Stoke City endured a nightmare first-half of the season under former boss Mark Hughes, with the final straw coming in the form of a 2-1 defeat in the FA Cup to League Two side, Coventry City.
The four-and-a-half year serving boss was given his marching orders, and now the race is on to see who will succeed the former Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers boss. Stoke fans here in The Transfer Tavern were sad to see Hughes depart, but given their shocking league position, fully support chairman Peter Coates’ decision to pursue a new direction. Whilst catching up with the guys from the Potteries this afternoon over a pint, news broke from Bleacher Report journalist Dean Jones on Twitter that suggested that Martin O’Neill was ahead of fellow candidate Michael O’Neill in the race for the Stoke City job.
Martin is currently winning this race between the O'Neills… https://t.co/WPsT6j8JHC
— Dean Jones (@DeanJonesBR) January 9, 2018
Martin, manager of the Republic of Ireland, is an experienced Premier League manager having enjoyed spells with Aston Villa, Leicester City and Sunderland, and is the favoured candidate at this stage according to Jones. Michael has performed wonders with the Northern Ireland national team, guiding the Green and White Army to the knockout stages at the European Championships, and to within touching distance of qualification to the World Cup before a heartbreaking defeat to Switzerland over two-legs.
Landlord’s Verdict: Out of the two O’Neill’s, it is no surprise that Martin has emerged as the leading candidate for the job. The 65-year-old took Aston Villa to within touching distance of Champions League qualification whilst in charge at Villa Park, and drew the best from a team which consisted of the likes of Ashley Young, James Milner and Gareth Barry.
Michael has performed well with Northern Ireland, but needs to prove himself at club level before Premier League sides will take a punt on him. With Martin having failed to guide the Republic to the World Cup, an offer from Stoke may tempt the experienced boss to jump ship in the coming days.
Stoke fans, let us know your thoughts!