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Boro bid to steal O'Neill

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Newcastle United now face competition from Middlesbrough for Martin O'Neill in what could develop into a Tyne-Tees battle for the Irishman.


That's the news The Chronicle can reveal tonight as the managerial roundabout is now likely to include Middlesbrough, with Steve McClaren favourite to move up to head coach with England when Sven-Goran Eriksson quits after the World Cup in the summer.


Our exclusive story a week past Wednesday that McClaren was going to be offered the England job reverberated around football, and it seems to be now accepted that the Boro boss will be his country's No 1 later in the summer.


Now our information is that Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson realises this and is making preparations for a new manager at The Riverside - and that O'Neill has been spoken to.


All that is missing is interest from Sunderland for O'Neill, who admits to having being a fan of the red-and-whites in his days as a youngster in Northern Ireland.


But as much as Sunderland supporters would love O'Neill in the hot seat at the Stadium of Light, they are not even in his thoughts because of the position they now find themselves in.


However, Middlesbrough are a different kettle of fish, and not only that but Fulham have made no secret of the fact they are more than interested in taking the former Wycombe Wanderers, Leicester City and Celtic manager to Craven Cottage.


Fulham believe they do have one advantage over the rest of the contenders because their chief executive, Dave McNally, worked closely with O'Neill at Parkhead.


There is talk that England could announce their new manager as early as Wednesday, and the situation could be a lot clearer after that.


In the meantime, the speculation over England and United continues on a daily basis - and most of it is wrong.


A United spokesman told me today in advance of this afternoon's first league match with Wigan Athletic at St James' Park: "Any talk over the weekend that we have picked our new manager is not only premature and speculation but it is also wrong.


"Our position has not changed. At this moment in time nobody has been ruled in and nobody has been ruled out.


"Certainly reports yesterday that we are putting pressure on anyone are just not true. Nor is the report that we will be talking to the Valencia or Villarreal managers. We have no plans to talk to these two gentlemen."


Despite all the speculation Freddy Shepherd has remained cool and calm but the United chairman must know that if Glenn Roeder takes United into Europe against all the odds, he will have to look seriously at taking his caretaker tag off him.


Shepherd already has an important date on Tuesday night when, with Michael Owen, he accompanies Alan Shearer to the HMV awards.


Shearer will accept the HMV Lifetime Achievement award, sponsored by Nationwide, at a football extravaganza in the posh Grosvenor House Hotel in London.


Two of Shearer's former United managers, Sir Bobby Robson and Kenny Dalglish, will also be in attendance.

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Big article in the Indy today asking what all the fuss is about McClaren. I'm not so sure, he's part of the England set up that has got people talking seriously about us winning the World Cup this time, that's got to be worth something.

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The Guardian did an article on O'neill that sounded a lot like a copy and paste from an older Alardyce one, what with all the "innovative training methods" and the "statistical analysis on his laptop". But then it was by Louise Taylor...


Don't see why O'Neill would choose boro over us though.

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This Fulham thing doesn't make sense. Surely they wouldn't bring a prospective employee to the ground when they already have a manager? I'd be fuming if I was Chris Coleman and they were sneaking around trying to replace him,

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Coleman has been under threat all season


the Lahdnahn Standard had him within 2 games of the bullet in the last 4 weeks


Also he works for The Phoney Pharoah - who is ..... not dependable


I can't see O'Neil going there to work for a nutter mind

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