A lot of people won’t want to hear this, but I can’t help but feel the current City crisis has gone too far into the realms of self-indulgence and hysteria.
Am I happy with how things are going? No.
Is it anything we’ve not been through before? No.
Does it warrant the almost complete meltdown on social media platforms? No.
A quick look at our history shows that we’ve always been a club that flirts with the top flight, only to be caught out by financial limitations and drop back down again.
This cycle has been almost continuous in modern history. I believe that the longest ever stint in the top flight has been nine seasons and that was quite some time ago.
The odds of a newly relegated team going up at the first time of asking are one in four.
So is it about time we all just sucked it up and dealt with the reality of the club we support? Yes.
That’s not to say people’s fear and anger are not justified, they are, it’s been hellishly frustrating, but we just need to get our heads around our reality.
Has this period resulted in a huge missed opportunity? Yes.
However, we’ve missed bigger opportunities than this in our past. The Chase era with finishing third in the Premier League and European football was a much bigger opportunity for club to build upon, one which was indeed thwarted for nothing other than personal greed – something I’ve seen thrown, I think incorrectly, at Delia and Michael.
For all of their mistakes (which we all make by the way) I do believe they’ve been well-intentioned. With the current owners’ relative lack of financial clout I’d suggest we’ve been punching well above our weight in recent seasons.
The much lauded David McNally and Alan Bowkett did lots of good during that spell, but the reality is, for all those who are slinging mud at Moxey and Balls (to differing levels of deservedness), the club is now dealing with the legacy of the former’s reign in particular.
There’s also a politically motivated element to lots of the criticism, something I’ve got no time for and hold as mostly irrelevant. I’m not sure Ed’s politics make him a better dancer than chairman, it’s more he’s had zero experience of it.
I’m far from a Moxey fan, I have a family member who is a season ticket holder at Wolves and he has little good to say about him beyond him being a good business man, but in truth he’s just dealing with what he has come into: a club that was relegated last season, a club with no money for transfers without selling, a club that has owners whose wealth is mid table championship level.
They’re not his decisions, they’re the reality.
I actually liked David McNally, he did some truly great things, however to ignore his part of our current plight is not something that should be overlooked. He ran three of the worst transfer windows the club has had; the last summer promotion window being the absolute worst, possibly the smallest spend of a promoted team I’ve witnessed.
McNally set up the recruitment structure and hired the people. It was on his watch and we’re dealing with the consequences.
I’ll judge Moxey after he’s been here for a few seasons, if he lasts that long – to judge him any earlier just isn’t a balanced view. I do have an outside hope that, as both at Stoke and Wolves, his reign ended with new owners. Perhaps that’s why he’s here (maybe wishful thinking).
The truth is both men have had to work within the confines of a club with far less funding than its peers. Whether fans like it or not, football clubs are businesses and they operate in a highly competitive market.
Without extra funding to compete, I don’t believe long-term success was possible for either. We don’t have enough funding options to go into debt so we have to live within our means; something that is incredibly difficult to do in such a competitive market. It leaves restricted transfer budgets, wage budgets and pushes you down the pecking order.
Those who know me and have perhaps read some of my previous articles know I’m not Alex Neil’s biggest fan. I never bought the “bright young manager” PR from McNally. That being said, given where we are at the time of writing this article I can see the board’s logic in keeping him for the season.
It is probably too late this season for a new man to come in, review the squad and make the necessary changes. Also as cash is a scarce resource the reported two million is a luxury we can’t afford. A new man doesn’t guarantee any change in fortunes. It’s risky.
My frustration is that this should have been dealt with in the summer. The Barclay chanting Alex’s name at the end of last season was bizarre for me and, although I admired it in many ways, I didn’t join in, It gave the message loud and clear to the owners that we wanted him to stay.
On balance, the logic that he’s got us out of the Championship before wasn’t flawed.
We tried to follow the Burnley model of keeping the manager and players in post. It just hasn’t worked, which as the statistics show was the most likely outcome. So we shouldn’t be surprised.
The truth is hindsight makes experts of us all. I’ve always believed managers get too much credit when things go well and too much stick when it does not. Get things right and you’re a genius, things start going wrong and all those genius moves were luck and your bad decisions were the real you.
There is history of odd manager sacking timings though, which I suspect are due to the owners disagreeing with the other board members.
Having kept faith with Chris Hughton through January, to then sack the guy just before the end of the season made very little sense. To then replace him with Neil Adams made even less. And then giving Adams the job after he’d been relegated with those players felt like setting the guy up to fail and a cheap option.
And that gets me back to finances, which I think is the crux of why people feel so strongly. I hold both Delia and Michael in high regard, as all City fans should. I’m grateful for what they’ve done and wish them nothing but happiness, but I feel the best interests of the club now lay away from them.
Their succession plan fills me with dread.
It is this plan that has so many Norwich fans terrified for our future and has led to the strength of feeling and outpouring of anger. I just wish it was better mannered.
I actually admire the principle of their stand against modern football, I really do, but I think it will harm the club the purport to love and contravenes, in my book, the ethos of Delia and Michael’s article in The Times.
Unless we find owners with more financial clout, irrespective of the dangers that come with that, then Championship football should be the expectation. Anything else is a bonus. That’s the truth of it, no matter how bitter a pill that may be to swallow
Therefore, it seems only logical to me that the best outcome for the club would be to find a well-intentioned owner with more money to invest in order to move us forward. I’m under no illusions as to how tough a challenge that is, but the other option has been so ably demonstrated by Ipswich over the past decade and more (particularly last night). It’s not for me thanks.
How we do that is difficult, I do not want to see a return to the ‘Chase out’ days, but feel like it’s almost inevitable as fans are left with little choice when such change is needed.
I feel like managerial changes and players are almost a side-line as without a change at the top, I struggle to see how the club moves forward. Times have moved on since Lambert’s day and Championship clubs are far wealthier.
I would much rather Delia and Michael had a change of heart and sought new owners, I totally respect though that they own the club – it’s their choice – so therefore the only choice we have if we don’t agree is to demonstrate, which ends up harming the team, or not to go.
Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place!
On the subject of players, I’m not as upset by some by Martin Olsson leaving; he’s wanted out for a while and for me has been a shadow of his former self since the WBA snow debacle. That being said, we do need a replacement.
If we are able to get a decent Championship left-back and Henri Lansbury, for example, then it’s good business. If not it’s potentially catastrophic.
I also think, despite understanding the logic of keeping Neil, that the right call is to move him on. All but the most optimistic of fans have given up on this season, so get a new man in, give him time to assess the squad ahead of what needs to be a huge rebuild in the summer and we go again.
Chins up everyone – everything will turn out for the best,