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Sunday 17 December 2017

O'Neill mulls over North's six-year offer

Michael O’Neill
Michael O’Neill

Michael O'Neill's former assistant Stephen Robinson has praised the Irish Football Association's bid to keep their manager.

The IFA is understood to have granted O'Neill permission to hold talks over the Scotland job but not before preparing a counter-offer.

O'Neill is already contracted until 2020 and a four-year extension is reportedly on the table.

And Motherwell boss Robinson, who helped O'Neill take Northern Ireland to the knockout stages of Euro 2016, hopes the offer proves suitably attractive.

"That's the first I've heard of it and I'm delighted," Robinson said. "A six-year contract anywhere in football is great.

"But in terms of what Michael O'Neill has done for Northern Ireland and staying with Northern Ireland, it would be a tremendous coup if they managed to do it. Credit to the IFA for trying to do that.

"If Michael stays, it keeps the positivity going because he has simply united the country together, and given real belief to the country.

"Hopefully he will be enticed by that, but I can't speak for Michael. He has earned the right to look at his options and I don't think anyone would begrudge him that."

Meanwhile, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is awaiting a follow-up bid from PCP Capital Partners after rebuffing its initial offer for the club.

One of the parties interested in buying Newcastle, understood to be the PCP group fronted by Amanda Staveley, had tabled a formal offer after spending weeks trawling through its finances.

The deal on the table is believed to amount to around £280million, a figure which would give Ashley a modest return on the £134.4.million he paid for the club and the £129million he has since made available in interest-free loans.

It remains to be seen whether or not any of the other potential purchasers will be prompted to move now that the first shot has been fired.

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