Martin O'Neill and his backroom team including Roy Keane, will be attending the Soccer Writers Association of Ireland annual awards in Dublin tonight.
As it seems more and more likely that Quique Sanchez Flores will become the next manager of Stoke, O'Neill's appearance at the event is been taken as a sign that his flirtation with the Premier League club will go no further and he will stay on as the Republic of Ireland manager, at least for the foreseeable future.
News that Martin O'Neill, Keane and the rest of the backroom staff will be at the Soccer Writers' annual bash in Dublin this evening generally being taken by the membership as sign he is staying on. He hadn't been expected to attend until this morning.
— emmet malone (@emmetmalone) January 12, 2018
Given the possible change of plan as to O'Neill social calendar, it looks as though there was also a change of plan in his job situation. Reports this morning suggest that the imminent appointment of Sanchez Flores wasn't as a result of the Ireland manager turning down the role, but instead because he was the preferred choice of the majority of the Stoke board.
One wonders how the FAI, the press, the Irish players, and the Irish soccer public will react to the fact that we appear to be our manager's Plan B.
Should we welcome Martin O'Neill back after he almost took the Stoke job?
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) January 12, 2018
Speaking to Off The Ball on Newstalk last night, Richard Dunne suggested "it'll be a difficult one for him to come back into".
I think if he set his mind that he wants to leave and get another job, are the FAI happy to play second fiddle? I didn't get that so I will stay with you.
There will have to be some strong conversations and try to sort it out between themselves because at the moment it looks like a bit of a mess.
They need to come out and make a strong statement, either the FAI or Martin O'Neill, and sign the contract or go their separate ways and then we can start looking forward again with a manager that the players can follow and trust that he is going to be there for the long term.