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Martin O’Neill: the man leading Villa to the Champions League?

O'NeillAston Villa currently sit 4th in the Premier League table and manager Martin O’Neill is the man who should receive much of the credit. O’Neill has assembled a determined and talented squad of players who will give everything for him and the midlands club are reaping the rewards. Villa have now beaten three of the big boys, as a 1-0 win at Old Trafford against Manchester United followed wins against Chelsea and Liverpool. Aston Villa have established themselves as serious top four contenders and shown that the man management skills of Martin O’Neill are second to none.

Managerial Career:

Martin O’Neill was born in 1952 in Kilrea, Northern Ireland, and as a player spent ten years of his career at Nottingham Forest, where he helped them win back to back European Cups. The 57 year old started his managerial career in the lower leagues with Grantham Town in 1987, before becoming successful with Wycombe. But it was with Leicester City that O’Neill really made a name for himself, winning the League Cup in 1997 and 2000. After a five year spell in the Scottish Premier League with Celtic where he won the SPL three times, O’Neill joined Aston Villa in 2006 and has firmly established them as a club consistently chasing European qualification.

Transfer Record:

At Aston Villa, O’Neill has become renowned for buying British, and building his team around a core of English players. He has brought a number of youthful English players to Villa Park, none of whom have been more successful than Ashley Young and James Milner. Both costing just shy of £10 million, Young and Milner are representative of what O’Neill is trying to achieve with Villa, and alongside Agbonlahor make Villa a quick outfit. It remains to be seen whether one of his latest purchases, Fabian Delph from Leeds, will be a success, but few people would go against O’Neill’s judgement.

The Person:

Martin O’Neill strikes me as the type of person who lives, breathes and sleeps football. He is incredibly animated on the touchline and has exuberance and enthusiasm in abundance. O’Neill clearly has a will to win embedded within him and he has transferred that to the Villa players as well. Martin is never short of an insightful comment either, as after the victory over Man Utd, he told BBC Sport that “I haven’t enjoyed the game for about twenty years.” This shows how seriously he takes the game and his character and determination are a real asset for the Premier League.

The man to bring success to Villa Park:

Helped by the finances provided by American Chairman Randy Lerner, O’Neill has spent much but also built a talented squad at Aston Villa. Tough to break down, a creative midfield and quick in attack, Villa have a great blend of youth and experience, and of skill and endeavour. O’Neill further told BBC Sport that “we do work hard but sometimes our ability is overlooked,” but now Villa are making everyone stand up and take notice. Led by O’Neill, Aston Villa have as a good a chance as anyone to break the grip held by the top four on the Premier League.

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Article title: Martin O’Neill: the man leading Villa to the Champions League?

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