FOOTBALL: O'Neill's sudden resignation stuns Norwich
Trevor Haylett reports on a dramatic day on which the East Anglian team lost their leader and then their match, 3-2 at Leicester City
Monday 18 December 1995
O'Neill tendered his resignation, which has been refused, to the Norwich chairman Robert Chase at 11.30 yesterday morning and would appear to be set now to be installed at Filbert Street as the successor to Mark McGhee. A week ago McGhee also tore up his contract to become the new manager at Wolves.
The surprise move followed weeks of disharmony between manager and chairman over O'Neill's desire to improve his promotion-challenging squad. He was angry when his efforts to sign the former Hull goalscorer, Dean Windass, for pounds 750,000 were denied. Chase in turn was furious that his authority was being questioned through the local media.
A Norwich statement issued just before yesterday's game said: "We regret to announce that team manager Martin O'Neill has today tendered his resignation which is not being accepted. His two-year contract still has 18 months to run." Chase later added he was "shocked and disappointed" by O'Neill's decision saying: "I was aware on Saturday that he was unhappy."
During a dramatic afternoon at Filbert Street rumours spread that the Leicester chairman, Martin George, was meeting O'Neill after the game, but they were unsubstantiated. All of which was news to the former Norwich manager Mike Walker, who had been hoping the occasion would see his appointment as McGhee's successor. Walker had been interviewed for the job on Friday and was at the ground yesterday in his role as a television summariser.
O'Neill was approached by Leicester a year ago in the wake of Brian Little's defection to Aston Villa. At the time, he turned them down, preferring to wait and see if he could guide Wycombe to a second successive promotion.
Nevertheless he and George remained on good terms. Significantly in yesterday's match programme O'Neill gave a hint of the working problems he saw at Norwich. Commenting on McGhee's situation at Leicester and before his departure from Norwich, O'Neill said: "It was not as if he had a fall- out with the board, it was not as if he was at loggerheads with the chairman in terms of not being able to do what he wanted.
"In fact looking at the club from afar it looked as if he was given the freedom to run the club how he wanted and I'm sure the club was healthier because of that."
Walker said later: "As far as I'm concerned nothing has changed. I have read that I was favourite for the job but it was news to me. I was told to expect a decision on Tuesday or Wednesday and I presume that's still the case.
"Does Martin O'Neill's resignation have an impact on the Leicester situation? It may well do, but that's for him to say."
George, the Leicester chairman, refused to make any comment throughout the day.
O'Neill's assistant, Paul Franklin, was hastily put in charge of the Canaries, who put their problems aside by taking the lead in 65 seconds through Darren Eadie. They doubled it in the 32nd minute via Robert Fleck.
Eight minutes before half-time Mike Whitlow drilled home a thundering free-kick to set up a grandstand second half in which Iwan Roberts headed a 67th-minute equaliser. That followed a cross from Leicester's 17-year- old substitute, Emile Heskey, and 11 minutes from time the youngster seized on Robert Ullathorne's short back-pass to give Leicester a victory and third place in the First Division.
Leicester City (4-4-2): Poole; Hill, Carey, Walsh, Whitlow; Taylor, Rolling (Heskey, 64), Corica; Robbins (Joachim, 82), Roberts. Substitute not used: Smith.
Norwich City (4-4-2): Gunn; Poulston, Newsome, Prior, Bowen; Carey, Milligan, Bowen, Eadie (Adams, 9); Fleck (Scott, 68), Ward. Substitute not used: Marshall.
Referee: T Heilbron (Co Durham).
Bookings: Leicester: Carey, Walsh. Norwich: Ward.
Man of the match: Taylor.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal and Puma unveil world's first left-footed football
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?
Liverpool's best XI of the season so far: Raheem Sterling should play in the front three while Steven Gerrard remains on the bench
WWE Raw results: Brock Lesnar suspended for post-Wrestlemania 31 rampage after losing title to Seth Rollins
Liverpool injury news: Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren expected to be ready for Arsenal clash
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 3 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 4 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...