Tuesday 16 January 2018

We must stay close to home with next boss – Stapleton

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

MARTIN O'NEILL remains the favourite for the Ireland manager's job, but Frank Stapleton feels the FAI are right to consider other options, while the Derryman's former team-mate Viv Anderson believes his preference could be a Premier League return.

The FAI are taking their time to identify a replacement for Giovanni Trapattoni, with O'Neill no longer a certainty.

Stapleton and Anderson, who were in Dublin on a Setanta promotional visit, can understand developments as they reckon there is a possibility the 61-year-old's head could be turned by other opportunities.

Stapleton, who works as a scout for the FAI in the north-west and would like to continue in that role, feels that the Abbotstown hierarchy have to consider alternative options in the event that O'Neill is not ready to commit to international football.

Anderson, who won the European Cup with O'Neill, thinks he might still be tempted by the club scene. "If you asked him now he would probably want to go back into day-to-day management, but where is the opportunity?" said the 57-year-old.


"There are not a lot of Premier League clubs looking for new managers at the moment, although there might be in six or seven weeks.

"He would be an excellent fit (for Ireland), but if you say to me 'what is Martin O'Neill?' – I would say he is a day-to-day manager as opposed to an international manager who gets them eight times a year.

"He likes getting players to work with them every day. It's a personal thing that Martin wants at this stage of his career."

Stapleton is conscious that O'Neill would be a popular appointment, but supports Monday night's announcement which confirmed that Ray Houghton and Ruud Dokter will assess the market before making recommendations to the board.

He would favour a manager from this part of the world, however.

"I would certainly go with a manager that comes from these islands," he said. "Martin is at the forefront of everybody's thoughts but what if he says no?

"You have to look at other possibilities, so I don't think there's anything wrong with going through the whole spectrum. The thing is, I'm not too sure there will be too many people grasping to get the job."

The former Irish striker expects a new man to come in with a clean slate as regards the players exiled under Trapattoni, but he is unsure if Celtic's Anthony Stokes deserves a recall on the basis of where he plays his football.

"I think he needs to play in a more competitive league," said Stapleton. "It might be better if he moved to a top Championship side pushing for promotion."

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