Canary chief executive Neil Doncaster offered a line to which confused supporters would do well to cling to over the next 12 days. Likewise, potential managerial candidates take note.
For as the odds dramatically shortened overnight on the out-of-work Paul Ince succeeding Glenn Roeder as the Scottish Press insisted that Aberdeen boss Jimmy Calderwood was one to watch for the Carrow Road vacancy, so Doncaster inserted one, potentially make-or-break clause into the search for a new boss – they, or a leading member of their backroom team, have to 'get' Norwich and Norfolk.
In a way that Roeder and the Tyneside mini-mafia never really did.
And that will prove to be a large hurdle for one or two to overcome. Whether Calderwood (Jimmy) has even had two weeks on the Norfolk Broads as a kid might be of more relevance to this particular managerial appointment than many might think.
“Some would like to see clear and strong Norwich City connections and some yellow and green heritage and possibly a good understanding of the club, the nature of the club, the nature of Norfolk, possibly in a way that some others recently may not have fully understood,” said Doncaster, pointing a big finger at the way that Roeder's non-relationship with the supporters did so much to undermine his tenure of the club.
Given the store that the club's two owners, TV chef and writer Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn Jones, set on the Canaries being a 'community club' – and the way that Roeder dismissed that same community with, on occasion, all-too much contempt – it is going to be fascinating to see how the likes of an Ince or any of the usual other suspects play the 'Norfolk' card to their best advantage.
“There is a way of dealing with supporters and there's a way of understanding Norwich City Football Club and the county which is quite important,” added Doncaster, giving the biggest hint yet of what the latest Canary selection panel will want to hear in next week's interviews.
According to the chief executive's latest timetable, a short-list is due to be presented to the board on Monday with interviews due to start in the 48-hours thereafter. And all with a view to an appointment being made ahead of the home clash with Southampton.
Hit that target and the new man in charge will have a week in which to wheel and deal as best he can through the last hours of the January transfer window. In fairness, that's when most of the business is done.
In reality, Norwich's best bet will be with the old 'emergency loan' market which will open again for business a week after the formal, FIFA-approved window shuts.
Word was this morning that Ince may well be on a City short-list, but that was as far as anyone – 'The Guv'nor' included – had got.
In the meantime, the whole 'Norfolk' issue may yet prove to be a useful tool by which to judge a candidate's likely chances on.
Thus Jimmy Calderwood, fresh out of Pittodrie, wouldn't appear to have much going for him; unless, of course, he bolted on a Canary connection by way of his No2 or first-team coach.
Which would, therefore, leave – strictly, for example – say Calderwood (Jimmy) scracthing his head; looking for someone that might have strong links back into Scotland and, say, Aberdeen… whilst having all sorts of Norfolk DNA in his blood.
You can then apply the same logic to Calderwood (Colin) as he looks for a new gig following his departure from Forest and, of course, this morning's 'hot tip' – Ince.
Aidy Boothroyd scores well in that department – particularly if he can persuade Malky Mackay to sign up for his ticket.
The danger is, of course, that in the quest to tick such a box for the board's benefit you pair two people together that ave never met; or are known to each other by nothing more than reputation.
'But could you work with them…?'
'Of course, I've heard a lot about him; sounds like a good guy…'
Until the pair meet, of course. And if one is Bruce Rioch and the other is Bryan Hamilton then you are asking water and oil to mix and make a dream managerial combination.
It's all-too easy to get it horribly wrong; particularly if one suspects the other to be the real 'chosen son' of Norfolk; that he is only in as the warm-up act for the other.
But as next week's events unfold with the usual array of dizzying twists and turns; rumour and counter-rumour, so it seems increasingly apparent that any 'Team Ince' needs to tick that box; to have a 'local' on board.
Someone who knows the patch; the people. And the way you work one and speak to the other.
With both Mark Robins and Mark Bowen seemingly ruling themselves out of the running, there's two old boys who won't be heading home for the Saints game.
The trick now is to spot who might.
A trick that both supporters and potential managerial candidates alike will need to master before we all discover the winner of the 2009 Canary Managerial Stakes.
Who's the runner and the rider? And which one of the pair has a heavy dose of Norfolk in him?
Leave a Reply