O’Neill had been in charge of Northern Ireland for eight years and had turned down the chance to manage Scotland and other teams in England by the time he said yes to Stoke in November.
He was joining a club that had fallen rapidly from the mid-table of the Premier League to the bottom of the Championship, having picked up just eight points from their first 15 games of this season.
But he had a shortlist for what he wanted to tempt him away from international football and Stoke still ticked the lot.
“It was the timing of the opportunity and feeling that our automatic chance of going to 2020 looked very remote with the last two games (against Holland and Germany),” he said in an interview for the BBC’s At Home with Colin Murray podcast.
“(I would consider) has the club been in the Premier League? Obviously, yes it had – for 10 years and recently come out. It had only been 15 or 16 months out of the Premier League.
“But the main thing for me was the stability of the club and stability of the club in terms of ownership.
“I always felt that when I spoke to clubs, who are you actually working for here? Are you working for an overseas investor who has a massive interest in the club at the start that wanes over time when they are not seeing a return on the pitch for the money they put in – an absent landlord kind of arrangement which is very difficult for a manager.
“I looked at the size of the club first of all. Did they believe that they could become a Premier League club again? Having met Peter and John Coates there was no doubt that they felt that and that was their objective.
“And they were prepared to invest in their football club. They really love their football club.
“There was an opportunity here to improve the immediate future and then would you have the right opportunity to build a club that can challenge? I feel that firmly because of the ownership, because of the fan base and because the club had been there before.”
O’Neill has pulled Stoke up from the bottom of the table, sitting 17th with nine games of the season still hopefully to be played.
And he has transformed form particularly at home.
Stoke had won one in 13 at the bet365 Stadium before he was appointed but have since won seven and drawn two of his first 11 in the dug out.