x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

David O'Leary knew his time as Al Ahli manager would be short

Irishman says he knew the job expectancy of a manager in the UAE's professional league when he accepted the position.

David O'Leary expected that he would be dismissed as Al Ahli coach at some point in his reign.
David O'Leary expected that he would be dismissed as Al Ahli coach at some point in his reign.

David O’Leary admitted he knew the job expectancy of a manager in the UAE’s professional league when he accepted the position as manager of Al Ahli.



The former Aston Villa and Leeds United manager signed a lucrative three-year contract last summer with the Dubai-based club but was fired, along with assistant Roy Aitken, in April following a run of poor results.

O’Leary was the club’s fifth manager since 2009 and he admitted he was not surprised to suffer the same fate as his four predecessors.

"It was hell of a year over there,” O’Leary said in an interview with a UK radio station this week. “I worked for a great boss [Abdullah Saeed Al Naboudah] and it was a great experience.

“It’s a place where you try and survive as long as you can. I survived for [nearly] a season there.

“I knew what I was getting into as the club had four different coaches [in quick succession] and that’s the way the system works over there.

“Thirteen coaches lost their jobs this season and when I was just leaving the local paper [The National] did an article saying 45 coaches lost their job [since the league went professional].”

O’Leary is back in England and is keen to return to football management. However, he was out of work for four years after being fired by Aston Villa and being appointed manager of Ahli and could struggle to land a top job.

“I would be open to any offer that is right, whether that me Championship of Premier League,” O’Leary said.

 

“What I do know is that watching the Premier League from Dubai, is that it’s the best league in the world. The Championship is exciting league, too.”


kaffleck@thenational.ae