If anyone expected fisti-cuffs at this evening's Annual General Meeting at Carrow Road, they would have walked away disappointed.
Ditto, anyone who thought this evening's preceedings would have shed new light on the race for the Norwich City manager's job – other than the fact that the current caretaker Jim Duffy can handle himself very well in such circumstances.
He was direct, robust and to the point. It may well have won him a few more fans.
Otherwise, while the traditional Q&A session produced more pointed questions than in previous years and out-and-out cheer-leaders were notable in their absence, there was little of real substance for the 400-odd shareholders to sink their teeth into.
It was long-time supporter Keith Roads who prompted almost the lone heated moment of the night when he charged the club's principal shareholders, Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn Jones, of blocking the path to any new, inward investor by their majority share-holding in the Norfolk club.
That until the couple released their over-whelming grip on the club's shares, so no-one would be encouraged to pump the necessary millions into the Championship outfit until they could exercise some level of control themselves on the running of the club.
It brought a defiant response from Delia, pointing out again that, other than Andrew and Sharon Turner and long-time director Michael Foulger, no-one else had ever stepped forward with their hands in the pockets – either willing or able to throw the millions they have into the black hole that is Championship football.
?Anyone who can find idiots like us to put money into this club and get nothing back, can have it tomorrow,? said Delia, citing a figure of ?3.1 million as the money that the Smiths and the Turners together have pumped into the club over the last year.
With the formal business of the evening lasting less than 15 minutes – the re-election of both Delia and Wynn Jones for once prompting the odd hand to be raised against their nomination – the first questioner piled straight in with a Peter Grant question and how on earth does anyone put pride, passion and commitment into the players' performances?
That prompted the first vigorous defence of Grant, the manager and the man, with the board insisting that they have reviewed 'robustly' the criteria they will use to appoint his successor in the light of being nearer League One than the Premiership following his 12-month reign.
?At that time, he was head and shoulders above the other candidates,? said City chief executive Neil Doncaster, the man charged with securing his replacement.
Grant, said Doncaster, was in the eyes of the board in the same mould as an Aidy Boothroyd, a Gareth Southgate or a Chris Coleman – only for events to conspire against him in his first job in management.
?Sometimes things just don't work out for some managers at certain clubs – for whatever reason,? said Doncaster, offering Mike Walker's switch to Everton from Norwich at the peak of his UEFA Cup powers as one example; Paul Sturrock's move from Plymouth to Southampton another. Both should, in theory, have worked.
Wynn Jones echoed that sentiment. ?We still believe that he could have been a very good Norwich City manager – things just didn't work out for him, but we were all very impressed with the honourable exit that he made,? said Wynn Jones, as Grant fell dramatically and honourably on his own sword in the wake of last week's 1-0 defeat at bottom-of-the-table Queen's Park Rangers.
New director Andrew Turner – whose own election to the board, like that of wife Sharon, went through wholly unopposed – was equally adamant that Grant was the right man for the job, he just arrived at the helm at the wrong time. Just when the fates were lining up against him.
?He had all the attributes you need – in spades,? said Turner. ?He was a fantastic individual. He was just very unlucky – that's just the way the dice rolled. He did some very good things for this football club.?
Chairman Roger Munby admitted that ?we have let you down over the last three years? and vowed that: ?We've got to get ourselves out of where we are.?
Which, you suspect, will take (a) a spot-on managerial appointment and (b), as ever, big bundles of cash.
All of which brought the conversation round to the Turners' intentions. Are they in it for the long-haul?
They are, said Mr Turner, in it for the short-haul if they don't deliver on their promises of developing a sustainable business model for a community-based club of Norwich's ilk – ie, one that doesn't involve running at a loss – and, of course, restoring the Canaries back to the top flight of English football.
?We are very happy to be held to account,? said Turner. ?If we don't achieve that, if we fail then we would step down – without question.?
As for whether this summer's ?2 million 'loan' is likely to be followed by further substantial investment from the Central Trust couple, that line remained unaltered from Sharon's appearance at the annual accounts launch.
?We won't rule anything in, we won't rule anything out.?
Duffy's best moments were reserved for a defence of Darren Huckerby – ?If I was asked to pay money to watch football, he's one of the few players that I'd pay money to watch? – and a similar routine on behalf of Jason Shackell's captaincy qualities. Or rather, given time.
?As a captain you need to have the total respect of your team-mates,? said Duffy, readily admitting that the current City squad was well short of the sort of big characters he looked for in a dressing room.
Big characters he saw from afar in the team when Norwich got promoted. ?To get that respect of your team-mates, you have to earn it, but that can take time.
?Maybe Jason's not ready to take that responsibility – he's still very young. In two years time, he will be an excellent captain.?
As for who the next manager will be, there were precious few clues. Nor were the board even prepared to reveal what qualities they were looking for after the disappointing way in which Grant's reign ended and their own high hopes were painfully dashed.
?In the end it will be the man,? said Wynn Jones, suggesting that intuition will play as big a part as anything – that and some serious advice from ?senior people in world football?. Over and above Dave Stringer, one presumes.
?It'll be the man – and I don't think you can categorise what the man is. I just hope you trust us.?
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