10 December, 2011

If Rovers' O'Neill wants to progress, he should stay put:

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UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Rovers' O'Neill has much to consider
            Silence is very often the most informative element of a relationship and it is the verbal stillness between manager Michael O'Neill and the Shamrock Rovers board which hints at a deep rift between the two.  Having just enjoyed one of the greatest seasons in the history of the club, one would imagine that continuity would be the essential prerequisite but that does not necessarily appear to be the case.
            Michael has of course been linked with other jobs but I feel that for him, the sensible course of action is to stay at Rovers.  He has achieved great things but he still has much to learn.  He should stay because the opportunities and high levels of expectations at a club like Shamrock Rovers ensure that the manager is consistently tested and that type of environment provides the best education.
O'Neill celebrates progress to Europa League Group stage
              What options does O'Neill have?  The Northern Ireland job is attractive but international football requires vast experience if one is to be successful.  As well as that, the current lack of genuine talent up north makes this a very hazardous job for a comparatively inexperienced manager.  The danger is if success is not achieved - and the odds are that it won't be - then the success O'Neill has brought to Shamrock Rovers will be forgotten.
              At 42, O'Neill should stay in club football.  The day-to-day involvement accumulates enormous experience.  A job in England or Scotland would accommodate such a natural progression, but opportunities are limited, particularly in English football.
PROUD: Michael O'Neill won 33 caps
              The situation in England is in many ways bizarre.  Too many managers get sacked to protect directors.  When a team is struggling, most directors appease supporters by making the manager the scapegoat.  This cowardice is then compounded when they appoint a replacement who has done the rounds rather than injecting fresh blood into the set-up.  This means that talented Irish managers like O'Neill really struggle to break into the scene and so Scotland would appear to offer the best possibilities as Pat Fenlon's recent move to Hibernian and Paul Cook's interview at St. Johnstone suggest.
               As it is, there are only at most four or five clubs in Scotland that appear better equipped than Rovers to present a manager with genuine prospects for advancing his talents.      Michael O'Neill has much to ponder on.  He may believe that achieving even a reasonable of success for Northern Ireland would do wonders for his reputation.  Alternatively, he may feel that with a little give and take, he and Rovers could resolve their differences.  Either way, his next decision will be the most important of his managerial career.
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