Speculation is growing that Stoke are going to approach Ireland manager Martin O’Neill about their managerial vacancy. Mark Hughes got his P45 after wretched run of form over the festive period. If the rumours about O’Neill are true, it looks like the board are going back to what worked under Tony Pulis.
When Pulis was relieved of his duties it was because of his liking for physical and direct football. Anyone that watched Ireland under O’Neill will know that those two words describe his approach to the game in a nutshell. It could be a case of going back to the future for Stoke fans and they are unlikely to be happy.
Stoke Squad Might Not Suit O’Neill
If Stoke do appoint O’Neill it will surely split opinion among supporters. They have the players to play a decent brand of football and stay up, but O’Neill usually plays the percentages.
Charlie Adam would probably be the first name on his team sheet, not for his overall play but for his ability from dead balls. Peter Crouch would also be a likely starter under O’Neill. However, the likes of Shaqiri, Sobhi, Jese, Berahino aren’t his type of players.
Joe Allen is another lightweight midfielder that he may not fancy. So, if he does get the job, Stoke would have to spend in January. It would be a big commitment to make to a manager at the stage of career he is at. But, if he kept Stoke up, it would be worth every penny, stone age football or not.
Hughes Thanks Stoke Fans
Former boss Mark Hughes was gracious after his dismissal, and he thanked the fans that stood by him. He wrote: “Together, we have enjoyed four successful campaigns including three consecutive ninth placed finishes. The highest position the club has reached since 1975.”
“I will always be very proud of this achievement. I would like to thank my coaching staff, the players and everyone at Stoke City for their hard work during my time as manager.” History will probably look favourably on Sparky’s stint at Stoke, and the Welshman is unlikely to be out of work for long.