The morning after the night before, City Chief Executive Neil Doncaster was in a pragmatic and positive mood as he explained the departure of Peter Grant last night. Let's get one thing straight, the Scot was not sacked and he did not resign.
After the last month ? in which City have not won a game and failed to find the net in over nine hours ? there was an air of inevitability about last night's announcement. The latest lacklustre performance, and result, at Queens Park Rangers on Monday night, meant something had to give.
And all ? including Grant – at last night's board meeting were in agreement, he had to go.
“It was a joint decision,” said Doncaster, speaking to the assembled media at Carrow Road this morning. “Sometimes in football, people use the phrase 'mutual consent' when they really mean a sacking, but in this case it was most definitely a mutual agreement.
“Peter came and had a long chat with us after the game at QPR and I spent a lot of time with him. The Chairman Roger Munby went down to the dressing room as well ? as he does after each game ? and there were long discussions that took place with Peter.
“The bus didn't leave Loftus Road for some hours and in those discussions it was agreed that we would meet again the next day. At that meeting at Carrow Road the next day, after a few hours, we came to the decision at 8 o'clock last night that a parting of the ways was the best way forward for the football club.”
Whether the Canaries needed an old, experienced head to steady the ship almost a year ago when Grant replaced Nigel Worthington is a question that will never be able to be answered. Hindsight is a wonderful thing after all, but Doncaster said it was simply just a case of things not working out for one reason or another.
Injuries have not helped that's for sure. But for a few weeks now, you have felt it wasn't meant to be.
“When the board sat down last year and discussed the qualities we were looking for in a manager, we came up with a list of what was important in a Norwich City manager and Peter emerged as the best candidate to take us forward. But sometimes things just don't work out. Peter was the first to acknowledge that the balls just haven't bounced for him this year and he has not had the best of luck on many, many fronts, especially with injuries.
“I know he wouldn't want to use that as an excuse, but he wanted to be honest with us about the dressing room and his abilities to turn things around. It was after that we decided to part company. Was it a mistake to appoint him? Well, he had a wealth of playing and coaching experience.
“We identified the attributes that we thought were right for the club at that time, and Peter fitted the bill. But what happened is part and parcel of football. Sometimes, things just don't work out and we now have to move forward.”
Last night's crisis meeting at Carrow Road can't have been easy for anyone. But Norwich City don't really do fall-outs and Doncaster insisted the split was amicable and that he held Grant in high esteem as a coach and man, although, interestingly, he didn't use the word 'manager'.
For the Scot, he must dust himself off and go again, but there will be plenty of sadness over leaving a job he was so desperate to succeed in. Whatever you say about the man, he put his heart and soul into the job and it was certainly not for the want of trying.
“It was a difficult meeting as you can imagine, as it would be for anyone leaving a job they love, a club they wanted to manage. But it was business like and we agreed calmly on the best way forward for the football club. I want to pay tribute to Peter. He didn't need to do what he did yesterday; he didn't need to be as honest and as forthright about his ability in the circumstances and how to turn things around.
“But his honesty and integrity is a measure of the man and that has now enabled us to go forward and start the process immediately of trying to get ourselves out of a situation we clearly don't want to be in.”
One point Doncaster was keen to stress though was the inaccuracy of the ?600,000 pay-out figure to Grant that was bandied about in certain quarters this morning. A similar figure was mentioned in relation to Worthington's departure almost a year ago and it would be surprising to think the powers that be would have had their fingers burned in the same way again.
“The figure that has been quoted this morning of ?600,000 is not a ballpark figure, it is way wide the mark. I don't think it's fair to anyone to give any more detail than that but I would say that that figure is way over the mark, and not at all true.”