John Duggan
John Duggan

12.55 8 Nov 2019


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Michael O'Neill's eight-year spell in charge of Northern Ireland is coming to an end, with Stoke City appointing him as their new boss. 

The former Shamrock Rovers manager has been lured by the Championship strugglers, who are owned by the gambling giant Bet 365.

O'Neill is set to remain on with Northern Ireland for the concluding Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Netherlands and Germany.

It's unlikely that they will emerge from the Group, but they would be guaranteed a play-off through the Nations League next March.

Stoke City are set to pay the Irish Football Association compensation for O'Neill, who penned a new contract with Northern Ireland in February 2018.

O'Neill is set to double his earnings at the Britannia Stadium. He took training with his new club for the first time this morning.

Stoke City are bottom of the Championship and sacked Nathan Jones last week.

Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson said of the move:

"We reluctantly agreed to allow Stoke to talk to Michael after they met the compensation requirements. Michael has now agreed terms with the Championship club.

"Naturally, we are extremely disappointed that Michael is leaving us, however we are delighted all parties have agreed Michael will be in charge of the Northern Ireland team for the games against Holland and Germany and potential Euro 2020 play-off matches in March.

"Everyone in the GAWA family is grateful for Michael's inspirational contribution over the past eight years.

"After a difficult start to his managerial reign with Northern Ireland he honed an excellent squad and took us to the round of 16 at Euro 2016, our first major tournament in 30 years.

"And, of course, he also took us to a play-off for World Cup Russia 2018 and the team have performed extremely well during the Euro 2020 qualification campaign.

"He has instilled incredible belief among our players and inspired countless young people to play football and aspire to play for Northern Ireland. He has also given our wonderful fans plenty to cheer about in recent years."


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