Michael O'Connor (footballer, born 1987)
|Full name||Michael Joseph O'Connor|
|Date of birth||6 October 1987|
|Place of birth||Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|2009||→ Lincoln City (loan)||10||(1)|
|Northern Ireland U15||7||(0)|
|Northern Ireland U17||13||(6)|
|Northern Ireland U18||1||(0)|
|Northern Ireland U19||10||(0)|
|2007–2008||Northern Ireland U21||3||(2)|
|2009||Northern Ireland B||1||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 00:00, 9 May 2017 (UTC).
He began his professional career at Crewe Alexandra in 2005, and soon established himself as a first team regular. He was loaned out to Lincoln City in March 2009, and was sold to Scunthorpe United in July 2009 for a £250,000 fee. He spent three seasons with the "Iron", two of which were in the Championship, before he was allowed to sign with Rotherham United in May 2012. He helped the "Millers" to win two consecutive promotions, coming out of League Two as runners-up in 2012–13, and then winning the League One play-off final in 2014. He signed with Port Vale in July 2014, and went on to be named the club's Player of the Year in 2014–15. He signed with Notts County in June 2016.
He was one of several Northern Irish footballers involved in a dispute between the IFA and the FAI concerning international eligibility. Having initially represented Northern Ireland up to under-21 level, O'Connor was persuaded to switch to the Republic of Ireland's under-21 squad for a brief period. However, he subsequently decided to revert permanently to Northern Ireland, to whom he became irrevocably committed.
- 1 Club career
- 2 International career
- 3 Style of play
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Career statistics
- 6 Honours
- 7 References
- 8 External links
O'Connor was spotted by Crewe Alexandra scouts as a young teenager playing youth football in Northern Ireland. In 2004, shortly after he turned 16, he signed scholarship terms. He was a prominent member of the Alexandra youth team that reached the semi-final of the 2004 FA Youth Cup and he later captained the side. In July 2005 he signed a three-year professional contract. On 25 February 2006, aged 18, he made his Championship debut at Gresty Road when he came on as a late substitute for Gareth Taylor in a 2–1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion. He made his second senior appearance for the "Railwaymen" in the club's final game of the 2005–06 season against Millwall on 30 April 2006, replacing Lee Bell at half-time he went on to set up two goals and hit the post with his one shot.
He began the 2006–07 season as a regular first team player for Crewe, now in League One, under manager Dario Gradi. He scored his first senior goal on 22 August, in the League Cup, with a "fierce shot" from 18-yards in a 3–0 victory over Grimsby Town. In all he made 34 appearances during the campaign.
O'Connor was not a regular first team player under new boss Steve Holland in the first half of the 2007–08 campaign, but won back his first team spot in the second half of the season. He was named in the League One 'Team of the Week' in March 2008 for his performance in a 3–0 win over Gillingham.
After scoring his first league goal for the club on 13 September 2008 in a 2–0 victory over Colchester United, he went on to score in the next two games against Southend United and then against Liverpool in a 2–1 League Cup defeat at Anfield. However, he fell out of favour at Crewe under manager Guðjón Þórðarson after committing "breaches of discipline". O'Connor joined Peter Jackson's League Two side Lincoln City on a one-month emergency loan on 6 March 2009, a day before a Lincolnshire derby against Grimsby, as a short-term replacement for Lee Frecklington. O'Connor returned from Sincil Bank on 18 April after he was suspended for picking up 10 yellow cards that season, and subsequently trained with Scottish Premier League club Hibernian.
In July 2009, Crewe accepted an undisclosed offer (later revealed to be £250,000) for O'Connor from Scunthorpe United, and he signed a three-year contract with the club. He went on to make 36 appearances for Scunthorpe in the 2009–10 campaign, helping Nigel Adkins's "Iron" to finish above the Championship relegation zone.
Scunthorpe struggled in the 2010–11 season following Atkins's departure, and Ian Baraclough and then Alan Knill failed to keep the club outside the relegation places. This was despite O'Connor significantly improving his goal tally, hitting nine goals in his 36 appearances. Premier League clubs West Ham United and Newcastle United were linked with O'Connor during the January transfer window, but Baraclough confirmed that no formal approaches were made. In the summer the club rejected an undisclosed bid from Peterborough United.
He played 36 games at Glanford Park in the 2011–12 season as Scunthorpe laboured to a mid-table finish in League One. He was subject to an offer by Hibernian in January 2012, but remained in England. He was released by the club in May 2012.
O'Connor signed a two-year contract with Rotherham United in May 2012. He made his "Millers" debut on 18 August 2012, in a 3–0 win over Burton Albion at the New York Stadium. He scored his first goal for the club in 4–0 win over Bradford City on 1 September. He scored again the following week in a 6–2 defeat to Port Vale. On 29 September, he scored twice in a 3–1 win against Oxford United. In all he scored six goal in 40 appearances as he helped Steve Evans's side win promotion out of League Two.
He made 34 appearances in the 2013–14 campaign, helping the club to reach the League One play-off final. He was an unused substitute at Wembley Stadium as Rotherham secured promotion with a penalty shoot-out victory against Leyton Orient. He was released by the club in May 2014.
O'Connor signed a one-year contract with League One club Port Vale in July 2014. He scored his first goal for the club on 26 August, hitting the net from 40-yards out in a 3–2 League Cup defeat to Cardiff City at Vale Park; this was one of the longest distance goals ever scored by a Vale player, and won him the club's Goal of the Season award. Despite this effort the local newspaper reported that generally throughout the campaign "his contribution is industrious and effective without grabbing the headlines". At the end of the 2014–15 season he was named as the club's Player of the Year, and also won the Supporters' Club's Trophy and was voted Players' Player of the Year. He signed a new contract with the club in June 2015.
He picked up a knee injury in 2015–16 pre-season training, and had to wait until October before returning to match fitness. He then lost his first team place in the new year due to a thigh strain. He retained his first team place in the second half of the season, but stated that concerns over his contract running down and the daily commute from his Lincolnshire home were becoming a strain, and that he would consider offers from more local clubs in the summer. He confirmed that he had rejected the offer of a new contract from the club in May 2016.
O'Connor signed a two-year contract with League Two side Notts County in June 2016. He was named as club captain by manager John Sheridan. The "Magpies" struggled in the first half of the 2016–17 season, but new manager Kevin Nolan said O'Connor had been "pivotal in the turnaround" in the club's form alongside midfield partner Robert Milsom.
O'Connor was a regular captain for Northern Ireland at every youth level up to under-20 and scored six goals at under-17 level. However O'Connor was called up to play for the Republic of Ireland under-21s for a friendly against Luxembourg in October 2006. He subsequently had to withdraw from the squad. In February 2007 he was also selected for the Republic under-21 squad to play in the Madeira Cup, but did not play in any of the three games involved. On 16 November 2007 he made his debut for the Northern Ireland under-21s, scoring in a 5–0 win against Luxembourg. On 20 November he scored again for the under-21s in a 3–0 win against Moldova. On 6 February 2008 he also played against Israel.
On 26 March 2008, O'Connor made his senior international debut for Northern Ireland in a 4–1 win against Georgia in friendly at Windsor Park; he came on as half-time substitute for Damien Johnson. Michael Gault also made his international debut in the same match.
He returned to the international scene after a three-year absence on 10 September 2013, when he featured in a 3–2 defeat to Luxembourg in a World Cup qualification game at Stade Josy Barthel. However, after missing out on the squad selected in March 2015 he said that he was considering his international future.
Style of play
Speaking in July 2014, Crewe Alexandra and Port Vale teammate Tom Pope described O'Connor as "[having] everything. He’s got the range of passing, he sits in there and gets the ball moving and he gets stuck in. He whips a great ball in, has great free kicks and a lot of quality." He describes himself as a "passionate" player, though this has resulted in a number of yellow cards for dissent. Port Vale assistant manager Paul Bodin also praised O'Connor's set piece delivery and energy levels.
While on Northern Ireland under-21 international duty in December 2007, O'Connor was one of a number of players investigated by Irish Football Association for his involvement in an alleged sex tape that was published on YouTube.
- As of 14 May 2017.
|Club||Season||Division||League||FA Cup||EFL Cup||Other||Total|
|Lincoln City (loan)||2008–09||League Two||10||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||10||1|
|Rotherham United||2012–13||League Two||35||6||4||0||0||0||1[a]||0||40||6|
|Port Vale||2014–15||League One||44||6||1||0||2||1||0||0||47||7|
|Notts County||2016–17||EFL League Two||32||2||2||0||0||0||0||0||34||2|
- Appearance/s in the EFL Trophy.
- Appearance/s in the play-offs.
|Northern Ireland national team|
International goals and caps
Northern Ireland's goal tally first.
|International appearances and goals|
|1||26 March||Windsor Park, Belfast||Georgia||4–1||Friendly||0|
|2||20 August||Hampden Park, Glasgow||Scotland||0–0||Friendly||0|
|3||10 September||Windsor Park, Belfast||Czech Republic||0–0||FIFA World Cup qualification||0|
|4||15 October||Windsor Park, Belfast||San Marino||4–0||FIFA World Cup qualification||0|
|5||19 November||Windsor Park, Belfast||Hungary||0–2||Friendly||0|
|6||6 June||Stadio Romeo Anconetani, Pisa||Italy||0–3||Friendly||0|
|7||14 October||Generali Arena, Prague||Czech Republic||0–0||FIFA World Cup qualification||0|
|8||14 November||Windsor Park, Belfast||Serbia||0–1||Friendly||0|
|9||3 March||Qemal Stafa Stadium, Tirana||Albania||0–1||Friendly||0|
|10||17 November||Windsor Park, Belfast||Morocco||1–1||Friendly||0|
|11||10 September||Stade Josy Barthel, Luxembourg||Luxembourg||2–3||FIFA World Cup qualification||0|
- with Rotherham United
- "Michael O'Connor". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- Finn, Stephen (18 October 2006). "Wilson aiming to come of age". Independent. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- FAI responds over NI defections BBC Sport, 25 October 2006
- Ferguson, Paul. I can be Northern Ireland's perfect middleman, says O’Connor Belfast Telegraph, 9 October 2008
- Mixu ponders Hibs bid for Crewe star O'Connor Scotsman.com, 24 April 2009
- Vignes, Spencer (26 February 2006). "Bell tolls for Brighton". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Crewe 4-2 Millwall". BBC Sport. 30 April 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Grimsby 0-3 Crewe". BBC Sport. 23 August 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Team of the Week" (PDF). football-league.co.uk. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Crewe 2-0 Colchester". BBC Sport. 13 September 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Crewe 3-4 Southend". BBC Sport. 20 September 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Liverpool 2-1 Crewe". BBC Sport. 23 September 2008. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Crewe manager demands discipline". BBC Sport. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Crewe's O'Connor put up for loan". BBC Sport. 4 March 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Midfielder O'Connor joins Lincoln". BBC Sport. 6 March 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "O'Connor returns from Imps loan". BBC Sport. 15 April 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "O'Connor set for Scunthorpe move". BBC Sport. 3 July 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Iron sign up O'Connor and Wright". BBC Sport. 6 July 2009. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "No bids for O'Connor - Scunthorpe United boss". BBC Sport. 9 December 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Scunthorpe United reject Peterborough bid for O'Connor". BBC Sport. 6 July 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Hibs bid for Scunthorpe United midfielder Michael O'Connor". BBC Sport. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Cliff Byrne 'gutted' by Scunthorpe United departure". BBC Sport. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
- Rotherham sign midfielder Michael O'Connor BBC Sport, 30 May 2012
- "Rotherham 3–0 Burton Albion" BBC Sport. 18 August 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- "Rotherham 4–0 Bradford" BBC Sport. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- "Port Vale 6–2 Rotherham" BBC Sport. 8 September 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
- "Rotherham 3–1 Oxford" BBC Sport. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2012.
- Maiden, Phil (25 May 2014). "Leyton Orient 2 - 2 Rotherham". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Rotherham United: Michael O'Connor heads released list". BBC Sport. 28 May 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Michael Brown, Steve Jennings & Michael O'Connor join Port Vale". BBC Sport. 18 July 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "'That wun were motoring' - Where does Michael O'Connor's belter stand in Vale history?". The Sentinel. 30 August 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
- Baggaley, Mike (3 May 2015). "Michael O'Connor dominates Vale's awards night". The Sentinel. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
- Baggaley, Mike (8 February 2015). "Port Vale 2-2 Bradford: Why this player was Mike Baggaley's star man". The Sentinel. Retrieved 9 February 2015.
- "Port Vale: Michael O'Connor agrees new deal at Vale Park". BBC Sport. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
- Baggaley, Mike (8 October 2015). "He's back! Michael O'Connor to return for Southend game". The Sentinel. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
- Baggaley, Mike (29 February 2016). "Michael O'Connor determined to put personal frustration behind him". The Sentinel. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
- "Michael O'Connor: Port Vale midfielder uncertain of future in Potteries". BBC Sport. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- Baggaley, Michael (27 May 2016). "Michael O'Connor reveals he is leaving Valiants". The Sentinel. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
- "Notts County sign Northern Ireland international Michael O'Connor from Port Vale". Nottingham Post. 29 June 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
- Richardson, Nick (5 August 2016). "John Sheridan has appointed Michael O'Connor as Notts County's new club captain". nottscountyfc.co.uk. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- Curtis, Leigh (1 March 2017). "Notts County captain Michael O'Connor is 'kicking himself' after picking up suspension". Nottingham Post. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
- O'Connor named in NI U21 panel BBC Sport, 7 November 2007
- Michael O'Connor UEFA.com
- Changes to under 21 team SoccerScene.ie
- NI U21 5–0 Luxembourg U21 BBC Sport, 16 November 2007
- N Ireland U21 3–0 Moldova U21 BBC Sport, 20 November 2007
- Srur strike revives Israel hopes UEFA.com, 6 February 2008
- Alvin McCaig (25 March 2008). "Northern Ireland 4-1 Georgia". BBC Sport. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
- Winrow, Ian (11 September 2008). "Northern Irish keep the home fires burning for Worthington". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
- Duncan, Colin (7 May 2009). "Scotland B 3 Northern Ireland B 0". Daily Record. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- McCaig, Alvin (10 September 2013). "Luxembourg 3 - 2 Northern Ireland". BBC Sport. Retrieved 19 July 2014.
- "Michael O'Connor may retire from international football with Northern Ireland". The Sentinel. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
- Baggaley, Mike (15 July 2014). "Tom Pope says Michael O'Connor deal would be great for Port Vale". The Sentinel. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "Michael O'Connor determined to keep his temper on the pitch". The Sentinel. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
- Sharpe, Rich (4 April 2016). "Port Vale: Assistant boss Paul Bodin hopeful Michael O’Connor will be fit to face Crewe Alexandra". The Sentinel. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
- Morse, Peter (12 December 2007). "Footballer under investigation". Crewe Chronicle. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "Games played by Michael O'Connor in 2008/2009". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by Michael O'Connor in 2005/2006". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by Michael O'Connor in 2006/2007". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by Michael O'Connor in 2007/2008". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by Michael O'Connor in 2009/2010". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by Michael O'Connor in 2010/2011". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by Michael O'Connor in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by Michael O'Connor in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by Michael O'Connor in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by Michael O'Connor in 2014/2015". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by Michael O'Connor in 2015/2016". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Games played by Michael O'Connor in 2016/2017". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
- "Michael O'Connor". National Football Teams. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
- Baggaley, Mike (3 May 2015). "Michael O'Connor dominates Vale's awards night". The Sentinel. Retrieved 5 May 2015.