Date: 23rd November 2007 at 9:05am
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According to a report in The Mirror by Oliver Holt (their chief sports writer) Villa boss Martin O’Neill will follow a few others and rule himself totally out of contention for the England job.

O’Neill is favourite with some bookies and after Jose Mourinho apparently ruled himself out, that could well leave the job wide open for MON. The report claims that Brian Barwick (what on earth is the FA doing with non footballing people choosing the England manager, what about the ex players and managers who know about the game being involved?) has MON on his list, well he can scrub it back off again!

MON said last week before Steve McClaren was sacked ‘I am committed to Aston Villa. I cannot end speculation. I have had it for years and years and years, no matter what you say.’ Adding, ‘I have a big commitment to Aston Villa. It is as simple as that.’

Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger and Newcastle’s Sam Allardyce have both categorically ruled themselves out. Hopefully today Martin O’Neill will do the same to stop this press whirlwind.

Another report, this time in The Independent by Sam Wallace and Jason Burt, says that Brian Barwick has already sounded out MON, something I find very hard to believe. They say It is also understood that discreet approaches have been made to O’Neill, 55, about how well disposed he feels towards the job even before Saturday’s shock victory for Israel over Russia that gave England a brief reprieve. Adding that money won’t be a problem for the FA as they’d have to pay compensation but What will be a far greater issue is to persuade O’Neill to accept the post and, according to a source close to the Villa manager last night, the FA will have to work hard to get him to take over.

Lets face it, why would MON take the England job? He has a great chairman at Villa (his words), has massive support amongst the majority of fans and has a colosal challenge to take Villa to where they want to be. If he took the England job now what would he do for the next few years whilst waiting for the World Cup qualifying games? Would he really be happy to just play a few friendlies? Then you have the players who habitually let down the England managers and the press who always hound the England boss. I would also think it would be difficult as an Irishman, to lead out the England team – on that I may be wrong?

Randy Lerner has said that he wouldn’t stand in the managers way if he wanted the job BUT also added this week, (Randy – MON Is Best Manager Around) , ‘He is special. We have the best manager around, I do believe that. But as Martin settles into this over the years, I think he can accomplish anything he wants to here. And, my God, I do mean ‘here’. I don’t think the Martin O’Neill’s of the world are ever available. Ever. Somehow the fates have to conspire. The worst thing in the world would be to set out and try to get a Martin O’Neill, because you would never get him.’

Former Real Madrid coach Fabio Capello has thrown his hat in the ring and other reports quote Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez who said ‘Maybe I could be Steve McClaren’s replacement if I improve my English.’ Adding, ‘I was being serious. You never know what can happen in the future.’

Harry Redknapp has said: ‘Anybody would love to manage their country but I don’t see it coming my way. It’s a great job for somebody. It’s an opportunity to work with the best players in this country and for me still, despite what anyone might think, a group of some of the best players in the world.’

Steve Coppell has said: ‘It’s a non-issue, I have a contract here. I’m English so people link me. I’ve got a massive job at Reading, as far as I’m concerned, and I’m very happy with that.’

Paul Ince says that Glenn Hoddle should be re-appointed explaining on BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘I wouldn’t look any further than Hoddle. He did a very good job and he wasn’t sacked for footballing reasons. The FA has got to forget about what happened years ago, they’ve got to be bold and brave. Hoddle is sharp, bright, meticulous and he’s English, but whether the FA is prepared to go back is not my decision.’ Hoddle was sacked for comments he made about his spiritual / religious beliefs and was totally misquoted by the press who claimed he thought disabled people were being punished for previous lives. He then got persecuted and hounded out the job despite that not being what his view was, his view along with billions of Buddhists, is you choose your path in life to make atonement for previous sins in the quest to reach enlightenment. There you go, talk of managers and now I’ve gone all Budda on you. Luckily my belly isn’t quite at that level as yet.

Anyhow, would be great to see this speculation ended once and for all, it’ll do no one, most of all Villa, any good if it rumbles on. I even took a call from a worried fan in Australia this morning, the git (he’s a nice git!) got me out of bed to ask what the situation was!!!

Surely he is the Villa boss, he has only just started this massive overhaul and should stay and see it out? And surely he will?

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