Kevin Kilbane on Martin O’Neill & Roy Keane’s Future
When it first came out that Mark Hughes had been sacked by Stoke, the first name mentioned seemed to be Martin O’Neill.
I think Martin would be a good fit for Stoke City. It’s still up in the air and while some people might not want him to stay, personally I would like to see him lead the Ireland team forward.
I think the FAI are in a difficult position given that they had a verbal agreement on a new contract..
..but if he was to depart, at least they have time to make a new appointment before any sort of meaningful fixture. It’s not as if it’s imperative that the managerial position needs to be filled right now. The FAI could actually take the time over a number of weeks and months and find the right person for the job. The uncertainty surrounding the situation of whether O’Neill did actually sign a new contract prior to the World Cup play-off means we’re all in the dark as there has been no statement from the manager, the FAI or Stoke City.
If Roy Keane was to stay and not follow his boss to Stoke it would be depend on the offer the FAI made him; would they give him the chance to be the main man? If did they put that on the table, it would be very difficult for him, or any Irishman, to turn down.
Overall if Roy was to get the job, it would be box office stuff!
It would fill the stadium given that we have no matches of any importance in the next year or so and it would bring a lot of interest and attention to the team. If Roy Keane was in the job, it entices sponsorship in a difficult year for the FAI with no World Cup to look forward to.
Return of McCarthy?
Aside from Roy, there is a lot of potential candidates, Mick McCarthy is one, Chris Hughton another one. McCarthy has long said he’d love to go back in and take the reins again at some time in his future managerial career; he’s the right age and has the experience to handle the role.
Chris Hughton is on that path at the moment and it’s going very well. I don’t think he’d leave Brighton at the moment as he would probably feel there’s still work to be done there. I don’t know either of their thinking on the matter but as I said, if you’re an Irishman and you’re offered the job, it’s very difficult to say no.
Looking further afield, you’re probably looking at somebody like Slaven Bilic.
He’s got Premier League experience and International experience with Croatia at big tournaments. I remember his Croatian side tearing Ireland apart during Euro 2012 but there will be certain names to come up over the next while should Martin leave and it might be a surprise should Roy follow him to Stoke.