    My gut feeling is he won’t return to management.

    He won’t find the control that he enjoyed at Celtic anywhere else, even Fergie and Wenger are under tight financial controls these days.

    MON will be itching to get back involved but the offer has to be 100% right, he won’t touch anything that could damage his reputation.

    A top 4/5/6 club is the only possible step up from Villa and I don’t see that offer being made to him.

    He’ll be there or thereabouts when the vacancies come up but I don’t think that he’ll get an offer to meet his requirements.

  • Joe says:

    O’Neill doesn’t see jobs through. Look at his record. He quit Leicester, twice.

    He walked out on Celtic when things got tough. He walked out on Villa when things got tough. Let’s be honest, he did a great job at Celtic, but while responsible for getting us to the UEFA Cup final, blew it with team selection favouring unfit players like Mjallby over a very consistent McNamara, thus making it easy for Porto to explore that weakness.

    He also blew the league that same season because he lost focus.

    That same season, he allowed the unthinkable for Celtic fans- he gifted Rangers the treble- the previous season he threw away the Scottish Cup Final, leaving Lubo on the bench to “keep him for extra time” and instead, Rangers scored the winner in injury time.

    In his last season at Celtic, blew a five point lead with four games left to throw away the league again. Sure, O’Neill did some great stuff with Celtic, but he is a quitter.

  • James says:

    Sorry but Joe your completely off the mark, if ya know your history the reason he stepped down from Celtic is because of family matters which will always come first.

    He played tactics that worked and sometimes they didn’t but he always had a plan and point to doing them.

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