And so the reign of our own Bonny Prince Granty has staggered to its bloody and tragic end. An end that was about as glorious as listening to the last bit of air being squeezed out of a set of bagpipes.
Fatally wounded in the? ahem? battle of Loftus Road our brave wee Scot gave a “I can do no more, I blame the men? kiss me Duffy” speech and slipped silently away to die. Once more our fine City was without a regent and a bruising war of words and recriminations was about to envelop us.
“It's the board's fault,” cried some, “it's all down to Worthy?.. still,” boomed others, “Grant was just a plonker,” lamented the rump and, as ever, somewhere in the middle lay the truth.
Let's make no mistake, Grant had to go. He had failed abysmally to build a robust side or mould it into anything resembling a decent football team. At Wolves and again in West London we were as poor a Norwich side as Stan can recall, and that's not something said lightly. There was absolutely nothing to redeem either the players or the men who put them on the pitch in those two games. It really was staggeringly and disgracefully bad.
Despite subsequent protestations from all and sundry that there was no rift, and that the players were with Grant, this clearly wasn't the case. They wanted him gone. Whether their performances were subconscious or a deliberate attempt to remove the manager is anyone's guess, but as happens at all levels of football the world over, players demonstrate their feelings in one way? with the ball at their feet.
Hucks, Martin, Drury, Cureton et al just weren't happy and it showed every time they crossed that line and entered the grass arena, if picked. “They are professional footballers, it shouldn't matter.. Don't pay em,” Stan hears Disgusted of Fakenham cry, but it just doesn't work like that, they will just pack their boots and go elsewhere.
Managing professional footballers is a difficult business, make no mistake, but Grant faced no more or indeed less problems than his contemporaries, he just couldn't do it. He made little mistakes here, big mistakes there and sadly whopping great mistakes everywhere.
At times, tactically, he made a simple game look more complicated than beating Gary Kasparov at chess. Notebook in hand, forever shouting and pointing, his charges often looked even more confused than the crowd did by his tactics. He certainly confused his own side more than he ever managed to confuse the opposition.
His man-management was also dreadful. It's managing those big characters that marks the good managers from the also-runs and Grant just couldn't do it and appeared set on building a side full of eager and grateful Scots rather than one full of, at times, temperamental quality.
He even managed to describe our support as “a disgrace” within a couple of months. Not the way to win hearts and minds was it?
All this said Grant isn't a bad man by any means. A bad manager and therefore by definition a bad choice by the board, but not a bad man. He meant well, he tried, and boy oh boy did he try. He worked tirelessly and he talked, and he talked and he talked. Sadly none of this was anywhere near enough.
As the storm clouds gathered and the performances deteriorated Grant did what he does best, he just tried harder and worked harder with an even greater zeal. Sadly it appeared to be these “qualities” that had done for his hopes of getting the players to follow him in the first place. It was a tailspin that was always destined to end in tears and with the wail of a deflating bagpipe, and so it proved.
Stan wishes Grant well. It took courage to admit he had duffed it up, even when every man and his dog could see he had. Also, few people who have met him will say anything other than he was a decent and honourable man and by all accounts he's a good coach.
Sadly he has learnt this year that managing at this level is presently beyond him, even more sadly he's learnt it at our expense and ultimately that must point back to those that hired him in the first place. Troublingly, if the board make the same mistake again in the days ahead it's the delights of Lincoln here we come.
No Pressure then.