Club owners Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn Jones tonight repeated their promise to step aside if any new investor walked through the doors of Carrow Road.
Given that they were hardly forming an orderly queue whilst Norwich City were a Championship club, how many Steve Morgans, Marcus Evans' or Mike Ashleys of this world might like to take a punt on a League One club is another matter after three goals in 30, wholly spineless minutes sent City tumbling over the edge this afternoon.
That 4-2 defeat at The Valley – coupled with Barnsley's 2-1 win at Plymouth – ensured that the third tier of English football now beckons.
And with bitter, heart-felt chants of 'Your not fit to wear the shirt…' being interspersed with calls to 'Sack the board!', so the search for someone to bear the brunt of the fans' rightful anger inevitably turned towards the boardroom.
Club chairman Roger Munby has already publically stated that, in his opinion, the board got it badly wrong with both the appointment of first Peter Grant and then Glenn Roeder. Delia tonight disagreed, but conceded that finding the right man for the job was an all-too tricky task.
“I would defy anybody sitting in this room now to sit round a table with a team of applicants to be the manager of a fotball club and to know which one is right,” she said.
The board will have to go through that process again this summer given that Bryan Gunn's initial, short-term contract has now expired. Manager and owners alike give every impression that a longer-term deal will be agreed – notwithstanding today's no-show at The Valley.
“It's just very, very difficult,” said Delia, taking issue with her chairman on the Grant and Roeder appointments. “I don't agree with Roger on that point,” she said.
Whether there will be a further body of opinion that insists the board got it wrong again when they handed the rookie Gunn the gig on the back of one, emotional success against Barnsley is something that will only emerge as the dust starts to settle; for now, he had no hair and they didn't seem to care was the chant in SE7.
But the Canary goalkeeping legend will need to make a bright and confident start to City's new life in League One if such suggestions are to be dispelled.
“I believe he's given his best,” said Delia. “He's been very enthusiastic; we know him very well; he's worked for us for years; we can see he can manage people; we know that he knows about football and we don't have any regrets on that front.”
But had his inexperience told? Should they have entrusted the club's Championship fortunes to someone rather longer in the managerial tooth?
“Since we've been board members, we've had managers with a lot of experience and managers with none,” said Delia.
“And how many managers start off with experience in their first job?” asked her husband. “And you might say: 'Why did we risk that?'
“Well, because Norwich have had – with one exception – managers with an awful lot of experience and only once have we really succeeded in that time. So I think it was a gamble worth taking.”
Grant would be the first exception to the experience rule; Wothington the one success and he had cut his managerial teeth at Blackpool before mopping up the mess that Bryan Hamilton left and then steering the club into the top flight.
Whether Gunn can return City to the Championship at the first time of asking is just one of a 101 questions still left hanging in the air.
'How did she feel tonight?', was an easier question for Delia to answer.
“Obviously I feel deeply, deeply hurt and upset – particularly for our supporters,” she said, with an intense round of 'What next?' likely to follow for the doomed Norfolk club.
Calls to 'Sack the board!' are all very well in theory; in practice, however, they rapidly come unstuck in the absence of any real alternative.
“We're still trying to find them; we're still talking to them,” said Wynn Jones, as their best-laid retirement plans go out of the window – along with the ?11 million they have already committed to the Canary cause over their 13-year stewardship of the club. A figure that only looks set to rise again if the administrators are to be kept at bay.
It is a bottomless pit. The oldest gag remains the truest – that the quickest way to lose ?30 million is to invest ?10 million in a football club.
“What the prospects are [of those talks], I couldn't honestly tell you,” he added. They found a common bond with Charlton director Richard Murray; their descent into the depths being even swifter than Norwich's. Southampton's exit from the Championship, of course, comes with an even bigger pill to swallow – the prospect of starting their new life in League One ten points adrift of everyone else after their slump into full-blown administration.
“We're trying everything we can,” said Delia. “There's nothing that Michael and I wouldn't do to bring that [new investement] in. And if it means moving aside, we'll move aside – that's not a problem.
“We enjoy our football; we'll be going to football even if we were in the Conference – Michael and I will be there and we'll enjoy it. But if it means Michael and I stepping aside so that the club can progress, not a problem at all.”
As ever, the rich were simply getting richer; the poorer only poorer. That said, Norwich should still have the wit and the wherewithal to finish above a Doncaster or a Blackpool.
“There is one, big rich league and the rest of us have to scrabble around doing whatever we can – in any way that we can – and until someone sits up and understands that, this is going to be the sad story of great football clubs like Norwich City and Charlton.”
It was the lack of fight in those opening 30 minutes that caused so much anger among the club's 3,300 visiting supporters; that in their one hour of real and urgent need, the players rolled over and died. And let Charlton help themselves to three, simple goals.
“It was very, very disappointing,” said Delia, admitting that it was last Monday night's 2-0 home defeat by Reading that crushed any real hope out of her. It was at that moment she heard the Fat Lady sing.
“I have to say that if I'm really honest myself, I was done and dusted after Monday night – after Reading. And I have spent a long time already being relegated because today had to be a massive miracle – even if we won, for Barnsley to have to lose for us to be safe.
“So I've had plenty of time now to get used to the idea.”
And what was her message to the club's supporters tonight?
“Our football club is our supporters,” she said simply. “And our supporters are full of spirit – and they won't be daunted.
“They'll come back and they'll cheer their team – and they'll be the best thing about today, probably.
“I feel confident in them. We now have to do our bit.”
And without a knight in shining white armour riding to anyone's rescue, for now there appeared to be little alternative but for everyone to soldier on.
“We've tried to serve them as best we can – and we've got to try and serve them as best we can and give them success,” she vowed.
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