Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Martin O’Neill edging closer to Leicester City reunion

Martin O'Neill has been linked with a return to his former club Leicester City
Martin O'Neill has been linked with a return to his former club Leicester City

Martin O’Neill was last night in line to make an emotional return to Leicester City — 11 years after leaving the club.

Sven-Goran Eriksson’s sacking, just over a year after he took charge of the Foxes, has opened the door for O’Neill to make a return to club management.

Two weeks ago the 59-year-old ruled himself out of the running to be the next Northern Ireland manager, stating that he preferred to bide his time and wait for a return to club management.

Now the opportunity has arisen with a club that O’Neill knows inside out, having spent the most successful period of his career in England with Leicester.

He guided them into the Premier League in 1996 and just a year later they lifted the League Cup, defeating Middlesbrough in a replayed final.

After losing the 1999 decider to Tottenham the Foxes got their hands on the trophy again in 2000 when they beat Tranmere Rovers at Wembley.

O’Neill took the club to an eighth place finish in the Premier League just a few weeks later — which remains their highest finish since 1976.

He left Leicester that summer to join Celtic, where he won three league titles in four seasons.

Gerry Taggart, who was part of that 2000 Carling Cup winning team and was later first-team coach at the club, has been listed by bookmakers as a possible contender for the post.

Taggart is currently assistant manager at Oldham Athletic.

And Nigel Worthington, who quit as Northern Ireland manager earlier this month, may also come into contention. He had a five-game spell as caretaker boss at Leicester in 2007, saving them from relegation to League One.

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