O’neill.. oh no!
Northern Ireland manager set to quit and take over strugglers Stoke
NORTHERN Ireland manager Michael O’neill is to stand down after it emerged yesterday he will join strugglers Stoke City.
The 50-year-old, who guided the Green and White Army to Euro 2016 in France, will see out the last two qualifying matches for Euro 2020.
He is poised to seal his move to the Championship side today and nearly double his £750,000 IFA salary.
Supporters chief Gary Mcallister said: “We will be sorry to see Michael go because he has been such a successful manager but I also think we would wish him well if he does leave for Stoke.”
NORTHERN Ireland fans wished Michael O’neill well yesterday after news broke of his imminent departure to Stoke City.
The 50-year-old is expected to be confirmed as the Potters’ new manager today in a lucrative fouryear deal.
It will see him almost double his £750,000 salary with the Irish FA.
Stoke are currently languishing at the bottom of the Championship, having picked up just two wins from their opening 15 games this season.
They will be hoping O’neill can transform their fortunes, just like he did for Northern
Ireland over the past eight years.
During his reign the country qualified for our first ever European Championships and narrowly missed out on reaching last year’s World Cup in
Russia after losing a playoff against the
Chairman of the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland
Supporters’ Club, Gary
Mcallister said: “I think there will be mixed emotions from fans.
“We will be sorry to see Michael go because he has been such a successful manager but I also think we would wish him well if he does leave for Stoke.
“When Michael arrived, the first campaign didn’t go that well and there were some disappointing results but we could see what he was trying to implement.
“He restored belief in the players and the fans and the highlight was undoubtedly reaching the Euros. The buzz that created in Northern Ireland and the pride it instilled into the whole country was incredible.
“And the win over Ukraine in Lyon was our Gerry Armstrong moment. That was definitely the pinnacle of that experience.”
O’neill will rubberstamp his Stoke move today and is then expected to return to Belfast to take charge of Northern Ireland’s final two Euro 2020 qualifiers against Holland and Germany.
They host the Dutch at Windsor Park on November
16 in what promises to be an emotionally charged night, and complete their campaign three days later in Frankfurt.
Mr Mcallister said: “The Holland game is massive as it is, the atmosphere will be electric. But it will definitely be ramped up a notch or two if Michael is bowing out.
“They are two massive games against two footballing giants. If they turn out to be Michael’s two final games then hopefully we can get two positive results.”
Whoever follows O’neill into the Northern Ireland hotseat will have big shoes to fill.
One of the early frontrunners is Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson while current Under 21 manager Ian Baraclough is also being linked with the job.
The Holland game is massive as it is but atmosphere will be ramped up if he’s bowing out GARY MCALLISTER LAST NIGHT
FINAL WHISTLE Michael O’neill led team to Euro 2016
YOU ARE MY DAVIS Boss with team’s captain Steven TIME FOR CHANGE Michael O’neill will become Stoke manager HAVE A LAFF With striker Kyle in 2015 HERE OUI GO Team qualified for the Euros JOY Celebrating Niall Mcginn’s Ukraine goal YOU RAISE ME UP Team celebrate with manager UNITED Team failed to qualify for World Cup