Great to see past and present Newcastle players getting outside recognition and Michael O’Neill has been recognised in the New Year’s honours list.
The former Newcastle striker and current Northern Ireland boss, has been awarded the MBE.
Arriving at Newcastle in October 1987, a then 18 year old Michael O’Neill scored 13 goals in 22 First Division games and ended the season as Newcastle’s top scorer.
O’Neill was playing alongside the likes of Gazza and Mirandinha in that first season of football in England.
Thirty years later and it is for his remarkable achievements as Northern Ireland Manager that he picks up his award.
A big well done to Michael O’Neill.
“It’s fantastic and totally unexpected to be honest.
“In many ways I am just getting the recognition for what the team and the association have achieved in recent years.
“ It’s not only about the past year and the EUROs, its about the completion of the new stadium and the team doing well, it’s recognition of all that. I am just the fortunate person that gets to pick up an award.
“My oldest daughter thought it was a prank to begin with when the letter arrived!
“My family are very proud and my family back in Northern Ireland are very proud as well. In many ways it hasn’t really sunk in yet, but it’s lovely when you get recognition – it is a proud day for me and all my family.
“The whole year has been fabulous. It will probably only be when I am not in the job that I will be able to look back and realise the extent of what we all achieved.
“This award comes at the end of 2016 but it’s actually a great way to start 2017.
“That will give me inspiration and motivation to continue to do everything possible to try and qualify for the world cup and to do well in the games that we have ahead.”