A shell shocked Bryan Gunn tonight issued a heartfelt apology to the Canary Nation after today's 7-1 horrow show against Colchester.
Over an hour after the final whistle, Gunn walked into the media room at Carrow Road still in a state of disbelief and as a dyed-in-the-wool Canary himself, he will take this one harder than most.
It was a depressing day all round, especially when you have two supporters running onto the pitch to vent their anger at Gunn even before the 30 minute mark.
After relegation from the Championship in May, there was a real feeling that City were beginning the long road back and after a promising pre-season both on and off the pitch, there was a feel good factor around the city and in the stands before kick-off.
In truth, the noise was deafening as the teams took to the pitch. But it took just 10 minutes for the bubble to burst when Jon Otsemobor's sloppy back pass and Michael Theoklitos' failed attempt to catch the ball left Kevin Lisbie with an open goal.
As you all know, it got much, much worse for the Canary faithful and to his credit, Gunn's first act in the after match Press Conference was to say a big fat sorry.
“I think we should start by apologising to the supporters,” said a clearly upset Gunn.
“After the hard work that has been put in during pre-season, with the purchasing of the new players that we've brought in and the high hopes that everyone had, we've learnt a harsh lesson today.
“We didn't defend well as a team. Individual mistakes have been made today but as a team we didn't defend well at all.
“You can look at all seven goals and find something wrong with them and we'll be doing that again tomorrow when we look at the video. We'll watch through all 90 minutes of the game and we'll look at where we've gone wrong individually and as a team.”
There was a theory from the floor that complacency had set in. Did this City side, all-conquering in pre-season, believe they could roll over their East Anglian neighbours on their League One debut?
Well if they didn't realise before, they do now. This isn't going to be a walk in the park. The phrase 'wake-up call' was designed for days like this.
“This is the reality of League One and we don't take anything for granted,” Gunn continued. “Our unbeaten run from pre-season is over and we have to react to that very quickly. But we've got a great opportunity to do that at Yeovil in the Carling Cup.”
After such a crushing defeat, attentions will now turn to how the City squad, so many of them new arrivals, can pick themselves up. It won't be easy. But the Canary chief promised his summer rebuilding programme would be based around adding 'leaders of men' and 'winners' to his ranks.
I guess we'll find out soon enough…
“We need to find out the character of the players now. We've brought a lot of new faces in and we're still finding out about each other. But hopefully we'll find out who can respond very quickly to a major setback like this.
“I do not doubt the character of the players I've brought in. I signed them because I believe they've got character as well as skill to make sure we challenge in League One. Obviously today, that wasn't evident.”
It was certainly a tough day for Aussie keeper Theoklitos but even if he was celebrating events at Headingley today, he will have nightmares about this performance in the nights ahead.
He was at fault for at least three of today's seven but Gunn is confident he'll bounce back. And if I was a betting man, I'd wager that he'll be in the starting eleven for Tuesday's Carling Cup clash at Huish Park.
“Just like all the other players, his character will be important in how he bounces back from this. Micky Theoklitos has got character and that is the reason I brought him to the club.
“He'll be just as disappointed as the rest of the players in the dressing room and probably take it more personally as a goalkeeper. But he can get a clean sheet next week and make up for it.”
It was vital for City to get off to a flyer to kill off any bad vibes from the terraces but even though today was the worst possible start, Gunn is still confident the Canaries can achieve their goals.
“We've just got to rebuild the fans' faith in what we're trying to do here. That was obviously dented in a big way today but you have to win the right to get the fans' approval here. We know that. It's down to the players to realise that now.”
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