Farewell then Peter Grant.
You're a very good coach,
But a manager you aren't.
In the end, even he had to accept that it just wasn't working.
There are all sorts of reasons why it didn't work ? some of which he had no control over, most of which he definitely did ? but Darel Russell inadvertently identified one of the key mistakes while paying tribute to him:
?I don't think that by bringing someone else in, there is more that they can do than what he did for us in terms of game preparation?I've worked under different managers and there's not many managers that will prepare you as well as he has done in such detail for a match situation.?
Immediately after the QPR shambles, Grant lamented the fact that the players ?weren't bright enough? to carry out his instructions even though ?we worked on it yesterday, we worked on it the day before, we worked on it the day before that?.
This sounds very much like over-complication to me.
It's an easy trap to fall into. Don Revie had his infamous dossiers. And I remember when we resurrected the Capital Canaries football team in the mid-90s, one of our players handed me (as manager, secretary and chief putter-upper of nets) a thick sheaf of paper a couple of weeks into our first season.
'This is how we should play,' he said.
It was an extraordinary piece of work. It was like one of those playbooks that American football sides use, with detailed diagrams showing where each player should move in every situation ? with the ball, without the ball, taking free-kicks, defending free-kicks, the lot. The formation was so fluid, it made the Dutch 'Total Football' approach of the 1970s look rigid and regimented.
It had clearly taken hours ? no, days ? to work out and write out. But I ignored it completely.
This didn't go down too well with the player concerned, but given that the team were still in the process of learning each other's names and I was trying to work out who could play and where, implementing it would have been way beyond our capabilities. It would have been like giving the blueprint for a nuclear reactor to a group of toddlers with building bricks.
After a few weeks, we settled on a solid if cautious formation (4-1-4-1), concentrated on keeping things simple ? and ended the season getting promoted.
You have to know your players' limitations. And if they really aren't bright, keep things simple enough for them to understand.
Russell went on to say: ?The only other thing he could have done perhaps is done less with us.? That, it seems, would have been precisely the right thing to do.
Of course, the people now under pressure to do the right thing at the club are the members of the board. 'Fans warn City bosses to get it right', ran one Evening News headline this week.
Not that the pressure and the warnings are especially helpful. I would assume that the board is already fully aware of the importance of the next managerial appointment.
More than once, a big creative brief has landed with a thud on my desk, swiftly followed by the full weight of senior management emphasising the need to do a good job on it.
The last time, my patience finally snapped. ?I'm so glad you told me that, because I had been considering a really sloppy, slapdash effort…? I said. It's a mystery why I haven't advanced further in my career.
It seems to me that due diligence was pursued when Grant was appointed. Dave Stringer was involved in the process, which struck me as a good idea, and I was happy enough with the outcome at the time.
Now, however, the board is being criticised for appointing an inexperienced man and for taking the cheap option. It's funny, you never hear Watford being criticised for that. And no one ever brought it up when Stringer had his success as our manager.
The thing is, hiring someone is not an exact science. There is never a guarantee that it's going to be a success. All a club, or any company, can ever do is appoint the candidate who seems the best one available at the time and then hope it works out.
At the risk of sounding like an apologist for the board, I also have to say that the amount of vitriol being chucked in their direction at the moment is well over the top. Criticism is fine, but some comments have gone beyond that.
Yes, they've made mistakes; Roger Munby acknowledged as much in his introduction to the latest club accounts. But I believe they've been honest mistakes.
You may take the view that, as with Peter Grant, there have been just too many of these honest mistakes, and that's fair enough. But I have no reason to think that they have done anything they didn't genuinely believe was in the best interests of the club.
Being a director seems a thankless task. In the unlikely event that I were ever to win a fortune in the EuroMillions draw (admittedly this would be slightly more likely if I ever played it), I don't think I'd try to buy my way on to the board now.
I would have done at one time.
If anything, I'd be more likely now to go for the Plan B suggested by a mate of mine: to buy Ipswich instead and run the club into the ground.
But let's try to end on a brighter note, because I think I've managed to find a cause for some hope this season. And that is, that the Championship is rubbish.
Look at some of the teams we've faced so far. Palace, Cardiff, Wednesday, Scunthorpe, QPR ? crap, the lot of them. Yes, three of them beat us, but that's because we're utterly crap at the moment.
The point is that our new manager doesn't have to turn us into a brilliant team to start winning matches; if he can just lift us from the level of utterly crap to merely crap, we'll be able to compete in this league.
Brilliant would be nice, though.
And finally? if you like to keep an eye on how City players fare after they leave Carrow Road, you may be interested in this snippet from the front page of the Guardian's sport section on Monday.
I've been meaning to send it to the Flown from the Nest website, but haven't got round to it yet:
?During Sunday's 2-2 draw at Sparta Rotterdam, Ajax supporters aimed abuse at Ten Cate, the club chairman John Jaakke and the defender Jurgen Colin. Regular chants of “Henkie, get lost and take Jaakke and Colin with you” rang around the away end as Ajax struggled to gain a point.?