Vice-chairman John Coates has revealed he soon had reason to admire Michael O’Neill’s approach to management – and one day hopes to see him mentioned in the same breath as Lou Macari and Tony Pulis.
“Somebody mentioned some past manages who achieved an awful lot at the football club, such as Lou and Tony, not wishing to leave anybody out, but two managers I’ve got great memories of.
“It’s very early days, but Michael is a good manager with a good management team, and if he can do as well as those excellent managers we will have done ok.”
Speaking after this week’s Fan Forum, he continued: “What I admire particularly is his logical thought process and his clarity of thinking.
“If I give you a very early example of that: his first game was the Barnsley game and he’d come in on the Thursday.
“Kevin Russell and Rory Delap had stepped into the breach and picked the side for the Saturday.
“Michael’s original thoughts were to take the side, and I admired his gutsiness for doing that, but he was going to go with the team they’d chosen.
“But then when I saw him before the game on the Saturday, he turned to me and said ‘I’m going to go with what I believe in’.
“He made a few tweaks and thankfully it worked out on the day, but I just think it’s an example of that very clarity of thought he has and the consideration he gives to his decisions.
“Which I think will stand us in good stead.”