In the end, it was what does for them all. Results.
And he knew it. That as the points and the performances started to dry up this autumn, it was not the fact that this formation didn't work or that player didn't fit that did for Peter Grant – it was results.
If 'It's all about winning games…' wasn't a word-for-word quote, it was the gist of most recent press conferences as Norwich scratched about for anything that might suggest that there was, indeed, a genuine play-off contender lurking somewhere in the midst of the unmitigated shambles that was Wolves.
That, I guess, lies somewhere near the heart of the problem – expectation. That after such a frantic and – on paper – such a fruitful summer on the transfer front, expectations had been raised.
The poison that had characterised the latter months of Nigel Worthington's reign was being leeched from the system by the arrival of a ?1 million goalkeeper, the leading scorer in the Czech top flight, the holder of the Championship's Golden Boot…
Couple even those three with the teenage promise of a Chrissy Martin and the talismanic presence of Darren Huckerby and the bar was being raised; it wouldn't be yet another season of mid-table under-achievement. This was the year that Norwich got out of this division…
As well they still might, of course. Though not quite in the direction that Grant appeared to promise.
And as fast as that transfer merry-go-round span, it still didn't address the one issue that most punters cared about – that centre-half vacancy. Silly things, but you keep that No5 shirt 'empty' when you announce the squad numbers in the summer and that raises expectations – expectations that, to this day, have not been met.
Certain events in the transfer market were, in fairness, out of his control – most notably the get-out clause exits of both Robert Earnshaw and Dickson Etuhu.
It was the latter that did so much to kill him. The Canary midfield powerhouse might not have been everyone's cup of tea, but on the basis of not really knowing what you've got till it's gone, Etuhu's exit has left City looking like the weak, wheezy kid in the corner of the playground desperately looking to keep out of the bigger boys way.
Dickson may have no-showed for every third or fourth game, but even if he just stood and did nothing in the centre of the pitch, he was still a big, physical obstacle to get round. You don't run through Dickson Etuhu. You have to run round him – and when you did, there was Youssef Safri waiting to mug you.
The two may never have got on; their individual chemistry might have been all too explosive – as Worthington found to his cost – but put in a team setting and more importantly put in the setting of the dirty street-fight that the Championship is, the pairing worked.
There was a nastiness there that enabled Norwich to play; that enabled City to stand up and fight dirty. Didn't do it every week; didn't do it when either Ramadan or the African Cup of Nations came to call, but 'managed' in the right way, the two offered the kind of solid, midfield platform that Huckerby needs to play.
Losing both – through ill-chance in Etuhu's case and whatever else in Safri's – and City have been mullered in the middle of the pitch all season long.
Nothing Grant has tried has worked. In part, that came down to sheer misfortune in losing the on-loan Jimmy Smith before a ball was kicked in anger. There lies one, huge: 'If only…'
And maybe in Russell/Smith lay the answer to Grant's prayers. Maybe. Because there in the heart of the team lay the other great conundrum that has done for two Canary managers now – how do you build a midfield to cope with the unique talents of Mr Huckerby?
It was a puzzle that Grant never solved; did he go three and tight? Or four and open? If he played three, it left him minus natural width on the right and Norwich looked and played all lop-sided; go four and with the extra width came that greater defensive vulnerability – particularly now that he had no Etuhu loping around in the middle of the park.
And that's when results kill you. Because you can tinker and tweak, pull and prod a team around as much as you like and if you're winning games, no-one will care. Most will barely even notice. When you're not winning games and events are slipping out of your grasp, so every tactical switch is pored over under the messageboard microscope. As it was away at Charlton – three big switches before half-time as Huckerby went from right to left to through the middle.
As big and as organising an influence as Dion Dublin is, at 38 years old he has one big chink in his armour – he hasn't got the legs for centre-midfield.
It seems an odd thing to charge a manager with – and I guess it is possibly what Grant might take away from a bruising first pop at management. But he was too honest for his own good; that he probably needs to be more dishonest. Not just with players, but with himself. Keep certain thoughts to himself.
There is one suggestion that does the rounds – that part of the reason Ryan Shawcross no-showed this summer was down to the fact that City wouldn't promise Sir Alex Ferguson that his defensive protege would play every game.
True or not, doesn't matter. The point is that it is one of those occasions when you simply say what people want to hear to get the boy in. Kid does well, he'll play every game anyway; doesn't do well and you just cross that bridge as and when.
But in the supporters eyes, you've filled the vacancy; got a No5 in; one less monkey on your back.
Dishonest with yourself – how does that work? That's when you go to Manchester City and get a performance playing a certain way – with width, with kids, with whatever. You lose the game, but there's a performance.
Come the next home game and in your heart of hearts you know that setting up the team the same way might be courting disaster; might leave you way too open. But when you're under pressure to produce, count the political Brownie points to be had from putting the same side out – they still lose, but you're covered. Politically. 'I just wanted to reward the boys for their good performance the other night…'
Punters nod their heads and the flak turns to the same set of players for not performing. If it wasn't that bust, don't always try and fix it.
But as ever, the biggest single quality any manager can have is luck – and, yes, there is an argument for saying you make your own; that if you don't address the centre-half issue and push injured players through games, then you lose them for two or three weeks. That sort of thing.
But as the dust settles and the search for a new manager gets underway, it would be interesting to ask history one, final question. Was the arrival of Sharon and Andrew Turner the best – or the worst – thing that happened for Peter Grant?
Hands clean in terms of his original appointment, along with every other department at Carrow Road so the 'football department' at Colney came under the Turner microscope.
What, exactly, did you do with our ?2 million loan? And when, exactly, do you expect to be challenging for the top six? I thought you said we had a big enough squad to compete? All of which comes back to expectations – and if you're not too careful, how easily they can ruin even the best of men.
Because you doubt the Turners got where they are today by hanging around and waiting for people to deliver on some big promises. They are in the results business; they're numbers people; cold, calculating, precise, demanding.
Delia and her husband Michael Wynn Jones are from a different business generation; they have a more i
ndulgent, patrician air
to them; sacking someone is not their style – just as it never really was with the Cobbolds at Ipswich. It sits very uncomfortably with them.
With the Turners, managerial turnover kind of comes with the turf; that's what happens in The City; that's what will happen at City if expectations aren't met. They don't do excuses. Those are the rules of the game.
And Peter Grant knew that. It's a results business. That's all it ever is.