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O’Neill’s track record makes him the best man for Ireland gig — Giles

The pundit believes that Martin O’Neill’s time at Sunderland was a blip in an otherwise excellent career.
Sep 12th 2013, 3:00 PM 8,532 43

JOHN GILES BELIEVES that Martin O’Neill is the stand-out candidate for the vacant role of Ireland manager.

The ex-international boss, says that every single management appointment in football is a “calculated gamble” and you can only go on their track record.

It is that category which Giles believes marks O’Neill out as the best available man to fill the job. And if he’s the man the FAI want, then Giles says he should be installed before Ireland face Germany in Cologne next month.

“I think you should only slow down if you’re not sure,” Giles said after speaking for yourclub.ie today.

“He has a great CV,” Giles adds of O’Neill. “Look what he did with Wycombe and Leicester. He did it at Villa, he did it at Celtic.

“Sunderland, you don’t know what happened at Sunderland, but you don’t suddenly become a bad manager over night.

“I think the quicker the better. The sooner you get the new man into position it gives him two matches before we go into another campaign. and the sooner the better.”

One theory behind O’Neill’s unsuccessful spell in the north-east was that he was without his regular assistant, John Robertson.

O’Neill’s ex Nottingham Forest team-mate was his number two in his impressive tenures at Leicester City, Celtic and Aston Villa, but suffered a mild heart attack last month.

Giles, however, does not believe an assistant’s influence matters much to a manager’s overall success, citing the example of a man both he and O’Neill played under.

“I’d say Martin would want him on board, but I wouldn’t always say that because somebody wasn’t there it couldn’t work. Martin was a success before.

“It can be an influence, but I remember over the years when Alex Ferguson was doing his stuff in Old Trafford; Brian Kidd was the coach and there was a general consensus that Brian Kidd was doing the work. Then [Steve] McClaren came in and [the assumption] it was McClaren doing the work.

“You don’t know the influence of the manager. There are many many aspects in that. The personality, and his strength of personality, his influence on the players is a huge part, but you don’t see that. It’s taken for granted.

“A lot of Notts forest players [when you ask them] ‘what did Clough do?’  ’Eh, not much, we only saw him now and again’. Well, he must have done something right if he was that successful. That happens in football.

“Hopefully, if Martin Comes in and he doesn’t bring John Robertson then he might know somebody else in the game who can do a job for  him.  He’s got to do the main job. The coach is a help, but the manager does the main job.”

The right stuff

As for whether O’Neill could translate his successes as a club manager to the international scene, Giles believes taking charge of a national team is an easier role than dealing with the intricacies of a club day in day out.

It’s not day to day stuff where you’re more likely to fall out with players than you would at international level. It can be easier in many ways, but if a manager is of the right stuff, I don’t think there’s any great change between international and club.”

John Giles was speaking as an ambassador for YourClub.ie. Click here to help your club set up a website and become financially self-sufficent.

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