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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 November 2007, 14:07 GMT
O'Neill admits to Leeds agreement
Martin O'Neill
Martin O'Neill was disappointed Celtic had not offered a new deal
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has admitted to signing a conditional statement of intent to join Leeds four years ago while still with Celtic.

But he insists that nothing legally binding was put in place.

"There was nothing underhand," said O'Neill. "Celtic knew what I was doing every step of the way.

"I didn't want to leave Celtic, but I was in the last six months of a three-year contract and no-one had spoken to me about another one."

Former Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale had revealed the story in a serialisation of his autobiography, United We Fall.

How could I have signed a legally-binding agreement with Leeds and then agreed a new contract with Celtic?

Martin O'Neill

But O'Neill said he only entered talks with Ridsdale because he did not believe Celtic were going to offer him a new deal and that this had left him disappointed.

"The letter was full of conditions which I found out later hadn't been true," he said.

"Peter told me that Terry Venables, who was manager at the time, was thinking of leaving. I spoke to Terry and found out he was not thinking of leaving."

Speaking about the content of the document he signed, O'Neill added: "I signed some statement of intent on the understanding of quite a number of conditions.

"It was not a contract as such. How could I have signed a legally-binding agreement with Leeds and then agreed a new contract with Celtic?"

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