O'Neill Could Yet Take Over Leeds Job
O'Neill has one more year on his Celtic contract (Allsport)
07/06/2002. Reports this morning suggest that Celtic boss Martin O'Neill could yet take over as Leeds United manager next week.
Although the genial Irishman stated yesterday that he wanted to see out the remaining year on his contract at Parkhead, it's reported that he has refused a longer deal with the SPL champions and that they could dispense with his services immediately, paving the way for him to join Leeds.
Celtic legend Billy McNeill felt that this could be the case as he said, "I defy you to tell me Martin's mind will be focused on Celtic if the prospect of being offered a job at Leeds is waiting for him. If that is the case the board should ask him to move now."
I'm Staying At Celtic Says Martin O'Neill
O'Neill says committed to Celtic (Allsport)
07/05/2002. Martin O'Neill will not be the new Leeds United manager after vowing to see out the remaining year of his contract at Celtic.
The Irishman was hotly tipped to take over from sacked boss David O'Leary, however speaking at an after-dinner occasion in Ireland today, he pledged the near future to his current club.
He said, "There has been no approach from Leeds and I want to see through the remaining year of my contract. I was shocked when I heard that David O'Leary had been sacked but these things happen in football. There are only a few managers in football who are unsackable, like Brian Clough, Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson - and I am not one of them. I know that I can be sacked at any time, but if Celtic do not sack me I intend to see out my contract."
Martin O'Neill Set For Talks Over Celtic Future
O'Neill is staying but for how much longer? (Allsport)
07/06/2002. Celtic boss Martin O'Neill has said that he will shortly hold talks with the board regarding his future at the club, but has warned fans that he'll not be staying forever.
The Irishman has been linked with the vacant managerial position at Leeds United, however he has pledged to see out the final year of his contract at the SPL side, but what happens beyond that remains in doubt.
He said, "I have been in Scotland for two years now and I have attempted to say things as honestly as I can and it makes no difference whatsoever. People will print what they want. The Chairman has been unable to get over, but obviously he has been in close contact."
"The previous year there was no talk about my contract and, as I have said before, there was nothing sinister about that, but I suppose when something like this crops up then people immediately start to wonder about it. I will, at some stage or another, sit down with Dermot Desmond and have a full discussion on it and I am happy to leave it like that."
"Nothing is forever. More so than ever, the days of someone staying at a football club for eight or 10 years are few and far between. There aren't many players now staying for ferocious lengths of periods and that's because the money's good in the game and people are always looking for new challenges. We have a really good bunch of players and we're going to try and add to that, whatever sort of budgets are allowed."
"Because everything in football is so short term, what is the point of planning for four years down the way when that doesn't happen? The idea is you get players galvanised for each season and we have plenty of big challenges coming up."
Saturday, July 6, 2002
O'Neill may only stay another year
By Stephen McGowan
Martin O'Neill last night vowed to remain with Celtic for the remainder of his contract - but left a question mark hovering over his long-term future.
Insisting that he will only leave the champions if he is sacked, O'Neill - speaking at a fundraising lunch in Dublin - killed off speculation that he was ready to quit for Leeds within the next seven days.
However, as talks with majority Celtic shareholder Dermot Desmond continued over a round of golf at the club's plush pre-season retreat in the Emerald Isle yesterday, the Irishman also refused to divulge his plans beyond the next 12 months when his current deal lapses.
Soccernet understands that, despite O'Neill's immediate commitment to the club, deep-rooted doubt exists within his head over job satisfaction. And his failure to confirm a long-term deal will heighten speculation that Leeds intend to appoint Terry Venables for 12 months - prior to O'Neill becoming available.
Handed a deadline by which to confirm his interest in the Leeds job, it is understood O'Neill was - as one insider put it - 'genuinely torn'.
However, the news Celtic fans partly wanted to hear was delivered yesterday as O'Neill said: 'There has been no official approach from Leeds United and I want to see through the remaining year of my contract.
'I was shocked when I heard David O'Leary had been sacked but these things happen in football. There are only a few managers who are unsackable, like Brian Clough, Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson. I'm not one of them.
'I know I can be sacked at any time but if Celtic do not sack me then I intend to honour my contract.'
Responding to suggestions that the indecision over O'Neill could raise the spectre of a lame-duck final year, Celtic public relations manager Kate Cunningham said: 'It's completely unfair to question Martin's commitment to Celtic, which is obvious, and he has repeatedly stated 100 per cent that that commitment remains, whether he be with us for one year, five years or only a week to run on his contract.'
Sunday, July 7, 2002
O'Neill: Tell me why I should stay
By Fraser Mackie
Martin O'Neill last night revealed that an eve-of-season summit with Dermot Desmond will give Celtic the chance to convince him to make a long-term Parkhead commitment - as he gave the heaviest hint yet that his future may lie elsewhere.
O'Neill: Stalling at Celtic
The Celtic boss faced the media after his side's 4-1 win over Shelbourne in Dublin - the first time he has done so since speculation began to rage over the vacant Leeds United manager's position 10 days ago.
He repeated his intention to see out the remaining 12 months of his contract with the Scottish champions.
But earlier yesterday afternoon, via the club's website, O'Neill had said 'nothing is forever' and dropped several suggestions that his stay at Celtic might be a shorter one than his fans had hoped for.
In the meantime, he will be required to enter detailed discussions with majority shareholder Desmond to establish whether the club's longer-term strategy is attractive enough for him to extend his reign in Glasgow.
He said: 'I spoke to Dermot yesterday, just to talk about anything that might happen in the future. I am going to sit down with him over the next few weeks to talk about the overall view of what Celtic are, what they are going to do, their immediate future and, obviously, more long term.
'All those things will be discussed in that time and I will leave that entirely up to him.
'That's the only thing that matters, as far as I am concerned.' Before the match, he said: 'Nothing is forever - more so than ever now. The days of someone staying at a football club for eight to 10 years are few and far between.'
Meanwhile, a dramatic new window of opportunity emerged last night which could further the interest Celtic have expressed in Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Manninger.
Spanish papers last night reported a serious hitch in the deal that was to take Manninger to Espanol.
Their general manager, Josep Maria Marco, had announced the player was Espanol's new goalkeeper, that he had signed and even that there was going to be a general agreement between the clubs.
But on Friday night, Marco received an angry fax from Arsenal warning him to stop putting out such statements because the deal was far from concluded.
In fact, Espanol have until later this week to come up with bank guarantees, which the Premiership club have demanded because the Spaniards dithered so long on agreeing the means and timing of payments.
O'Neill is keen to have fresh competition this season for Rab Douglas.