City chief executive Neil Doncaster tonight urged the Football Association to press on urgently with any investigation into alleged match-fixing as the media storm surrounding Norwich's home defeat by Derby County merely grew in intensity.
The fact that the two teams meet again before the month is out is one deadline playing on Doncaster's mind; the fact that six months on from similar claims surfacing around the League Two clash between Bury and Accrington and, seemingly, nothing more has been said or done by the supposedly 'investigating' authorities merely fuels the City chief's concern that the smell could linger right through the winter if the FA drag their feet after The Sunday Telegraph handed over their evidence of supposedly unusual betting patterns on the game in the Singapore spread-betting market.
“It's absolutely vital to the good name of the club that the club, the officials, the players and the manager – everyone associated with it – that their names are cleared as soon as possible,” said Doncaster this evening, as the Canaries broke their earlier silence on the episode.
In part the club's hand has been forced by the 'outing' of their name and that of Derby's by the two Norfolk MPs – North Norfolk Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb and Norwich North Labour MP Ian Gibson – who used parliamentary privilege to their full advantage to bring the weekend's reports of a then unnamed Championship game right out into the public domain.
Suddenly all eyes were on them – their traditionally, squeaky-clean image under threat.
“It is disappointing – we've no idea what these allegations are,” said Doncaster. “Other than that they involve something going on in the Far East.
“And we haven't been contacted by the FA at all at this stage, so let's hope that any investigation is carried out sooner rather than later and that the club's name is cleared.”
Doncaster's disappointment also extended to the manner in which the names of the two clubs were thrown into the public arena. Both the MPs concerned would, no doubt, mount a stern defence around the flag of 'public interest'. Either way, the Canaries name is up in lights for all the wrong reasons – and was kept there today in various interviews on and off screen.
“It's very disappointing,” he said. “It's equally disappointing that rather than pick up the phone and ask us what's been going on, individuals have decided to use other forums to ask questions and have their point of view.
“If people want to know what's going on at Carrow Road, the best people to ask are those people that work at Carrow Road.”
His first priority, however, was to get the FA moving. He was very wary of a repeat of the on-going Bury-Accrington 'investigation' now six months old.
Bookmakers actually stopped taking bets on the Bury-Accrington clash on the Friday after an unusually high volume of wagers were placed on Bury to win.
Two goals from Shakers' striker Andy Bishop duly saw Bury win 2-0 – which then prompted all manner of rumours. Stag nights and end of seasons among them.
Speaking just days later, the FA's director of communications Adrian Bevington said: “We will look very closely at the information the bookmakers provide. We'll take any subsequent action with the Football League and the two clubs.”
Likewise, Accrington chief executive Rob Heys responded by saying the club would “co-operate fully” with any investigation.
“”We will speak to the relevant bodies at the FA and we will co-operate fully with any investigation, should one take place,” he said. “If there is any evidence of any wrongdoing, the people involved will be severely dealt with.”
So far, however, and it's been the sound of silence echoing around Soho Square.
“We've got a game against Derby County coming up in a few weeks time, so the sooner that this is put to bed the better. And I'll be doing everything I can to ensure that anything that is going to happen, happens sooner rather than later and we can all put this unsavoury suggestion behind us.
“But, as I say, we haven't had any contact from the FA so I'm not sure where these allegations are. But, no doubt, they'll be looking at any information that's been passed to them and taking a view.”