The fifty-nine year old Northern Irishman has been out of work since he left Aston Villa in August last year. That is a terrible waste of a great manager. One of the main reasons he hasn’t been able to move on is that he has been unable to agree a suitable pay-off with Aston Villa.
O’Neill has a wonderful record that has seen him win successive promotions with Wycombe Wanderers, taking them from non-league to League one.
Since O’Neill left Wycombe, they have dropped back to League two.
After a very short spell at Norwich he moved to Leicester City where he took them to three League Cup finals, winning two of them, and into Europe. In his three seasons at the club they finished ninth, tenth and eighth in the Premier League.
Since leaving Leicester they have dropped down two divisions.
He moved on to Celtic where he won three SPL titles, three Scottish cups and one league cup. He also achieved the near impossible and took them to a UEFA Cup final, only to be beaten by the soon to be genius Jose Mourinho and his Porto side.
Since O’Neill left, domestic success has continued but nobody has come close to repeating what he achieved in Europe.
After leaving Celtic O’Neill ended up at Aston Villa. They had finished sixteenth in the Premier League in the season before he was appointed. In his first season he took them to eleventh place. Next time around it was sixth and qualification for Europe. The third season saw a sixth place finish and European qualification again. The next season saw yet another sixth placed finish and a place in the Carling Cup final.
After leaving Villa just before this season began, Villa have struggled near the bottom and are still not entirely safe from a relegation scrap.
Just as soon as his financial battle with Aston Villa is sorted, somebody will be able land themselves a manager who is as good as anyone around.
Unfortunately as the club and O’Neill have been unable to agree a severance package, it will now be heard by an arbitration tribunal.
A League Managers Association statement said,
“It has not been possible to resolve the dispute concerning the termination of O’Neill’s employment. The matter has now been placed in the hands of the Premier League Managers’ Arbitration Tribunal.
“Premier League managers’ contracts contain a clause requiring the parties to mediate their differences in the event of a dispute and, if the dispute cannot be resolved at mediation, that the case moves forward to the Premier League Managers’ Arbitration Tribunal.
“The tribunal is ideally placed to resolve disputes of this nature, combining the skills and experience of prominent individuals from football and the law.”
The good news for O’Neill is that similar tribunals have found in favour of managers such as Alan Curbishley and Kevin Keegan and he is likely to do well financially.
Whatever happens, I’m sure O’Neill will be back at the top of the game very soon afterwards.
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