Stoke sack O’Neill after just six games

Michael O'Neill


Stoke City have sacked Michael O’Neill following the club’s poor start to the Championship season.

O’Neill has overseen one victory from five games this season and his team lost at home at the weekend to newly promoted Sunderland, leaving them 21st in the table.

It means the club will start looking at new candidates for the role and it could bring the likes of Sean Dyche into the running following his dismissal at Burnley last season.

O’Neill, 53, becomes the first managerial casualty in the second tier this season with the campaign less than a month old.

The former Northern Ireland manager was in charge at the Bet365 Stadium for almost three years, having been appointed in 2019 and oversaw 14th-placed finishes in his two full seasons at the club.

This season there were hopes of a promotion push, with Dwight Gayle arriving on a free transfer and the club winning the race to land Liam Delap on loan from Manchester City, with the Premier League champions seeing Stoke as the best place for their young striker to develop.

While O’Neill was under pressure following the results at the start of the season, the dismissal came as a shock, with the decision told to him this morning during a meeting with Stoke chairman John Coates.

Coates said in a statement on the club’s website: “Michael joined us in November 2019 when the club was in a difficult situation and the job he did in stabilising our position in the Championship should not be underestimated.

“Michael has worked tirelessly and with extreme professionalism, in particular in reshaping our squad and developing young players, but we feel the time is right to move in a different direction. I would like to thank him for his efforts and wish him every success for the future.

“Assistant manager Dean Holden will take interim charge of the first-team. The club has begun the process of appointing a new manager and will be making no further comment at this time.”