Martin O'Neill had a remarkable run as a manager for over a decade during his spells at Leicester City, Celtic, and Aston Villa.
He led the former to a pair of League Cup triumphs, before winning seven major honours and reaching a European final in Glasgow. While he would not get his hands on any silverware at Villa Park, he did help the club to consecutive sixth-placed finishes in the Premier League.
It is for his spells at Leicester City and Celtic that he is most fondly remembered, with a couple of players playing under O'Neill at both clubs. Another footballer could have been added to that list, although his salary demands to move to Scotland at the time caused a bit of a stir.
Ex-Leicester man made huge Celtic demands to Martin O'Neill
Matt Elliott was a mainstay in the Leicester City team under Martin O'Neill, with many speculating that he would follow the Derry man to Celtic at the time. While he initially did not have much interest in the move, the opportunity came around once again a year later.
Speaking on the Under The Cosh podcast, he recalled how his exorbitant salary demands drew a hilarious response from O'Neill.
“Am I speaking to Zinedine f***ing Zidane” 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/JLOYcq6SXH
— UndrTheCosh (@UndrTheCosh) July 23, 2023
I thought it was going to happen. I said to my agent that if I'm going to go and relocate and everything, go big, sod it. I was 32 and it was my last contract, I thought 'go for it' and have a laugh with the figures...
I didn't know exactly what the figures had been, just that whatever it is, add a bit on...
I lived in a barn in the sticks and the signal was terrible. I went up to a local pub that was run by my brother-in-law at the time. He phoned the landline because I didn't want to miss a call.
He said to name a phone you can be there at 2:30pm, Martin [O'Neill] will phone you and don't miss the call.
I'm sat there looking at the phone and it rings at bang on 2:30pm. I thought I'd let it ring a couple of times, don't want to be too keen.
Bear in mind that the agent has gone in heavy. I picked up the phone and went 'hello', then in Martin in voice he goes 'hello there, am I speaking to Zinedine f*****g Zidane?'
I thought 's**t, the agent must have gone too heavy'. I went 'oh martin, it's not my fault'. He said 'come on Matt, you know I like you, but I don't like you that much'.
Then it didn't happen. For whatever reason, Leicester decided to give me a four-year contract at the age of 32...
I took it and Martin fell out with me. He thought I was playing one against the other, which wasn't the case. We have cleared it up now.
Elliott would not make the move to Celtic in the end, instead staying at Leicester City until his retirement from playing in 2005.
It's fair to say it took O'Neill quite some time to get over the way the transfer to Glasgow fell apart.