There appeared to be a lot of confusion about how we should reorganise. Alex Neil was in the technical area, but Phelan, Three Lungs and goal-keeping coach Tony Parks were giving instructions too and Russ Martin, the skipper, made at least two return trips to the side of the pitch for clarification.
McNally’s normal modus operandi is to consult senior players. He ignores extreme opinions but seeks to gauge the consensus of the sensible. Then he asks the manager what plans there are to address flaws or failings.
It needs to be remembered that the Barclay and Snake Pit were magnificent during Saturday’s game. The support was loud and stirring. From my season ticket seat in the Community Upper, it provided goose bump moments.
If you think Delia and Michael don’t really care or understand, then you and I will never agree and I can’t be bothered with you. It would be like trying to reason with nutters who swear Elvis is working at the Vauxhall Caravan Park on the Acle New Road. If, however, you know that Delia and Michael have always striven to do the best for the club, then that is a proper starting point to consider the work of Neil Adams.
The first time I heard McNally speak in public – at a meeting of the Capital Canaries days after that 7-1 humbling by Lambert’s Colchester in August 2009 – he banged on about needing to reduce debts. He spoke more about that than anything else.
The light touch of the Wolves stewards – only enforcing the law (and it is a law) where the standers were being deliberately inconsiderate to others – was helpful to the majority of supporters. We all care about the same team. We all give our money, our time and our emotional commitment to the same cause. Surely we can ALL show basic decency and politeness to each other?
One of the enduring myths about last season is that Chris Hughton didn’t play to RVW’s strengths. I am not trying to resurrect the Hughton argument. I lost that one and don’t want to be divisive ahead of a campaign when unity in the stands will be especially important.
Adams only earned one point from those games but the club hierarchy was impressed with the way he tackled a formidable run of fixtures – and also how he dealt with two undisclosed disciplinary issues within the squad.
Only a dark hurt deep in his eyes betrayed the bleakness Hughton was feeling. Only private, whispered conversations revealed Delia’s mood. She was in pieces, but with practised sincerity, she produced smile after smile as countless fans asked her to be in their “selfies”.
Norwich were winning. Bringing Howson on would enable a switch to the 4-2-3-1 system which was so effective in a run of games before it was abandoned with disastrous results to accommodate Wes at Villa Park.
I understand that the only circumstances in which they might be prepared to part with Hoolahan in this transfer window is if they could sign someone better at his sort of role – operating centrally just behind the main striker.
City got the best “value per point” in the entire Premier League last season under Hughton. Finishing 11th cost just over £500,000 per point. Compare that with Chelsea, who blew £5m a point!
The most successful manager of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson, was loathed by fans and very nearly kicked out – before turning things around just a tad. A year ago Arsenal fans were telling Arsene Wenger he didn’t know what he was doing. Now they top the table.
He seemed indestructible, so the news that his brain has been dying, one cell at a time, is crushingly sad. But I am fortune enough to have a personal recollection which has made me smile down the years and which is help at this most mournful of times.
Hughton is not inherently cautious or defensive. How could ten different Tottenham managers have valued his coaching if he does not prize attacking play? Yes, he likes an organised defence. And he believed that was the area which needed improving when he took over at Norwich.
There were more misleading stats from the game. One set said Everton had enjoyed 67 per cent of the possession: an extraordinary figure for a visiting team. Opta, the company used by the Press Association and the BBC, later declared Everton’s possession to have been only 56 per cent – still good but not so substantially better than Norwich to raise alarms.
I can’t think of him without remembering the demolition derbies. In the first, at our place, Holty’s hat-trick epitomised his attacking qualities: never giving defenders time to think or room to move, always ready to indulge in low-level illegality to better an opponent, always alert to an opportunity, always striking the ball like someone who knows he can score rather than someone who hopes he might.
How could Chelsea fans stomp out on their kids? How could they become so sated by success, so flush with a sense of entitlement that they wouldn’t stay to the finish and applaud teenagers? It will never be like that at Norwich. We remember what failure feels like, so when success comes, boy, it feels so good. But we can’t take it for granted.
If Sunderland had won, Norwich would now be 15th, with confidence crushed. As it is, it is Sunderland who are 15th, four points above the drop zone and with belief of supporters and probably players deflated. As I have said on this site, Norwich will always have to chisel out every point in the Premier League and must treat every point won away from Carrow Road as a triumph.
I think of games under Glenn Roeder when Darel Russell was pressed into service as a striker. I shudder at the recollection of the string of genuine(ish) forwards upon who we invested our hopes: men like Elvis Hammond, Chris Brown and Paul Dalglish. I think of players in other positions – Julien Brellier, Steve Walsh and Simon Whaley among them – who stretched my determined optimism to breaking point.