City boss Glenn Roeder made one simple vow to Norwich's long-suffering supporters on the back of Saturday's 4-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday – that “they have a lot better to look forward to over the next couple of seasons”.
Who they can look forward to watching again in a Canary shirt will become slightly clearer over the next 48-hours as the Norwich chief starts his summer clear-out in earnest.
If only judging by this weekend's mood when the players were subject to a 45-minute lock-in on the back of an all-too familiar second-half collapse, Roeder is likely to be brutal in his thinking. Few will be given the benefit of the doubt as their Carrow Road futures come under the microscope.
Officials are bracing themselves for a long and frantic summer of transfer activity as Roeder starts to put Phase II of his Canary thinking into place. Phase I ended with Championship safety; now the gloves come off.
“I've known from weeks and months what I'm going to do,” said Roeder, speaking immediately after that final defeat of the season. The icy edge to his voice suggests it could be a lively time up at Colney as the end-of-season reports are delivered.
“The second-half might have confirmed who is tough and who is weak,” said the City chief, refusing to accept that the pressure was off now that the club's status as a Championship club was confirmed.
“Perry Groves said to me that we'll probably have our best performance now that the pressure is off and I said: 'Rubbish – you play at your best when the gun's at your head. Do or die.'” said Roeder, who laid out two requirements for this summer.
“I need to find players who can take chances – and defenders who don't make silly mistakes that lead to goals. Sounds easy…,” he said, after watching the traditional collection of soft strikes book Wednesday's place back in the division on the final Sunday of the season.
Speaking to radio reporters afterwards, Roeder suggested that the number of players heading for the exit could reach double figures.
Whether those included the five loan players now returning to their respective full-time employers was not made clear – but given that Ched Evans, Kieran Gibbs, Mo Camara, Alex Pearce and Ryan Bertrand would, in an instant, make for 50% of the manager's expected cull suggested otherwise. That he had other names in that particular frame.
Gibbs, of course, actually found himself whisked onto the bench for Arsenal's clash with Everton this weekend – a swift turnaround in his travel plans given that the teenager was at Colney on Friday preparing to travel to Hillsborough with the rest of the squad.
Darren Huckerby, Gary Doherty and Mark Fotheringham are the three biggest names whose future remains uncertain; of the three, you would put most money on Fotheringham being back at Carrow Road next season. Doherty might have other irons in the fire and without wife and kids in tow can afford to be more open to other suggestions; Huckerby could still go either way.
The first sighting of teenage keeper Declan Rudd could equal prove telling. “He's played for his country at Under-17 level and what an opportunity not to be missed,” explained Roeder, fresh from handing the 17-year-old his first reserve team start last week.
“I know the lad's character and I know that he's got a big future at Norwich.”
With Jed Steer following on behind, it leaves a big question mark over the future of both Matty Gilks and Steven Arnold. In fairness to the former, he is probably at the stage in his career when he needs first team football elsewhere.
Thereafter and there are a clutch of youngsters for whom the bell might be about to toll with Roeder having already placed a certain amount of faith in the next generation of Academy products – the likes of Korey Smith, Damon Lathrope and Luke Daley, all of whom now have pro deals to their name.
Which, in turn, puts the spotlight on the Rob Eagles and Matthew Hallidays of this world; ditto the Jarvis boys, Rossi and Ryan.
The latter has, of course, spent much of this season out on loan – most recently at Notts County. Two goals from 17 starts in League Two will probably do the one-time England Under-16 prospect no favours in Roeder's eyes; nor the fact that he is a youngster no more – Ryan is 22 this summer. Roeder will look at Jermain Defoe's loan spell at Bournemouth and compare and contrast.
The 'forgotten man' amongst all this is Simon Lappin at Motherwell who still has a year to run on his Carrow Road contract. Of the famous 'Plymouth brethren' who blotted their copy-book in no uncertain fashion away at Home Park, the 25-year-old former St Mirren left wing-back had more about him than the rest and has stated before his determination to forge out a career for himself south of the border.
The impression remains, however, that Roeder has other plans for the left-hand side of his team. With Matty Pattison in the building, Adam Drury due back from long-term injury and, in every likelihood, an eye on bolting a Bertrand or a Gibbs-type loan into his 2008-2009 thinking, Lappin looks likely to be one extra body too many.
Whether Roeder takes a longer punt on ex-Spanish international right-back Juan Velasco on the back of his hapless half-hour away at Coventry City may be something of a moot point – the supporters, in particular, might take some convincing that he was the right man for the job.
Given both remain firmly under contract, Messrs Spillane and Martin are likely to survive the summer. The latter, in particular, could find himself supping in the last chance saloon this summer after what, by any reasonable measure, has been an awful season for last year's boy wonder.
No-one doubts Martin's ability – he strutted his stuff in imperious fashion in that pre-season friendly against Lowestoft Town – it is the attitude question that haunts him. As in lots of…
Throw the names of Bally Smart, Patrick Bexfield and Andrew Cave-Brown into the mix – drop the retiring Dion Dublin's name on top – and it is very easy to see how Roeder can reach double figures. And not include a single loan player in his exit thinking.
Indeed, it is almost easier to work out who – in theory – will be here next August. Among the senior professionals that list numbers just nine – David Marshall, Jon Otsemobor, Jason Shackell, Adam Drury, Darel Russell, Luke Chadwick, Lee Croft, Jamie Cureton and Matty Pattison.
After that, all bets are off… everything, and everyone, is in the melting pot…