In the end, a manager is paid to manage. It's his call; his choice. It's as simple and as straight-forward as that.
Fortunately, for all of us that have been lucky enough to watch Darren Huckerby go to work over the last four-and-a-bit years, he was neither simple nor straight-forward.
And in age in which footballers can all too often come out of the same box mumbling the same lines, his glorious unpredictability – with either a ball at his feet or a microphone at his lips – was one of life's little pleasures.
It somehow made up for a long and sodden haul up the M6 to Burnley – just to see his lordship's reaction to the news that he would be returning to Turf Moor on a Tuesday night. Weather permitting.
Whether after a season in which the hip had creaked a little too often, the 32-year-old City favourite was worth another one-year contract will be the subject of fevered debate for much of this summer – if not beyond. Particularly if Glenn Roeder's side are missing some serious spark come the autumn.
In a way, whatever anyone else says or thinks is all but irrelevant. Deep within the Colney boot-room was today's decision to release the two-time City Player of the Year made; a place where possibly only two other mortals dare to venture – and whatever Lee Clark and Paul Stephenson had to say on the matter, the likelihood is that Roeder would have taken counsel with just one person before setting Huckerby free. Himself.
Because if there is one lesson to be learned from Roeder's first seven months at the helm is that he remains firmly his own man; he is more than willing to live and die by his own hand; to trust his destiny to no-one but himself.
It was there for all to see in that home clash with Queen's Park Rangers where both the newly-crowned Player of the Season Dion Dublin and his runner-up, Darel Russell, started the most important game of Norwich's whole season on the bench. Kieran Gibbs, Matty Pattison, Jamie Cureton – most punters and experts alike would have permed two from those three to accommodate the return of Messrs Dublin and Russell.
Instead, Roeder went his own way – and reaped his reward as fortune favoured the brave. Defeat that day and all manner of League One chickens would have been coming home to roost today if events had transpired as expected at Hillsborough. As it is, the history books will now have Roeder down as the man that pulled the Norfolk club off the edge of the abyss; the fact that he made such a big, big call in the midst of the game that really mattered will soon fade from memory.
He came to Norwich to do a job – and he did it. And his way, too.
Having such courage in your own convictions is an all-too rare a quality to have, but it comes at a price – that if you fly too far in the face of public opinion, then that can come back to bite you. But that's the risk you take; Roeder has long made it clear that he likes nothing better than to lead his life on the edge; to live a life less ordinary; not to take the easy way out.
And that's what handing Huckerby another year-long deal would have been – the easy option. It is, after all, what the great majority of us would have done; this writer included. But then I'm one for a quiet life.
And nor are any of us in possession of Roeder's budget for this summer; nor do any of us know what promises might have already been made by his friends in high places.
Could Huckerby have done a job in this division next season? Yes. Undoubtedly. For the first half-an-hour of Sunday's 4-1 defeat at Wednesday, Owls boss Brian Laws will have been thanking his lucky stars that he only had to meet Huckerby twice a season; in full cry and with Dublin on hand to unlock this door and that, the City winger still rips people to pieces.
He remains fit to the point of obsession. And while he might have had the odd niggle here and there, he knows his own body well enough to know that there's still a couple of years left in the tank.
It is, however, not so much whether Huckerby could still do a job in this division, rather what job you ask him to do in this division – that's where Canary punters and City manager are likely to go their different ways.
Because there are certain tasks on a football pitch that are simply not in Huckerby's DNA to do – he's a marvellous, maverick of a magician. That doesn't head a ball. Get the ball out on the right and Huckerby's first instinct is not to throw himself at any far post cross forehead-first – instead he checks out, hangs out wide on his favoured left and waits for the ball to spill back out of the box again.
Likewise, he is not about to dig a full-back out of trouble on a regular basis. And the wiser heads on the circuit know that – Steve Foley has Norwich's card marked every time City tangle with the neighbours. 'Get into the space behind Hucks…' is the last instruction any Town player hears en route to derby battle.
It can leave Norwich too open for many a manager's tastes. In fairness to Roeder, he stuck with Huckerby ahead of Lee Croft in his one-winger policy of late; the trouble comes when – for example – you are looking to dig a Kieran Gibbs or a Ryan Bertrand out of a Premiership club for another season and, somehow, you have to accommodate both young starlet and one-off wing warrior into your plans.
It doesn't quite work; neither round peg for round hole nor square peg for square hole, Huckerby's unique talents continue to defy and delight in equal measure; tactically, both part of the problem and part of the solution, he just adds this glorious imbalance to any City side.
And there is a real sense of Roeder wanting to start afresh – to build a team of his own choosing rather than endlessly trying to square a circle of someone else's making.
Not that Huckerby's arrival wasn't inspired – it was. His arrival in the autumn of 2003 – fresh from Nigel Worthington having played his Henderson-Jarvis strike duo card in that Carling Cup trip to Northampton – sent a bolt of belief through the Norfolk club that would take Norwich to the title. His one-man crusade to get back to Norwich whatever his agent, Phil Smith, had to say on the matter was a joy to write and to behold.
On and off the pitch, he lit up that season to an individual extent that no player since has ever matched.
Indeed, few before have ever come so close. A Jimmy Bone here, a Martin Peters there. That is the sort of company that Huckerby should now be keeping if his next Carrow Road appearance proves to be a 'Greatest Ever' gig.
In the Premiership and his star never quite hit the heights that it does 'down below…'; up there where the quicker full-backs are, his searing pace would find its match. But what will keep Huckerby in that all-time Hall of Fame was what he did next – he stayed on deck; didn't jump ship; he bought into the whole package – the club, the city and the county in a way that few others of his talented ilk have ever done.
Robert Green had earned his ticket out; others were abandoning ship before all was actually lost. Hence, for me, his right to say his piece every now and then; to raise the odd, awkward glance over Dickson's exit or Safri's departure.
How the situation could have been engineered to give Huckerby his final farewell in front of the adoring faithful is for someone else to answer; likewise, the answer as to whether or not it was the right decision to let his lordship go will only come part-way through next season when a team of Roeder's own making makes its Championship presence felt. Or not. That's his call; his challenge; his walk to walk.
But one thing is, however, certain. For the sheer, electric thrill that energised Carrow Road every time D Huckerby picked up the ball
some 30-yards inside his
own half, a wary full-back already in full back pedal, he will be a very, very hard act to follow.
If not impossible. He was a man, and a player, apart. As, in his own way, is Roeder. That they should part, therefore, ought not to be too much of a surprise, even if the initial shock still lingers long into the evening.