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Martin O'Neill to sheikh 'em up in £50k a week Saudi deal


Martin O'Neill. Photo: Getty Images

Martin O'Neill. Photo: Getty Images

Martin O'Neill. Photo: Getty Images

Billy Bingham has told Martin O’Neill to "sheikh on it" and sign up to a Middle East adventure.

The former Aston Villa and Celtic boss is close to confirming a mega-bucks deal with Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal.

A bumper £4.5m tax-free two-year contract would net the former Northern Ireland skipper up to £50,000 a week.

The Irish FA allowed Bingham to take a break from Northern Ireland commitments in the early 1980s to become manager of the Saudi Arabia national side and Al-Nassr FC, based in Riyadh.

O’Neill, who was captain of Bingham’s 1982 World Cup squad that rocked the hosts Spain, has been linked with the England and Liverpool jobs but the 12-time Saudi champions are offering a deal that is too good to refuse.

And Bingham has urged the Kilrea man to go where the money is — in this case the desert.

“They are very generous over there when you win games and he will be well looked after,” said the 79-year-old.

“It’s always an interesting challenge when you take on a job overseas, but Martin can do well.

“I thought the heat was unbearable at times, but it was still an exciting and rewarding experience for me.

“Martin will do what is best for him and his family, but I seized the chance to go and he should do likewise.”

Bingham was successful at Al-Nassr FC, where he guided the club to league and cup success and he believes that his positive experience has encouraged O’Neill to grasp this opportunity.

“He’s an intelligent guy who doesn’t need any advice from me but perhaps he saw me make the move when he was a player and now he wants to experience that challenge and culture,” added Bingham.

“And it’s also important to know when is the right time to get out, to leave a job.”

O’Neill, who enjoyed considerable success with Leicester City before moving on to Celtic, shocked Aston Villa earlier this year by quitting just a few days before the start of the new season.

Belfast Telegraph