There’s a distinct chill in the air – it’s officially winter-time this week. I suspect that chill has felt a degree or two lower over at Colney this week as the ramifications of the Reading loss were discussed and analysed by manager, coaching staff and players prior to the road to Wigan being taken.
Alas if you’re looking for a positive, glass-half-full weekly piece from me, then sorry but not able to oblige. I challenge any Canary out there to put an optimistic spin on the, and I use the word advisedly, ‘predicament’ which City have got themselves in.
Actually, it is beginning to have the feel of a full-on crisis with 1) the manager appearing to have run out of ideas, 2) barely a single player putting in any kind of acceptable performance of late and 3) the whiff of rebellion amongst the yellow and green masses.
After Middlesbrough and Forest, I expected the manager and squad to be galvanised – to push on from a disappointing blip in the season. It hasn’t happened. The blip got a damn sight bigger after a disappointing if entertaining 6 goal spectacle against Brighton and Saturday’s woeful loss to an out-of-sorts Reading side. ‘Black Friday’ was followed by even blacker Saturday.
The mood on the ‘terraces’ at the final whistle on Saturday was poisonous and some of the after-match online/real world shenanigans by a handful of overly-vexed fans only made things worse.
That’s one single and lonely-looking point accrued from two home ‘bankers’ (if ever such a thing existed). As we arrive in December, that’s mid to lower table form by any definition unless Neil Adams and his team can find a formula to reverse our flagging fortunes.
Oh the irony. After all the pre and early-season chatter about parachute payments we now have a full-on freefall plummet in the club’s fortunes and down the league table, and all topped off with the dirty big cherry in the form of the mortal enemy waving at us cheerily from the position that we were in just 10 or so games back.
But it could be worse. We could be Wolves supporters who are currently enduring an even worse run from their team, but such ‘comforts’ are pretty thin gruel when we had expected to be booking our place at the top table for the 2015-16 season.
That ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ that we’re all holding out for seems to be growing ever dimmer week by week, despite the bullish – if predictable – fighting talk emanating from Carrow Road before each subsequent deflating result.
If points were handed out for talking a good game then we might be in with a shout of promotion. However the talk feels less and less convincing when none of it equates to anything close to a revival on the green stuff.
That tricky trip to Wigan is up next with one Malky Mackay (a name many put forward to replace Chris Hughton before the murky details of his ‘text-gate’ scandal came into public view) waiting eagerly for more of those defensive gifts which we seem all too eager to hand out.
And then Huddersfield at home – another ‘banker’ which could well turn ugly.
Followed by Derby away – a truly worrying prospect going into the Christmas week.
Looking at the table brings twinges of anxiety and outright bewilderment. Not only have we been overtaken by Brentford and Cardiff (amongst others) but we have Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds and Fulham rapidly chasing our tattered tails. An unthinkable scenario back at the start of October.
Coming into the festive period, there is an all-pervading atmosphere of grimness and rancour which would make even Father Christmas (damn it, he does exist) think twice about putting the brakes on his sleigh and popping down the metaphorical Carrow Road chimney.
A large section of the faithful are hoping that Mike Phelan has donned Santa’s hat and has rode into town to put a smile back on decidedly pallid and drawn faces. Whether that fond wish comes in the guise of inspired coaching at the side of Adams, or (as some are wishing for) in the top job, should the dreaded axe fall, will be revealed as the halls get decked with holly and the plastic trees are dragged from the loft and dusted off ready for action.
The photo in the paper of new/old boy Phelan slumped on the bench almost afraid to confront what was on offer doesn’t inspire confidence. Three days into the job and he had the look of someone wishing he’d taken the road to Lapland and not Norfolk.
We badly need some goodies to cheer in place of the gift-wrapped gaffs that have been on view of late. With Neil struggling to deliver, maybe the big fella with the white beard can.
What’s top of my list to Santa? A big bottle of inspiration for Team Adams (please deliver ASAP), a shiny new kick-start to the season (starting at Wigan) and a sack full of points in 2015.
Come on Santa, don’t let me down.