OzWhite's Leeds United F.C. History
Leeds United F.C. History : Foreword
1919-29 - The Twenties
1930-39 - The Thirties
1939-46 - The War Years
1947-49 - Post War Depression
1949-57 - The Reign of King John
1957-63 - From Charles to Revie
1961-75 - The Revie Years
1975-82 - The Downward Spiral
1982-88 - The Dark Years
1988-96 - The Wilko Years
1996-04 - The Rollercoaster Ride
2004-17 - Down Among The Deadmen
2018-22 - The El Loco Era: Back Where We Belong
2022-24 - Marsch back to the Championship
100 Greatest LUFC Players Ever
Greatest Leeds United Games
Players' Profiles
Managers' Profiles
Leeds City F.C. History
Leeds City F.C. Player and Manager Profiles
Leeds United/City Statistics
Leeds United/City Captains
Leeds United/City Friendlies and Other Games
Leeds United/City Reserves and Other Teams

O’Neill: James Joseph (Sean)

1969-1974 (Player Details)

Full Back

Born: Belfast: 24-02-1952

Debut: v Stromgodsett Drammen (h) (Substitute): 03-10-1973

5’9 1/2” 12st 2lb (1973)

Like many of his contempories at Elland Road, O’Neill found it virtually impossible to prise his way into the first team because of the club’s array of international talent. His brief moments of senior action came as substitute. His one League appearance as a substitute came as he replaced Peter Lorimer on 2nd March 1974 in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United at Elland Road. In Europe he made his debut as a substitute for Paul Reaney on 3rd October 1973 and followed it up as a replacement for Frank Gray against Hibernian at Elland Road three weeks later. He joined Leeds from school in Belfast, where he had gain Northern Ireland Schoolboy international status. After his apprenticeship he signed professional terms in May 1967 and though ideally a full back he was equally adept at several forward or defensive roles as he became a Central League regular. It was becoming apparent that he had little chance of gaining a regular spot in the Leeds team and a free transfer took him to Chesterfield in July 1974. He became one of a number of astute Joe Shaw signings. He filled six different positions in his first term, displaying a versatility that was to become one of his greatest assets. He soon settled into a defensive role, but was equally at home in either full-back berth or in the centre of defence. Although he liked to get forward and wrong-foot opponents with his trademark "O'Neill Shuffle", there were eight years between his first and second goals for the club. His most memorable, though, was a speculative lofted cross from somewhere near the touchline that drifted in to wreck Hereford's tilt at the highest number of consecutive clean sheets from the start of a season, in October 1984. He made four hundred and thirty-seven starts and five subsitute League appearances, scoring six times for the Spireites in a twelve year career. Freed at the end of the 1982-83 relegation season, he became the steward at the Saltergate Club, while playing on a non-contract basis. Although the intention was that he would stick around a bit to help bring young players through, he remained in the first team for another three seasons. In March 1985 he received a Canon League loyalty award, and enjoyed a testimonial against Sheffield Wednesday in May of that year. A year later he retired, after four hundred and forty-two appearances in total, and the fifth-highest number of League appearances for Chesterfield to his credit. He won an Anglo-Scottish Cup winners’ medal in 1981 and a Fourth Division medal in 1984-85. In 1985 he joined a local side Staveley Works, and later Matlock Town. At Chesterfield he was known as Sean O’Neill, wheras earlier he had been known as Jimmy O’Neill. He played local non-League football while running the Red Lion, in Brimington, before becoming a milkman, then entering the insurance business. Out of the blue, it seemed, he was invited to become assistant to manager Ivan Golac at Dundee United. He chucked in his job, left for Tannadice and was back in Chesterfield a day or two later, badly disillusioned at a turn of events that had seen certain verbal assurances of terms and conditions of employment fail to materialise. He began working with Chesterfield's Community scheme in the mid-1990s, coaching schoolboy sides, and has served as the assistant coach to Barnsley's Northern Intermediate League side. After a period as coach and Manager to Staveley Miners Welfare, of the Northern Counties (East) League, he took up an appointment on the staff at Chesterfield's Centre of Excellence, as Under-Sixteen Coach, in September 2000. In recent seasons he has also served as assistant to his great friend Ernie Moss in his Non-League management ventures. In recent years Sean has served a a coach to junior sides at Sheffield United, Rotherham United and Doncaster Rovers.

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