“I was shocked when I realised it was him.”
Matt Doherty has detailed the telephone conversation he had with Martin O’Neill following the Derryman’s exit from the Republic of Ireland manager’s job last November.
On the night of O’Neill’s departure, Doherty spoke to 2FM show Game On about his former manager, and he wasn’t complimentary. The Wolves wing-back said that the setup under O’Neill was “old-school” and players would often be unsure of their roles in the team.
Doherty also stated that there was little tactical preparation for games under O’Neill and his assistant Roy Keane.
— Robert Redmond (@RobRedmond10) November 21, 2018
Doherty on O’Neill
“When you were away with Ireland, you didn’t really have that much coaching. It was more of five-a-side or 11-a-side game, and that would be it,” he said.
“The day before a game you would do a few set-pieces here and there and then go into the game. You are kind of thinking to yourself, ‘what shape are we going to play?’ You’d have a few players thinking ‘we’ll play this shape’, or someone else thinking something else.
“You can’t have that, especially at international football, people not really sure on what their role is the next day.”
Later that month, The Times reported that O’Neill was “furious” with Doherty for airing his grievances on national radio, and had contacted the Dubliner to rebuke his criticism.
“It wasn’t a nice phone call, at all.”
Doherty, speaking to Richie Sadlier on Second Captains, has said that the pair did indeed have a heated telephone conversation. The Wolves star said that the former Ireland manager called him a “tosser.”
“The call was not a good call,” Doherty said on The Player’s Chair.
“I don’t know if I should say too much with the risk of getting another call from him, so I don’t have to go through that again. If you were to listen to that, you’d be shocked. It wasn’t a pleasant call between two human beings at all.
“Basically he called me and was like, ‘a friend of mine heard you on the radio.’ But, I answered the phone, and I didn’t know it was him. I was shocked when I realised it was him.
“He called me a ‘tosser’ a few times, and we kinda go back and forth. He was saying some things and I ended up saying, ‘oh you’re a liar’ and stuff like that. And he ended up just hanging up the phone on me.
“I could go into more detail. I just don’t wanna bring it all back up again when it’s totally gone now. It wasn’t a nice phone call, at all.”
“Just didn’t click at all.”
Doherty said that his relationship with O’Neill “never clicked” and that the former Aston Villa manager passed remarks about him wearing gloves in matches and training.
“He never directly said, ‘why are you wearing them’ that direct in front of you,” Doherty said.
“But just the way he would word things, quietly he said ‘just like if you wore gloves in a game.’ You know that type of thing?
“And I’m just like, ‘I do wear gloves in a game’. It was just the relationship never clicked from the very start, he wasn’t that fond of me, I wasn’t that fond of him. Just didn’t click at all.”
You can listen to the full interview here.
Originally published on October 2, 2019.