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Martin O’Neill's Biography

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Who is Martin O'Neill?

Martin Hugh Michael O'Neill was born in Kilrea, County Derry in Northern Ireland on 1 March 1952.

Initially, Martin O'Neill was a talented Gaelic footballer. He also studied law at Queen's University in Belfast.

As a footballer, Martin O'Neill was a very useful midfielder, particularly at Nottingham Forest where he was signed from Derry City.

Martin O'Neill played for Forest from 1971 to 1981 as part of the side built by Brian Clough that won the league in 1978 and the European Cup in 1979 and 1980. O'Neill then had relatively short stints at Norwich, Manchester City, Notts County, Chesterfield and Fulham.

From 1971 to 1984 Martin O'Neill played 64 internationals for Northern Ireland scoring 8 goals.

Martin O'Neill began his managerial career at Grantham Town in 1987. After a brief spell at the helm of Shepshed Charterhouse, he was manager of Wycombe Wanderers from 1990 to 1995. In the middle of his tenure there Wycombe won the Vauxhall Conference and so got promoted to the Football League. They then got promoted again.

After a very short spell at Norwich, where O'Neill fell out with Norwich chairman Robert Chase over the level of funding available for transfers, he went on, in 1985, to manage Leicester City where he transformed the club and impressed all the football pundits by getting the team promoted to the Premiership and winning the League Cup the following season.

In 2000, Martin O'Neill left for Celtic where he swung the balance of power away from rivals, Rangers by winning the Scottish League in 2001 and 2002. A year later Celtic reached the final of the Uefa Cup and in 2004 Celtic won the league and cup double.

In May 2005, Martin O'Neill confirmed speculation that he was leaving Celtic after the Scottish Cup final. Gordon Strachan was appointed to take over from O'Neill from 1 June.

Martin O'Neill, whose wife was receiving treatment for cancer said:

"I am leaving Celtic purely for personal reasons and I am extremely sorry to be departing in such circumstances."

Over a year later, in August 2006, Martin O'Neill was appointed manager of Aston Villa, replacing the sacked David O'Leary.

Martin O'Neill was awarded the OBE in 2004.

Martin O'Neill is fascinated by 'true crime'. For example, he and his wife queued outside the Old Bailey to see the trial of the Yorkshire Ripper.

On 9 August 2010 Aston Villa confirmed that Martin O'Neill had resigned as manager of the football club.

In the three previous seasons Martin O'Neill had managed Aston Villa to sixth place in the Premier League.

On 3 December 2011, Martin O'Neill took over from Steve Bruce as manager of Sunderland. O'Neill had supported Sunderland as a youngster.

Initially, his stint at Sunderland was a success, but on 30 March 2013, O'Neill was sacked with Sunderland just one point above the relegation zone and with only three points from their last eight Premier league matches.

In November 2013, Martin O'Neil was appointed manager of the Republic of Ireland with Roy Keane as his assistant.

In November 2015, Ireland under O'Neill qualified for the Euro 2016 finals.

However, in November 2017 they lost to Denmark in the play-offs and so just missed out on qualifying for the World Cup finals in 2018.

In November 2018 Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane left their roles at the helm of the Republic of Ireland.

In January 2019, the duo joined forces again as manager and assistant of the Championship club Nottingham Forest.

However, Martin O'Neill was sacked in June 2019, reportedly after a player revolt.

In 2022, Pan Macmillan published his autobiography entitled On Days Like These: My Life in Football.

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