Date: 4th February 2009 at 11:19am
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A Response to Martin O’Neill LOVES It at Villa post by deano.avfc

I read the recent comments from MON on how he loves it at Villa (Martin O’Neill LOVES IT At Villa) and it go me thinking of something that I have worried about for some time. Firstly, a bit of background of my understanding of the man – as a
fellow Ulsterman I have followed O’Neill’s progress through management for a number of years now – I am too young to remember his playing days but I have watched videos of him play, particularly for Northern Ireland, and I am convinced he would be much more of a Northern Ireland legend if he did not have the links with Celtic….but that is a discussion for another day.

Basically the thing that has always worried me is his ‘5 year’ period he has spent at Wycombe, Leicester and Celtic – he has often used this to show his loyalty to the clubs he has managed (except Norwich which did not work out from the point of view of both sides) and use it as proof he is not looking to ‘jump ship’ for another management post – the thing is – I want O’Neill at Villa longer than 5 years….much longer!!

I watched O’Neill’s press conference when he was appointed as Celtic manager and I have searched the internet for the transcript to get the exact quote but I honestly cant find it – but if I remember correctly he mentioned advice his father had given him – that if he was ever offered the Celtic or Man Utd managers job he should walk to Celtic Park or Old Trafford to accept it. Therefore making the point that the job was very easy to accept.

Now…where does that leave us. I am certain that whenever Sir Alex Ferguson and Man Utd do part ways O’Neill will be favourite for the job – no question about it!! He will almost certainly be recommended by Sir Alex to the Man Utd board and he will almost definitely be offered the job. He will then be allowed to speak to Man Utd as Randy will not stand in his way – as was proven when Randy said he would allow him to speak to the English FA for the England job.

What will his response be…well that is about timing!!!

I think that if O’Neill takes us to the Champions League regularly in the next few years he may feel that he has done a tremendous job and can take the Man Utd job with our blessing in a season or two’s time…..but I am going to be selfish for the moment and look at things from Sir Alex’s point of view.

If Man Utd win another treble (or quadruple) this year – which is quite likely – surely he would say – that’s me – I’ve done it all – time to move on leaving very large shoes to fill!!

If Villa succeed this year and finish in the top 4 I think Martin would stay for another season – he would love to take us to the Champions League and give it a real go!!

Man Utd go and appoint someone else and there you have it!!!

Even then I wont be happy – the new Man Utd manager (Bruce, Mourinho, Capello, whoever – I don’t care) has big shoes to fill and will have allot of pressure – if they don’t do well in the first season they may be out!! Cue O’Neill again linked…he has had his stab at the Champions League with us- he has done 4 years – time to move on!!

In other words I cant see him jumping ship if Sir Alex resigns this year – but if Man Utd need a new manager the following summer – or the summer after that I worry Martin may fancy a crack at it!!

So, in conclusion – lets hope Man Utd win EVERYTHING this year(unless we are neck and neck for the title or meet in the FA Cup), Sir Alex resigns, we finish Top 4 and the new Man Utd manager is a success!!! Then we can have O’Neill for ourselves for a very, very long time!!!

Up The Villa