Southend chairman dashes Tilson talks

Southend United chairman Ron Martins has knocked back Norwich's hope of speaking to Shrimpers' manager Steve Tilson as they hunt to find a permanent replacement for Nigel Worthington.

Championship strugglers Southend issued a 'hands off' warning yesterday after Norwich pinpointed Shrimpers boss Steve Tilson as Nigel Worthington's potential successor.

United chairman Ron Martin revealed the club had turned down an official approach from Carrow Road for the man who has achieved back-to-back promotions at Roots Hall.

“Norwich did call me requesting permission to talk to Steve but I discouraged them,” he said. “We certainly don't want Steve to leave and I think he sees his future at Southend United as well.”

The 40-year-old's instant managerial success since replacing Dave Webb in November 2003 has seen Tilson linked with other high profile Championship vacancies at Leeds and West Brom.


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Tilson secured League Two promotion via the play-offs in his first full season before guiding the club to last year's League One title.

“I've had interest and it's obviously nice to be linked with these jobs,” he said. “I haven't ruled myself out - I'm just not in a position to put myself in at the moment.

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“My chairman has spoken to me and said Norwich had phoned to get permission. It has been turned down so I've got to be very careful - it's a difficult one for me. With the chairman saying that my hands are tied.”

Martin dismissed speculation linking Tilson with a switch to the Hawthorns last week.

“We've had no conversations with West Brom,” he said. “They have not approached us formally or informally. When I spoke to Steve about it he had received no communication from West Brom. I believe this would be a sideways move for him. We are a highly ambitious club and we want to move forward.”

Martin recently unveiled plans for the club to move from Roots Hall to a new purpose-built 22,000 all seater stadium and state-of-the-art training facility.

Blackburn chairman John Williams has adopted a similarly tough stance regarding any possible approach for bookies' favourite and former Norwich legend Mark Bowen.

“As far as I'm concerned we have no intention of letting Mark Bowen go anywhere,” he said. “We want him to stay and I'm pleased to report that we've had no contact from Norwich, which wouldn't be welcome anyway.”

Sacked Leeds boss Kevin Blackwell was linked with the Carrow Road post in the last few days along with West Ham's assistant manager and City old boy Peter Grant.

The Scot joined the club from Celtic in 1997 and went on to make 68 appearances in a two-year spell.

The 41-year-old joined Alan Pardew's backroom staff at Upton Park in January 2004 - helping the club gain Premiership promotion and reach last year's FA Cup final.

Pardew has come under pressure after West Ham's poor start to the new campaign and the continuing uncertainty surrounding a proposed takeover by Iranian businessman Kia Jorabchian's consortium.

Norwich have previously stated they will not comment on media speculation regarding the search for Worthington's permanent successor.

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