Troubled waters for City. More of the same on the road, live on Sky, and 2016/17 can’t end soon enoughThu 6 Apr 17 by Gary Gowers
Several people suggested I copy and paste the piece I wrote on Sunday morning that reflected on the Villa defeat.
Having re-read it, it really would actually work, even to the extent of bemoaning the McGovern/Bennett double-act and their collaborative role in at least one of the goals.
Try it. It’s here. Scary stuff.
So, I can’t promise anything particularly original in what follows, but here we go.
That City finished up second best to one of the division’s best sides was no surprise – the gallows humour of the Yellow Army had kicked in the moment it dawned on us that the next potential humiliation was to be played out on Sky – but I didn’t expect them to reveal yet another new, innovative way to lose a football match.
To concede three goals in the space of seven and a bit minutes from a position of strength was going some even by Norwich City standards, even though the capitulation had an all too familiar ring to it, but to watch it all unfold live along with the rest of the nation was excruciating.
Most of the implosions have been revealed to the wider footballing public on a 30 second highlight reel. Not this one. Every missed tackle, every stray pass, every defensive lapse was played out in all its ‘glory’ for the delectation of anyone who’s not part of the Canary Nation.
It was humiliating – there’s no other way to describe it. And not remotely fun to watch – for us.
Quite the opposite in fact. And one can only wonder what was going through Delia’s mind as the cameras zoomed in for a close-up following the third goal.
The board typically copped most of the flak – and even with a new structure in place there’s clearly some serious soul searching needed from the very upper echelons over the way this club is to be funded – but to focus on the board alone deflects unreasonably away from a set of players who are in far too many cases are unworthy of the shirt.
Some will point to refereeing decisions not going City’s way while others bemoan the lack of fortune on the road, but none of it washes when trying to explain away twelve defeats outside the comfort of Carrow Road.
Yet a simple analysis of Huddersfield, both at Carrow Road in December and last night, portrays the headline differences between the two sets of players: one hungry, vibrant and energetic, the other arrogant, self-entitled and listless. The 5-1 aggregate score is a fair reflection.
And there’s nothing that Alan Irvine or Russell Martin can say to make it right. It isn’t good enough, hasn’t been good enough all season, and won’t improve while the current group of players is still a thing.
There have been worse City sides, and we’ve collectively been through worse as a club, but seldom can I recall watching such a spineless, dejected and dispirited collective wear the yellow shirt – and yes, in that I’m including the 2008/09 ragtag collection of loanees and rejects cobbled together by Glenn Roeder.
Those who deserve and have earned a Norwich City future are in the minority but my biggest fear is the summer overhaul of which we all dream will be unachievable in just a few short months, and along the way there’s also the fear that those we wish to keep hold of will be attractive to others. Given the club’s pending financial position we’re bound to be in ‘willing to listen to offers’ territory.
We’re entering troubled waters and I really hope Stuart Webber is fully prepared for the maelstrom he’s about to walk into.
While a new shape to the organisation has offered hope when there appeared none, to get it right at the first attempt is a big ask. And upheaval of this kind takes time to settle even if they do get it right first time.
2016/17 can’t end soon enough. 2017/18 can take it’s time too.