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

Leicester staged a thrilling recovery to beat Norwich yesterday and are poised now to take their manager as well after Martin O'Neill walked out on the East Anglian club before the game.

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.

Attendance: 14,521.

Man of the match: Taylor.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power