Initial thoughts of MFW’s team of writers on Alex Neil’s demise and where the club goes from hereSat 11 Mar 17 by Gary Gowers
We asked the team for their thoughts on last nights news. Here we go…
I think the greatest need now is for hope.
Even if the current Board don’t believe there is any hope that Norwich City Football Club can compete with the vast riches various owners now bring to the Premier League, at least let your supporters dream. Hope.
To that end, this time be bold, be different, be imaginative with your next appointment. Don’t look north of the border; been there, done that. Ronald Koeman’s appointment at Southampton was inspired.
Delia and Michael wanted to change the standard behaviour in football – change your manager every couple of years – and genuinely thought, until very recently, that Neil would be able to lead a revised and revived squad to a competitive season next time out.
They thought that because, in their dealings with him, they found him to be an exceptionally strong and motivated character.
It would have been toxic at the Blackburn match if he’d been allowed to soldier on but I know board members found yesterday (Fri) a sad day and none of us should revel in a man’s sacking.
Like so many other people, am struck by the timing. Alex Neil gave a full press conference, outlining, in particular, his plans for the weeks and months ahead, clearly and publicly. He must have had enough confidence in his durability at the club to feel able to say what he did – that, or maybe it was almost an application for his own job; a statement that declared he knew what needed doing and that he believed he was the best person to do it.
I’m wondering if the words spoken by Cameron Jerome last weekend didn’t resonate, somewhere, where it makes a difference, insinuations of a lack of respect or belief in someone and the ideas? In such instances you can’t so easily dispose of all of the mutineers, maybe you just throw Captain Bligh into a lifeboat with his followers and sail on without him, hoping you can make good what once went bad.
Like Bligh, Neil will come through this and return to the game, harder, wiser and maybe a little more cynical than he once was. I wish him well. As for who takes over, that’s another story for another day. But I don’t think that day, the story and the new debates that will come from it will be long in coming and that the news we finally get about the restructuring process next week will explain a lot.
This decision has been on the cards for some considerable time and I am grateful it has finally been made.
Thank you for that wonderful day at Wembley, Alex Neil. When the dust has settled, all us Canaries will remember you for it. CJ and Nathan scored the goals, but you were our manager that day. And let’s hope one or two of your younger signings benefit us in the future.
It’s probably in everybody’s interests that events have belatedly unfolded as they have. Vale (Spanish for cheers).
Pleased to see action finally taken. Disappointed with the classless handling of it, just a couple of hours after Alex Neil spoke at a presser about his plans for the summer.
As for what should happen next, I’d appoint Roy Hodgson till the end of the season with a view to him becoming Director of Football. I’d wager he could sort the club out.
Let him assess how to restructure and allow him to find a suitable manager. He has a wealth of experience and contacts within the game. He knows our owners. I can’t see a downside.
When he came I was gobsmacked, but he proved me wrong. Then all my fears came crashing home post-Newcastle away. And I was equally gobsmacked when the Barclay sang his name at the end of last season.
Then he finally made me believe again by getting us from the bottom to the top of the form table only for it to come crashing down.
And I’m gobsmacked (again) that the board has acted, but ultimately Alex probably earned the right to see if he could repeat his promotion success and the board waited until it was almost impossible before acting.
I’d have liked to have seen it sooner but now look forward to a new era in which the old guard are replaced. It will also be interesting to see the new structure; it screams director of football to me.
At 13:15 Ivo Pinto said it was down to the players to help him keep his job..
At 14:15 Alex Neil spoke as if he was keeping his job for the summer, and a player clear-out was on the way.. it didn’t feel like it was his last interview.
By 1730 we heard ’something’ might be announced (perhaps about a new CEO)
By 1800 Neil was gone..
Football clubs are incredible at complicating even the most simply scenarios. If it was a competition, Norwich would be top of the table!
I hope the next Norwich boss is as honest and open as Alex Neil..
But I also hope they have the experience and contacts book get the Canaries back the Premier League.
Crazy it took so long to happen. Clearly the right move albeit five months too late and arguably 15 months too late.
Glad a bitter and unsavoury demonstration at the Blackburn game has been avoided. I’ll forever be grateful to Alex Neil for Wembley in 2015 and being able to share that special day with my two sons – just as my father and I did back in 1985. Thank you Alex.
The removal of Alex Neil is not going to solve all that is wrong at Norwich City. The board must now be given time to reflect and ensure their planned restructure of the club is a positive one and the correct man is appointed as manager ahead of the final campaign with parachute finance.
In the end, inexperience told. Alex Neil was always a gamble given a season or so in the Scottish leagues, not matter how successful, does not a Premiership or Championship manager make.
That inspired start, based on a mixture of perspiration, inspiration but most importantly preparedness and tactical nous propelled us forward to the PL – but it was there that Neil came up against managers who also had that skill set, but with many years behind them. When Sunderland turned us over, it wasn’t because they had better players, but they did have a more savvy manager who knew how to win a crucial game more than Neil did. The board gambled that passion would overcome the lack of experience. It backfired.
When relegation happened, Neil faced a different challenge, another one he’d never come up against – motivating a group of players affected by relegation, with the millstone of being amongst the favourites for promotion hanging around their necks. That inexperience and consequent inability to deal with what lay in front of him surfaced again. It was obvious he was out of his depth, yet the board dithered and gambled again. They failed again, and left an honourable man adrift at the helm, unable to stop the inevitable tide which eventually engulfed the club. The result, no matter have difficult it was personally for some Board members, was inevitable and overdue.
His position had become untenable and if nothing else, the decision has spared us all from another round of hollow sound bites in a post-match presser.
Credit the board for finally putting us all out of our misery but the timing of the decision and the announcement is bizarre and once again suggests that the current issues extend way beyond replacement of a CEO and first-team manager.
The club is desperate need of leadership and direction and this whole sorry episode doesn’t suggest we’re any closer to finding it.
A complete refresh is needed from top to bottom at Norwich City.
The board have, once again, failed to act decisively and their ham-fisted, outdated approach to modern day football management is painful to watch. We’ve witnessed the club get relegated from the Premier League in completely avoidable fashion for a second time, and then like the dribbling messes on Week 1 of The Apprentice, the board have failed to recognise their mistake until it’s too late and it’s all a bit pitiful.
I’ve gone past the supporter anger and frustration in recent weeks and have just started to feel sorry for Alex Neil; a man who ultimately found himself in a job too big for him. Do not try and convince yourself that a 25 game run in 2014-15 makes someone the right choice to be Norwich manager….it’s like trying to say van Wolfswinkel just needed another game or two to come good. Some things just don’t work out. Now time to pick through the rubble, I can only hope the next choice of manager will be able to build something great.
With the ramshackle, uncoordinated approach that we’ve come to associate with all things Norwich City in the post-McNally era, Alex Neil departed just an hour or two after announcing his plans for next season.
As much as I feel for Neil, who despite results has been the one beacon of professionalism at the club in recent times, his departure was necessary for the club to move forward. Hopefully now a domino effect can take place and we can begin to right some wrongs behind the scenes and rebuild an organisation that has become increasingly dysfunctional.
I feel at this stage we need an experienced man to imprint his personality on the footballing side. We need a leader to take this club by the scruff of the neck.
More to come as events unfold over the next week.