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Martin O'Neill Looks Set To Be Here For The Long Haul

Martin O'Neill Looks Set To Be Here For The Long Haul
By Conor O'Leary
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Just nine days ago, in what seemed to be a badly kept secret when the bookies closed the market, Martin O'Neill was set to become the next Leicester City manager.

Time went by without any word from O'Neill, and then Claudio Ranieri was announced as the main Leicester had brought to the Walker stadium.

While the world was in the midst of declaring the return of O'Neill to the foxes, the man himself was in Abbotstown, casting his eye over the new facilities at the future home of Irish football.

It was at that moment that he decided he wanted to stay on - and that he wanted to be here for the long haul. The story from the Sunday Times goes that it was here that he told John Delaney that he was rejecting Leicester and wanted to guide the Irish team through the next World Cup qualifying campaign and maybe beyond.

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O'Neill admits that he may have mislead the public about the expectations that the FAI had set for him at the start of his tenure, and that there was no obligation for the Irish team to qualify for their second consecutive Euros. In fact, O'Neill says that Delaney didn't want to put that pressure on. O'Neill however wants to set the bar high.

No member of the FAI has ever said to me that was the case. In fact, John was quite the opposite by saying ‘I don’t think you should put that pressure on yourself.

Hopefully, during the course of my couple of years here and during my time I have been relatively steadfast in things that I say, but you will allow me a bit of poetic licence. And the consequences were never made clear to me by John. In fact, John wanted me at the time to commit to a longer time.

Why did he set such a lofty task for himself? Easy says O'Neill:

Because I wanted to. That is the nature of any particular job I step into. I want to win from day one.

O'Neill is someone who prides himself from honoured is contracts, which perhaps gives another explanation why he rejected Leicester's flirtations.

I left a contract as manager at Norwich way back. The chairman and I did not get on at all which was more personal than anything else. And I didn’t feel the better for it for a while.

Whatever the case, less than ten days after what seemed to be the end of O'Neill's Ireland career, we could be in for a few more years yet.

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[Sunday Times]

See Also: Martin O'Neill Breaks His Silence On Links To Leicester City Job
See Also: John Delaney Speaks About Martin O'Neill And 'Ill-Informed Critics' Of Development Policy

Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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