A City fan from afar backs Hughton ahead of Sunday’s road trip to the PotteriesThu 26 Sep 13 by Chris Young
I’ll be at the Britannia for Sunday’s lunchtime kick-off. Wouldn’t miss it.
And I won’t, repeat won’t, be calling for Chris Hughton’s head.
And three weeks later, I’ll be at the Emirates and a fortnight after that at the Etihad and then St James Park. I’m proud to be an away season ticket holder and I refuse to be swept along by the near hysteria over our early season form. The Premiership campaign is a marathon, not a sprint.
This loyal Canary foot soldier supports Norwich City for better or worse, through the good times and the bad. Sounds like the formula for a successful marriage and, believe me, divorce will never be on the cards.
City till I die and all that.
Listening to Canary Call after the Aston Villa game, I despaired. Not at the result but at the ‘we’re all doomed’ attitude of some Canary supporters. They accuse Hughton of being negative.
Ha! They should listen to themselves.
Hopefully, the excellent fight back at Watford on Tuesday will ease some of the pressure. Hopefully the team’s never-say-die attitude sparked off by the sensational debut of Josh Murphy could kick start City’s season.
But even the Watford turn-around wasn’t good enough for some so-called Canary fans.
During the game, ‘New England’ messaged the Pink Un: “… the best thing for Norwich would be a Watford win so we can get a new manager”.
And ‘Ivan’ added, as Gary Hooper’s equaliser hit the back of the net: “Still think Hughton has to go.
Call themselves supporters? Not in my book, they’re not.
Let’s just get a few facts straight… again.
Hughton was employed to see us through second season syndrome. He did it his way and it paid off. His first priority was the defence. Job done. Well, much improved. This summer he looked to sharpen the strike force with some shrewd signings
But NorwichCity’s development remains a work in progress. Several of the new recruits – among them Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper – were untried in football’s top tier. Some will find their feet quickly, like Gary Hooper on Tuesday. Others may take a little longer.
I have faith in Chris Hughton. Great faith. He has massive Premiership experience as as a player and as a coach. He showed his potential as a manager at Newcastle and Birmingham. Idon’t remember any of their fans wanting him out. I seem to recall Magpies supporters demonstrating against his absurd dismissal by Mike Ashley.
To me, one of the most damning indictments of English football is its short-term-ism. A few bad results and out come the knives. Unless your club has untold wealth to buy success, it’s back to the merry-go-round of jobless managers boasting modest CVs. Will Sunderland now admit the error of their ways when they sent Martin O’Neill packing?
As a reporter for Anglia TV in the 1970s/80s, I covered many of the regions football clubs and interviewed managers of that era. Ron Saunders, Lawrie McMenemy, Ron Atkinson, Graham Taylor, Bobby Moore, Bobby Robson, John Bond and David Pleat among them. It gave me a privileged insight into the world of football.
But would I have ever dreamt of telling them how to run their teams… of giving them advice on coaching or tactics… or team selection. Or would I today consider lecturing Chris Hughton on how to do his job? Of course not.
He’ s a highly skilled professional. I’m a mere supporter.
It puzzles me why some fans who once played for a pub team or who’ve held a season ticket in the Barclay for a few seasons are convinced they know better than managers who’ve been steeped in the top echelons of the game all their lives.
But, hey, that’s football, and we love it. Most of the time.
Frankly, however, any Canary supporter who believed that a total transfer outlay of around £25-million pounds was going to guarantee a sudden outbreak of attacking football and mid-table safety from day one wasn’t living in the real world. Didn’ t they notice that almost all other clubs were splashing their Premiership millions as well?
Like many Canary supporters, I know what it’s like to leave one ground after another, depressed at City’s away form.I did it often enough last season. I live in Cornwall, more than 400 miles from Norwich so I don’t often get to Carrow Road but I miss few away games.
I’ve just done some sums. Since Chris Hughton’s arrival, I’ve travelled to 16 away matches. We’ve lost eight of them, drawn six and won two. Twelve points from 16 away games. Actually, is that such a terrible record?
Sometimes, I think the Canary nation forgets just how far the club has come in four years. Shouldn’t we still be relishing our place at football’s top table: able to compete at some of the worlds most illustrious venues; matching our skills against many of the greatest players on earth.Yet some Canary fans seem to grab every opportunity to grumble.
Yes, we’ve earned our place in the Premiership and we’re determined to cling on to it. But it was never going to be easy – or pretty – and I don’t believe for clubs with City’s limited resources, it’ll ever be anything but a struggle.
Sunday’s game has now taken on a significance far beyond the mere three points at stake although the Watford result may have settled a few nerves.
I set out on my travels with the Yellow Army for each game buoyed up with fresh hope. It’s what keeps football supporters coming back time and again for more. But if that hope is dashed as the final whistle goes at Stoke, well, I know this much…
By the time I finally get back to Cornwall that night, I’ll have forgotten the pain and will be counting the days until the next outing - because, over the season, I believe Chris Hughton’s team will grind out the results we all crave.