FOOTBALL: O'Neill rubbishes resignation talk

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The Independent Online
MARTIN O'NEILL dismissed reports yesterday that he is on the verge of resigning as the manager of Leicester City in the wake of the ongoing boardroom saga at Filbert Street.

With an Extraordinary General Meeting due to take place on Wednesday, O'Neill described claims that his days in charge at Leicester could soon be coming to an end as "total nonsense". The former Northern Ireland player, who has been linked in the past with moves to Everton and Leeds, had been said to be looking to take charge of a bigger club.

But an irate O'Neill said: "Reports saying that `I am off' from Leicester City in the imminent future are total nonsense. Nothing could be further from the truth.

"When I picked up the papers on Sunday morning and read the stories about me to leave the club I was amazed. I could not believe my eyes. There is no truth in that whatsoever and I've never said that.

"In fact, I have been very careful about what I have said over the past few weeks with the EGM on the horizon to sort out the current boardroom situation. The last thing I would want to be doing before that meeting on Wednesday is stirring up any controversy."

O'Neill, who has just celebrated his fourth anniversary at City, finally put pen to paper last summer after months of speculation on a new three- year contract which will keep him at Filbert Street until 2002.

While O'Neill is fiercely ambitious, he has also often stated his loyalty towards players such as Emile Heskey and Neil Lennon, whom he persuaded to sign new deals this season. He also knows that his closest supporters, City plc chief, Sir Rodney Walker, and football club chairman, John Elsom, are almost certain to win the power struggle with the so-called `Gang Of Four' at the EGM.

The Cardiff City manager, Frank Burrows, is set to sign the striker Iffy Onoura from Swindon Town in a pounds 100,000 deal today. Onoura has been squeezed out of Jimmy Quinn's plans and will jump at the move to the Second Division outfit. However, he will not be eligible for Cardiff's delayed FA Cup tie with Bolton tomorrow because he was not signed in time.