Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Martin O'Neill: Northern Ireland man's career highlights after being confirmed as Republic manager

New Ireland Manager Martin O'Neill (L) and his assistant Roy Keane look on prior to the UEFA Champions League match between Real Sociedad and Manchester United (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Martin O'Neill (L) and Roy Keane look on prior to the UEFA Champions League match between Real Sociedad and Manchester United

As Martin O'Neill is set to return to management as boss of the Republic of Ireland, we look at the Kilrea man's touchline career.

WYCOMBE

He has won bigger trophies and coached better-known players elsewhere, but Wycombe is where O'Neill the manager first caught the eye and where he is held in great veneration to this day. He led Wanderers into the Football League for the first time in 1993 and then to an immediate promotion as the Buckinghamshire side reached the third tier. After missing out on a third successive hop up the league ladder with a play-off defeat, O'Neill decided the time was right to move on.

Trophies & promotions: FA Trophy (1991, 1993), Vauxhall Conference (1993), Promotion via play-offs from Division Three (1994).

NORWICH

Former Norwich player O'Neill seemed the ideal fit for a Canaries team newly relegated from the Premiership, but it was not to work out that way. Appointed in June 1995, he quit in December of the same year. O'Neill wanted to sign Hull's Dean Windass, was refused the funds by chairman Robert Chase, and he walked hours before a defeat to Leicester.

Trophies & promotions: None.

LEICESTER

Filbert Street beckoned and it was at Leicester that O'Neill set his career back on an upward trajectory. Steve Claridge's winner in the 1996 First Division play-off final against Crystal Palace gave the Foxes promotion in O'Neill's debut season, and Leicester then earned four straight top-10 finishes in the Premier League. They won the League Cup twice too, beating Middlesbrough and Tranmere in Wembley finals to earn shots at European football. O'Neill's performance had been startling and other clubs were watching.

Trophies & promotions: Promotion via play-offs from First Division (1996), League Cup (1997, 2000).

CELTIC

Before Leicester's second UEFA Cup campaign, O'Neill jumped ship to Celtic in June 2000. The Glasgow giants had experienced a tumultuous season under the leadership of John Barnes, who was sacked in February, and Kenny Dalglish. A domestic treble in his first campaign was the perfect start and O'Neill would also lead the Hoops to the 2003 UEFA Cup final in Seville, where they lost a thrilling match 3-2 to Jose Mourinho's Porto. He left Celtic in May 2005, to care for sick wife Geraldine, signing off with a Scottish Cup final win.

Trophies & successes: SPL title (2001, 2002, 2004), League Cup (2001), Scottish Cup (2001, 2004, 2005), UEFA Cup runners-up (2003).

ASTON VILLA

O'Neill was back in football in August 2006. He achieved three sixth-placed finishes with Villa and led the club to the 2010 League Cup final, where they lost to Manchester United. However, success on the scale he had been accustomed to in Scotland was out of reach. He left in August 2010 after disagreements with owner Randy Lerner.

Trophies: None.

SUNDERLAND

Sunderland had been linked with O'Neill several times previously and there was delight on Wearside when he was appointed in December 2011. He helped the Black Cats recover from a poor start to their season and they looked capable of a top-10 finish before the campaign petered out. The 2012-13 campaign was a struggle and O'Neill was sacked in March with the club in relegation trouble, Paolo Di Canio coming in as his successor.

Trophies: None.

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