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What next for Portadown’s Michael O’Neill after Stoke exit?

Michael O’Neill’s time at Stoke City has been brought to an abrupt end following a difficult start to the Championship campaign in England.

As the dust settles on his time with the Potters, the Portadown manager will be considering his next options.

Stoke Didn’t Give O’Neill Time

A draw with Coventry City in their opening game of the season was far from the worst start for Stoke, before a defeat at Millwall and an impressive win over Blackpool. Former Northern Ireland boss O’Neill would have been hoping the victory over the Tangerines would be a result that could kick-start the season for the Staffordshire outfit. However, a convincing 3-1 defeat at Huddersfield Town was followed by a 2-2 stalemate with Middlesbrough before a 1-0 loss at Sunderland. That result at the time left Stoke, who are 15/2 in the odds on football to be relegated, down in 21st place in the Championship table after their first five games of the campaign. Stoke, who football betting tips may back to improve on their early-season form, made the call and on August 25 it was confirmed O’Neill had left the club. Parting ways with a manager after three defeats in the first five league games of the season was a big decision from the former Premier League club and only time will tell if it was the right one.

O’Neill joined Stoke at a time when his role with Northern Ireland was coming to an end. There were high hopes for O’Neill after impressing with the national side and helping them reach the round of 16 at the 2016 European Championships in France. A narrow 1-0 defeat to Wales saw Northern Ireland miss out on a quarter-final place but it was still a great achievement to not only make the tournament but reach the knockout stages. Having made the move to Stoke in November 2019 his time at the Potters is over and the 53-year-old will be considering his next challenge.

A Wealth of Experience to Call Upon

O’Neill started his senior playing career at Coleraine before being snapped up by Newcastle United back in 1987. The midfielder went on to play for the likes of Dundee United, Hibernian and Wigan Athletic before returning to Northern Ireland with Glentoran. It was at Ayr United where he finished his playing career with a short stint before going into management.

Working his way up to the Northern Ireland job, O’Neill enjoyed nine years with the national side. Euro 2016 was the highlight for the Armagh manager who developed a great reputation for his work with players at Windsor Park. While his time at Stoke did not yield the success he would have hoped, O’Neill will undoubtedly be in the frame for jobs that crop up across the UK going forward this season.

Football moves fast, as O’Neill’s sudden exit from Stoke shows. With his knowledge and experience, it’s only a matter of time before Portadown native O’Neill is back in the dugout.

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