O'Neill as Sunderland manager in 2012
|Full name||Martin Hugh Michael O'Neill|
|Date of birth||1 March 1952|
|Place of birth||Kilrea, Northern Ireland|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).
Starting his career in his native Northern Ireland, O'Neill moved to England where he spent most of his playing career with Nottingham Forest, with which he won the European Cup in 1980. He was capped 64 times for the Northern Ireland national football team, also captaining the side.
O'Neill has managed Grantham Town, Wycombe Wanderers, Norwich City, Leicester City, Celtic. Aston Villa and Sunderland. He guided Leicester City to the Football League Cup final three times, in which he was twice victorious, in 1997 and 2000. In his time as Celtic manager between 2000 and 2005, he led the club to three Scottish Premier League titles and the 2003 UEFA Cup Final in Seville.
Early life and Gaelic football career
O'Neill was born in Kilrea in 1952. He was the sixth child of nine siblings, and has four brothers and four sisters. O'Neill's father was a founding member of local GAA club Pádraig Pearse's Kilrea. His brothers Gerry and Leo played for the club as well as being on the Derry senior team which won the 1958 Ulster Championship and reached that year's All-Ireland Championship final. He played for both Kilrea and Derry at underage level as well. He also played Gaelic football while boarding at St. Columb's College, Derry, and later at St. Malachy's College, Belfast.
While at St. Malachy's, he first came to public attention as a football player with local side Rosario and then eventually with Distillery. This breached the Gaelic Athletic Association prohibition on Gaelic footballers playing "foreign sports". When St. Malachy's reached the 1970 MacRory Cup final, the Antrim GAA County Board refused to allow the game to go ahead at Belfast's Casement Park. The colleges involved switched the venue to County Tyrone to enable him to play. St. Malachy's won the game.
|This section requires expansion. (December 2011)|
Before playing for Distillery in the Irish League, O'Neill played for the South Belfast side Rosario. Now he also has a conference room dedicated to him in Rosario Football Club's local Youth Club. While at Distillery, he won the Irish Cup in 1971, scoring twice in the final. He also scored against FC Barcelona in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in a 3–1 home defeat in September 1971. During this period he was spotted by a scout for Nottingham Forest. He signed for Nottingham Forest in 1971, leaving Distillery and quitting his studies in law at the Queen's University of Belfast.
O'Neill went on to play an integral role in Forest's golden era. Although they were relegated from the First Division in 1972, the appointment of Brian Clough as manager in January 1975 was the beginning of a revolution. Under Clough's management, O'Neill helped Forest gain promotion to the top flight in 1977, won the league title and League Cup a year later, followed by further League Cup success a year later. He was dropped for Forest's first European Cup victory in 1979 after failing to fully recover from an injury, but he played in their 1980 victory.
At club level he also played for Norwich City, Manchester City and Notts County. O'Neill attempted to make a comeback in 1984 with Chesterfield, but only played part of a reserve game before being forced off with a knee injury after 20 minutes. This was made in an attempt to get fit for Northern Ireland's 1986 World Cup squad. He joined Fulham after leaving Chesterfield, he retired in February 1987.
O'Neill was a regular for Northern Ireland, captaining the side at the 1982 World Cup in Spain which reached the quarter-finals and included defeating the host nation in Valencia. He played 64 times and scored eight goals for Northern Ireland between 1971 and 1984. He also won the British Home Championship twice as a player, in 1980 and 1984.
He became manager of Wycombe Wanderers in February 1990. He played in the Martin O'Neill XI side, along with George Best, in the last match to be played at Loakes Park. In the 1990–91 season, he took Wycombe to fifth in the Football Conference. In the 1991–92 season, he led Wycombe to 2nd place in the Conference, losing out to Colchester United only on goal difference. The following season, he took Wycombe into the Football League for the very first time. In the 1993–94 season, he took Wycombe to a second successive promotion via the Division 3 play-offs and a 4–2 win over Preston North End took them up into Division 2. In the 1994–95 season, Wycombe narrowly missed out on the Division 2 play-offs and he left the club on 13 June 1995 to become manager at Norwich City. O'Neill also won the FA Trophy with Wycombe in 1991 and 1993.
As of December 2012, he remains as Wycombe's most successful manager in their history.
O'Neill became manager of Norwich City in June 1995, and left the club in December, due to differences with club chairman Robert Chase over the potential signing of striker Dean Windass, during his first stint at Hull City for £750,000.
O'Neill joined Leicester City, immediately after leaving Norwich City. They won the Football League Cup under him in 1997, and 2000, as well as reaching the 1999 final of the competition. They finished ninth in the Premiership in 1997, tenth in 1998 and 1999, and eighth in 2000. The two League Cup triumphs saw them qualify for the UEFA Cup each time.
He is considered by Leicester fans to be their most successful manager of all time.
In October 1998, he was favourite to take over the manager’s job at Leeds United. George Graham, who had just quit Leeds, brought his Spurs team to Filbert Street for his first game in charge. Leicester Mercury organised a protest and printed thousands of “Don’t Go Martin” posters, which were held up by fans throughout the game, which Leicester won. Thousands of balloons were also released. O’Neill remained as Leicester manager until his contract expired.
O'Neill left Leicester on 1 June 2000, taking over from the team of John Barnes and Kenny Dalglish to become manager of Celtic, who had finished runners-up to Old Firm rivals Rangers in both of their previous seasons; in the season just gone, they had finished 21 points behind the champions.
O'Neill's first Old Firm game, in late August 2000, ended in a 6–2 victory for Celtic over Rangers, their biggest victory over their rivals in forty-three years. His second old firm game though was a five-one defeat.
In that first season, O'Neill won a domestic treble with Celtic, the first time this had been achieved since 1968 .He then retained the league title another first since 1982 the next season and became the first Celtic manager to take the team into the revamped Champions League (a feat he managed three times) although with no away wins at the group stage, a run that was to continue at Celtic until 2012. He guided Celtic to the 2003 UEFA Cup Final in Seville, which Celtic lost 3–2 in extra time to a Porto side managed by José Mourinho. This was Celtic's first European final since 1970 and they beat Liverpool, Blackburn, Celta Vigo and Stuttgart on the way to the final. 80,000 Celtic fans travelled to Seville. The following season Celtic retained the league title from rivals Rangers and reached the quarter finals of the Uefa Cup, including a victory against Barcelona. In his five seasons at Celtic Park, O'Neill won three League titles, three Scottish Cups, and a League Cup. The two league titles he lost were by margins of a point and a goal. He also oversaw a record 7 consecutive victories in Old Firm derbies, and in season 2003–04 Celtic created a British record of 25 consecutive league victories.
On 25 May 2005, Celtic announced that O'Neill was resigning as manager at the end of the 2004–05 season to care for his wife Geraldine, who had lymphoma. His last competitive game in charge of Celtic was the Scottish Cup final 1–0 victory over Dundee United on 28 May 2005, decided by an eleventh minute goal by Alan Thompson. Under O'Neill, Celtic won 213, drew 29 and lost 40, of 282 games played, and he was the most successful Celtic manager since Jock Stein.
Leeds United contract
Revelations in Peter Ridsdale's book 'United We Fall', later confirmed by O'Neill, have shown that he signed a conditional agreement with Ridsdale in January 2003, to leave Celtic and become Leeds United manager. This deal subsequently fell through on the departure of Ridsdale from Leeds, one of the conditions for the deal, and the failure of Ridsdale to remove Terry Venables as manager. O'Neill has since hit out at Ridsdale, describing the agreement as 'full of conditions that hadn't been true' and blaming Celtic's failure to offer a new contract as his reason for the deal.
O'Neill was introduced as the Aston Villa manager at a press conference on 4 August 2006. At the press conference he stated "It's absolutely fantastic to be back and with a club such as this. This is a fantastic challenge. I am well aware of the history of this football club. Trying to restore it to its days of former glory seems a long way away – but why not try? It is nearly 25 years since they won the European Cup but that is the dream."
Villa had the year's longest unbeaten start of any Premier League side in 2006–07 (9 games), not losing a league game until 28 October. Villa suffered a mid-season slump but recovered late in the season, winning their three away games in April, to end the season how it began with a run of 9 unbeaten fixtures. For this O'Neill scooped the Barclays Manager of the Month for April. Villa's final points tally was 50, an improvement of 8 over the previous season and finished 11th, 5 places higher than the previous season.
Aston Villa's owner Randy Lerner said that he would not stop O'Neill from leaving Villa if offered the job of England manager, because he respects that it is a very prestigious position. O'Neill later dismissed the reports, calling them "unfair speculation".
Aston Villa just missed out on a UEFA Cup spot on the final day of the 2007–08 season and qualified for the Intertoto Cup by finishing 6th. They scored 71 goals, (their best ever tally in the Premier League and best tally since winning the title in 1981), gained 60 points which was Villa's highest points tally since 1996–97, and were the third highest goalscorers. After 25 games of the 2008–09 season the club were third in the table on 51 points, 2 points above Chelsea on level games and 7 points above Arsenal in 5th place and on course for a place in the Champions League for the first time since 1983. O'Neill then decided to prioritise Champions League qualification above all else, fielding a virtual reserve side for a UEFA Cup game against CSKA Moscow which was subsequently lost. Following this, Villa failed to win any of the next 10 league games and improving form for Arsenal & Chelsea meant that Villa failed to reach the top 4.
At the start of the 2009–10 season Villa failed to qualify for the group stage of the newly named Europa League, but continued their progress in the league with wins against Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. Arsenal defeated Villa 3–0 at Emirates Stadium, and drew at home.
Once again Villa finished 6th for the 3rd season running, and once again improved their points tally finishing with 64 points; their poor home form (they drew 8 times at home) denied them a chance to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
Following the departure of Rafael Benitez from Liverpool in June 2010, Martin O'Neill was thought to be one of the main candidates for the manager's job at Anfield, but former Fulham boss Roy Hodgson was ultimately appointed as Benitez's successor.
On 9 August 2010, O'Neill resigned as manager of Aston Villa with immediate effect. On his departure O'Neill said "I have enjoyed my time at Aston Villa immensely. It's obviously a wrench to be leaving such a magnificent club." O'Neill was reportedly unhappy about the funds available for transfers, but his departure just five days before the start of the new season still came as a shock to the club and its players. Lerner issued a statement two days later saying he and O'Neill "no longer shared a common view as to how to move forward, but the two remain good friends."
On 3 December 2011, O'Neill signed a three-year contract with the Premier League club Sunderland, the team he had supported as a boy. In O'Neill's first game in charge Sunderland came from 1–0 down to beat Blackburn Rovers 2–1 at the Stadium of Light. Under O'Neill, Sunderland began to improve dramatically with four wins from his first six games, including one over league leaders Manchester City. The Daily Telegraph commented that Sunderland could make a late challenge for a European place if they kept their performances up. Sunderland continued to perform well in the first few months under O'Neill. They rose to ninth in the league and continued their challenge for a Europa League spot. On 18 February, they beat Arsenal 2–0 to knock them out of the FA Cup fifth round. A week after this they lost 4–0 to West Bromwich Albion. The next week was O'Neill's first Tyne–Wear derby. The 'fiercely contested' match finished 1–1 with two red cards for Sunderland. The following week Sunderland defeated Liverpool 1–0 at the Stadium Of Light. Sunderland's form petered out at the end of the season and after no wins in the last 8 games but they finished a respectable 13th place, a position Sunderland fans would've been happy with after the start to the season.
The following season, O'Neill had bought Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson in an attempt to build on his previous 13th place and push on for the top 10. He claimed a solid 0-0 draw at the Emirates against Arsenal in the first game of the season. Sunderland went unbeaten for the first five games before a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City. They then claimed a 1-1 draw in O'Neill's first Tyne-Wear derby at the Stadium of Light thanks to a late Demba Ba own goal. Sunderland then suffered a surprising 0-1 home defeat to Aston Villa and a 1-0 defeat to Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup. After a 2-4 home defeat to West Brom, rumours circulated that O'Neill had resigned. These were all quashed quickly and O'Neill continued despite slipping into the relegation zone following a 1-3 home to Chelsea. Sunderland's form started to improve over the winter as they climbed the table following an impressive run of results including another 1-0 success over Manchester City and a 2-3 success over Wigan as they reached a season high of 11th. However, this proved to be O'Neill's last victory as Sunderland endured a run of 8 games without a win.
Martin O'Neill was sacked by Sunderland on 30 March 2013 following a 1-0 defeat by Manchester United which left the team one point above the Premier League relegation zone with seven games left to play in the season. Sunderland had failed to secure victory in the eight matches leading up to O'Neill's departure, winning only three points out of a possible 24 during that spell.
O'Neill and his wife Geraldine have two daughters. When he was a boy he supported Sunderland and Celtic. His favourite player was Sunderland's captain and centre half Charlie Hurley, who eventually won Sunderland's Man of the Century award in 1979.
Scores and results list Northern Ireland's goal tally first.
|1||28 March 1973||Coventry||Portugal||1–0||1–1||1974 World Cup qualification|
|2||16 May 1973||Glasgow||Scotland||1–0||2–1||1973 British Home Championship|
|3||30 October 1974||Stockholm||Sweden||2–0||2–0||Euro 1976 qualifying|
|4||13 May 1978||Glasgow||Scotland||1–1||1–1||1978 British Home Championship|
|5||11 June 1980||Sydney||Australia||2–0||2–1||Friendly match|
|6||15 June 1980||Melbourne||Australia||1–1||1–1||Friendly match|
|7||30 March 1983||Belfast||Turkey||2–0||2–1||Euro 1984 qualifying|
|8||21 September 1983||Belfast||Austria||3–1||3–1||Euro 1984 qualifying|
- Distillery (1971)
- Irish Cup (1): 1970-71
- Nottingham Forest (1971-1981)
- Football League First Division (1): 1977-78
- Football League Cup (2): 1977-78, 1978-79
- Charity Shield (1): 1978
- European Cup (2): 1978-79, 1979-80
- European Super Cup (1): 1980
- Anglo-Scottish Cup (1): 1977
- Northern Ireland
- Wycombe Wanderers (1990-1995)
- Football Conference (1): 1992–93
- FA Trophy (2): 1990-91, 1992-93
- Football League Third Division Play–Offs (1): 1993-94
- Leicester City (1995-2000)
- Celtic (2000-2005)
- Scottish Premier League (3): 2000–01, 2001–02, 2003–04
- Scottish Cup (3): 2000-01, 2003-04, 2004-05
- Scottish League Cup (1): 2000–01
Awards and achievements
- Premier League Manager of the Month (8): September 1997, October 1998, November 1999, April 2007, November 2007, December 2008, April 2010, December 2011
- SPL Manager of the Month (9): August 2000, December 2000, February 2001, August 2001, April 2002, November 2002, October 2003, November 2003, January 2005,
- SFWA Manager of the Year (3): 2000–01, 2001–02, 2003–04
- As of 30 March 2013.
|Wycombe Wanderers||7 February 1990||13 June 1995||112||52||32||28||46.43|
|Norwich City||13 June 1995||17 December 1995||20||9||7||4||45.00|
|Leicester City||21 December 1995||1 June 2000||223||85||68||70||38.12|
|Celtic||1 June 2000||31 May 2005||282||213||29||40||75.53|
|Aston Villa||5 August 2006||9 August 2010||190||80||60||50||42.11|
|Sunderland||3 December 2011||30 March 2013||66||21||20||25||31.82|
- "Order of the British Empire: K-Z". BBC News. 31 December 2003. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
- Said by O'Neill during lecture on theme of "What it means to be Irish", part of the Ireland Of Tomorrow – A Presidential Lecture Series (first broadcast on RTÉ Radio on 31 December 2008).
- "Wycombe Wanderers". Football Club History Database. Richard Rundle. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
- Metcalf, Rupert (10 May 1993). "Football: Prize at a price for Wycombe: Rupert Metcalf reports on the non-League history-makers with much to ponder after a victorious visit to Wembley". Independent.co.uk. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- "O'Neill returns to Norwich". Independent.co.uk (London). 14 June 1995. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- Haylett, Trevor (18 December 1995). "O'Neill's sudden resignation stuns Norwich". Independent.co.uk (London). Retrieved 17 August 2009.
- Moore, Glenn (7 April 1997). "Football: Heskey levels at the last to deflate Juninho". Independent.co.uk (London). Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- Moore, Glenn (17 April 1997). "Claridge's five-star silver service". Independent.co.uk (London). Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- "Leicester triumph at Wembley". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 27 February 2000. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- "Sport: Football – Nielsen nicks it for Spurs". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 22 March 1999. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- "O'Neill to stay with Leicester". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 25 October 1998. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- "Celtic win O'Neill tussle". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 1 June 2000. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- Sky Sports http://www.skysports.com/interactive/top_tens_story/0,25722,15881_5595879,00.html
|url=missing title (help).
- "Porto end Celtic's Uefa dream". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 21 May 2003. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- Smyth, Rob; Ashdown, John (11 March 2009). "Have Manchester United just set a record for consecutive league wins?". London: www.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 14 January 2011.
- "O'Neill leaves Bhoys with Cup win". BBC Sport (British Broadcasting Corporation). 28 May 2005. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
- "O'Neill admits to Leeds agreement". BBC Sport. 3 November 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2007.
- "Carling Cup final preview". www.skysports.com. 28 February 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
- "Premier League Manager of the Month Awards from August 1993 to December 2010". www.myfootballfacts.com. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
- "O'Neill dismisses "unfair speculation"". Eurosport. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2007.
- "2007-2008 English Premier League Table". soccernet.espn.go.com.com. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
- "Villa 'reserves' crash out to CSKA Moscow". CNN. 29 February 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2009.
- "Arsenal 3 - 0 Aston Villa". BBC Sport. 27 December 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
- Winter, Henry (1 March 2010). "Aston Villa 1 Manchester United 2: Carling Cup final match report". London: www.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
- "Martin O'Neill is bookies' favourite for Liverpool job as Rafa Benitez's Anfield reign ends". Daily Record. 3 June 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
- "Roy Hodgson leaves Fulham to become Liverpool manager". BBC Sport. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "Club Statement". Aston Villa. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
- "Martin O'Neill resigns as Aston Villa manager". BBC Sport. 9 August 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
- James, Stuart (9 August 2010). "Martin O'Neill quits as Aston Villa manager after transfer funds row". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
- James, Stuart (11 August 2010). "Aston Villa's Randy Lerner breaks silence over Martin O'Neill exit". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
- "Sunderland appoint Martin O'Neill". Sunderland A.F.C. 3 December 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2011.
- Edwards, Luke (3 January 2012). "Sunderland's remarkable turnaround under Martin O’Neill continues apace with Wigan rout". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- "West Brom 4-0 Sunderland". BBC Sport. 25 February 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
- Edwards, Luke (4 March 2012). "Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill accuses Newcastle counterpart Alan Pardew of influencing the referee". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- "Relegation threatened Sunderland sack manager Martin O'Neill". BBC Sport. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- "The club has parted company with manager Martin O'Neill". Sunderland Association Football Club. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
- Kehoe, Ian (30 May 2004). "Bhoy wonder". The Sunday Business Post. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
- "O'Neill becomes OBE". BBC Sport. 31 December 2003. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
- "Martin O'Neils' managerial career". Racing Post. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Martin O'Neill|
- Martin O'Neill management career stats at Soccerbase
- Martin O'Neill BBC Sport, 14 May 2002
- Grantham Town profile
- Martin O'Neill Flown From The Nest
- Martin O'Neill - Nottingham Forest FC 1971-1981 football-heroes.net