Tuesday 17 September 2019

O'Neill agrees new deal

But Irish boss has not signed the contract or discussed terms

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Photo: Sportsfile
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Photo: Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Martin O'Neill has verbally agreed to stay on as Ireland manager for the Euro 2020 campaign but has yet to discuss the terms and conditions with the FAI.

On the eve of tonight's World Cup qualifier with Moldova, the association announced that O'Neill was sticking around for a third campaign in charge regardless of whether Ireland make it to Russia or not.

Assistant Roy Keane and the rest of the back-room staff are willing to remain with a view to qualifying for a competition that will be partially staged in Dublin.

However, the deal has only been agreed in principle and it's understood that O'Neill has yet to sit down and talk money and the finer points of the contract with his employers. His current deal is believed to be worth in the region of €1m a year plus bonuses.

That is similar to the contract announcement before Euro 2016 which was not signed and sealed when the initial release went out. The formalities were only completed later in the year with the manager relaxed by the wait.

Following the same strategy leaves open the possibility of an awkward debate if Ireland perform poorly in the double-header with Moldova and Wales and miss out on a World Cup play-off.

Speaking in the hours before the surprise announcement by the FAI, O'Neill pointed to the success of the previous campaign and attendances at the Aviva Stadium as evidence that the public are on board with what the current regime are doing.

"We've qualified for a competition (Euro 2016), that's one out of one so far," said O'Neill, "Season tickets have gone from 4,000 to 16,000. There's some evidence we're doing OK."

O'Neill said Ireland's co-hosting of the 2020 tournament, which means they would play twice in Dublin if they qualify, was a factor in a desire to stay.

"I've enjoyed (the job) immensely. International football was something that I didn't know whether you'd get used to or not but obviously qualification for the Euros made it all worthwhile - and we're still in this competition also.

"With some younger players coming through, taking over from the old guard who will retire naturally through old age as much as anything else.

"I must admit that with the Euros and the possibility of games in Dublin, there are exciting times ahead."

Irish Independent

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