On a very basic level, Martin O’Neill is a 66-year-old man who recently departed a job he failed miserably in.
If you look further into it, he completely turned a nation off following a team that are ingrained in their national psyche.
But now, as is usually the case in this wild world of football management, he’s landed himself an equally prestigious role at Nottingham Forest.
Sometimes, businesses get what they deserve.
The O’Neill appointment can really go one of two ways, here. That may be stating the obvious, but throughout his career, he’s never left a club on half-decent terms – nor a nation for that matter.
Top tier Scottish football might be a skewed metric, but O’Neill is rightfully a Celtic legend. He got Leicester to Europe and Aston Villa to their first cup final in a decade.
As a player, he’s more decorated than most, but he likes to remind you of that anytime he’s questioned on even the most obvious of flaws.
But here’s the thing – like all managers, their methodology can run its course and become outdated. While the poisoned chalice of Sunderland can’t be treated as any sign of decline given the overheads he dealt with, his tenure at Ireland should be fresh in the memory.
The one thing that may work in O’Neill’s favour is the determination he now has to prove people wrong. That assessment is based on your reading of his mindframe though. Does he actually still believe in his convictions about grinding out big results without any blueprint or is he elongating his career and income-generation through past glories?
Several accounts have emerged regarding O’Neill not working on shape, not giving any indications of team news to his own players and a general consensus seems to suggest that very little thought goes into his gameday preparation.
Not only does that tarnish his reputation, it’s disrespectful to other managers who do their badges and want to actually manage.
Apparently, nostalgia is the biggest indicator when it comes to mid-level recruitment, though.
Irish fans can rightly point towards big nights – big results in big games. Lille can never be taken away from him, but context is important.
Club management not only increases the amount of work you have to do with players tenfold, it also reduces the amount of ‘big’ games you have due to league formats. Can a manager who is so anti-football possibly keep a group of new generation footballers happy as soon as results turn sour?
There must be many doubts in that regard.
Nottingham Forest’s managerial history leaves a lot to be desired in the last decade and this just feels like a combination of blindly throwing darts and buying fan patience through age-old memories.
Typically, O’Neill will point fingers at everyone else when things go wrong. His attitude doesn’t endear himself to anyone and when results go wrong, his legacy at the club may even sour.
The 66-year-old didn’t know to quit when he was ahead, and I doubt he’ll know to quit even when he falls behind here.