Belfast Telegraph

Stephen Craigan: Michael O'Neill will leave behind a legacy as one of Northern Ireland's finest ever managers

Moving on: Michael O’Neill
Moving on: Michael O’Neill
Stephen Craigan

By Stephen Craigan

The day was always going to come when Michael O'Neill would be prised away from Northern Ireland by a club side that needed his divine intervention and that time is now.

A lot of people have raised their eyebrows that Stoke City is Michael's next destination but he will have weighed it all up and it will be a calculated decision from him. There's no doubt Stoke are in a difficult place but there are similarities to when he took over at Northern Ireland and the rest is history.

Northern Ireland fans won't begrudge Michael the chance to manage in club football and he will go with everyone's best wishes, especially with news that he will stay on for this month's double-header and any subsequent Euro play-offs.

The job he has done has been remarkable and the players clearly loved working under him.

Through the dark days, a major Championships seemed as far away as ever but Michael made it a reality at Euro 2016 and gave a lot of people memories that will live with them forever.

He will rightly go down as one of our finest ever managers and has laid the foundation for more success. Let's hope he can go out on a high. I wouldn't put it past him.

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