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Stoke City official statement confirms appointment of former Newcastle United star as manager

1 week ago
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Stoke City now have their new manager.

Former Newcastle United teenage star striker Michael O’Neill taking the reins.

BBC Sport had reported (see below) that the appointment was imminent.

More recently of course, Michel O’Neill has made a great reputation for himself when succeeding with Northern Ireland against the odds.

Since new year 2018, O’Neill will now be the seventh manager (including two caretakers) to be in charge at Stoke City.

As was previously speculated, the new deal will allow Michael O’Neill to still be in charge of Northern Ireland’s games in the upcoming international fortnight.

Stoke City official statement:

‘Stoke City are delighted to confirm the appointment of Michael O’Neill as the Club’s new manager.

The 50-year-old heads to the bet365 Stadium after a hugely successful eight-year spell in charge of Northern Ireland during which time he became the first manager to lead them to the European Championship finals in 2016.

O’Neill, who has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with the Club, will take charge of City at Barnsley tomorrow after he oversaw his first training session this morning.

The Club can also confirm that O’Neill will take charge of Ireland’s forthcoming EURO 2020 qualifiers against Holland next Saturday and Germany the following Tuesday .

Michael is now fully focussed on preparing the team for the trip to Barnsley and will speak to the media for the first time as manager of Stoke City after the game in South Yorkshire.’

The Mag – Earlier today (Friday 8 November 2019):

Stoke City now appear to have finally found their man.

The Potters set to appoint a new manager to dig them out of the dire position they find themselves in.

Nathan Jones was sacked a week ago after a disastrous nine months in charge, with BBC Sport reporting that Michael O’Neill is set to be announced shortly as the new Stoke City boss.

O’Neill was a teenage sensation when arriving at St James Park in 1987, the 18 year old ending up top scorer for Newcastle with 12 goals in only 19 First Division (top tier) starts that season.

Injuries and other issues blighted his time then on Tyneside and he left to turn out for a series of other clubs.

These past eight years he has been a surprise massive success with Northern Ireland, taking them to the 2016 Euros and having them constantly competitive despite limited player options.

The fall of Stoke City has been spectacular. After nine Premier League seasons where they never finished lower than 14th, and indeed finished top nine in the 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons, they were relegated in 2018.

Last season Stoke ended up only 16th in the Championship, now they are rock bottom and already six points off safety.

Good luck to Michael O’Neill if/when he takes this one on but no surprise he is now making the move, as far back as 2016 (see below) he was being tipped to get a job in club management in England.

Michael O’Neill is expected to be in charge in time for Stoke’s game against Barnsley on Saturday and is expected to still be allowed to take care of Northern Ireland’s upcoming matches as well.

BBC Sport report:

‘Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill looks set to be appointed as the new Stoke City manager.

The Irish FA gave permission to the Championship strugglers to approach O’Neill on Thursday and talks are understood to have progressed well.

Stoke will have to pay compensation to the Irish FA for O’Neill’s services but this is not expected to prove a stumbling block to his move.

O’Neill is expected to take charge of Stoke in Saturday’s game at Barnsley.

It is believed O’Neill will then return to Northern Ireland to take charge of his country’s final two Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Netherlands and Germany on 16 and 19 November before moving to Stoke on a full-time basis.

Former international player O’Neill, 50, has been NI boss for eight years, leading them to the Euro 2016 finals.

His expected move to the Championship club is likely to see him double his annual Northern Ireland salary of £750,000.

Stoke, bottom of the Championship table, are seeking a successor to Nathan Jones who was sacked on 1 November after just nine months in charge.

Shortly after dismissing Jones, Stoke asked to talk to Alex Neil, manager of Preston North End, but the request was turned down by their Championship rivals.

The Potters have won just two of their 15 Championship matches.

Northern Ireland are currently third in their Euro 2020 qualifying group, three points behind Germany and the Netherlands.

They play both this month but, regardless of those results, a play-off place seems likely for the Northern Irish.’

The Mag – 27 June 2019:

Former Newcastle striker Michael O’Neill has proved to be one of the most impressive management figures at Euro 2016.

Of all the teams to make the knockout stages, the Northern Ireland boss has managed it with arguably the weakest set of players as individuals – but who he has moulded into a real team. Only Iceland can maybe rival Michael O’Neill and his team in terms of outperforming compared to the basic ability in his squad.

After humble beginnings as a manager at Brechin and Shamrock Rovers, O’Neill has done a stunning job both over in France this summer and in particular a qualifying campaign that saw them comfortably top their group.

Now Steven Davis, Southampton and Northern Ireland midfielder, says that it is inevitable that Michael O’Neill will go on to manage ‘a big club side’, with it only being a matter of time before it happens.

Davis says that it is all about having the opportunity and is certain that there are now clubs looking at O’Neill after the job he has done with his national side.

A low key signing from Coleraine in the summer of 1987, Michael O’Neill was only 18 when he made his Newcastle debut, but that 1987/88 season gets most mentions because of the Paul Gascoigne/Mirandinha link up.

However, it was Michael O’Neill who was the biggest shining light as he hit 12 goals despite only making 19 starts in the First Division that year, making him top scorer ahead of Mirandinha’s 11 goal league total.

Very popular with the fans as a striker/attacking midfielder, injury played its part and then of course the following season saw the club implode and relegation follow, to a back drop of civil war in the boardroom.

Gazza had left, the signings hadn’t worked out and Michael O’Neill was allowed to leave, heading off to Dundee United before a long list of moves including Wigan, Coventry and Glentoran.

Steven Davis taking to The Independent:

“I think for me as a player or a manager everybody needs an opportunity.

“You see our lads playing on this stage here and they are playing lower leagues but they’ve shown they are more than capable of getting to this standard. You need a chance to do that and I think that’s the same for a manager.

“It’s just somebody having the belief in Michael to give him the opportunity and I’m sure he wouldn’t let anyone down.

“There’s going to be people who are looking at him. He has done a hell of job here with us. We’ve had unbelievable progression in the last couple of years. We are unlucky not to be going to the quarter-finals, for me today.

“I’m sure there are a lot of clubs who are thinking he is a suitable candidate for a role.

“Obviously we would like to keep him, selfishly. But I’m sure at some point he will go on to manage a big club side.”

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