Unlikely Martin O'Neill bargains
At 32 and having spent a year in Malaysian football, the former England man’s career was coming to an end.
However, O’Neill thought it wise to spend £500,000 on a player whose best days were some way behind him.
Almost 50 goals, one promotion and two League Cup wins proved him to be an invaluable addition.
In the space of one disastrous season at Chelsea, the £12m man had become a laughing stock.
Dropped for the 2000 FA Cup final squad, it was clear the striker was on his way out of Stamford Bridge. O’Neill took what looked a risk on a man with everything to prove and was rewarded with five goal-filled years in domestic and European football.
Having failed a medical at Rangers in 2000, a few months after O’Neill took charge at Celtic, his career was in freefall.
His reputation as someone who liked a pint and a curry didn’t help, not to mention is dodgy knee. Less than a year later, O’Neill spent £6m on this supposed risk who went on to score more than 100 goals for the Glasgow club.
The Norwegian was seen as a bad egg. A player who had a history of failed medicals and fall-outs with managers.
O’Neill swapped Milan Baros – who was definitely not his type of player – for Carew whose career at Lyon had turned sour.
He scored 32 goals in 148 appearances for Aston Villa.
One of O’Neill’s all-time favourites and a prime example of him going back to people he trusts.
The Bulgarian, currently battling leukaemia, struggled at first in English football when he signed for Aston Villa in 2006, but his manager stood by him and he became captain of the club and an idol in the eyes of supporters.