Bryan Gunn's tenure at the helm of Norwich City Football Club lasted little more than six days of the 2009-2010 season after the Canaries this afternoon sacked the Canary manager in the wake of last Saturday's 7-1 defeat by Colchester United.
In the end, Tuesday night's 4-0 win at Yeovil Town in their Carling Cup first round clash cut no ice.
The damage was already done; the fury, the frustration and the bewilderment at events at Carrow Road caught up with him and the former Sheriff of Norwich was ridden out of town; the first managerial casualty of the summer.
And with the Premiership yet to even kick a ball in anger.
In a carefully-worded statement, the club's chief executive David McNally said: “Bryan has worked tirelessly for this football club for more than two decades, not least since taking over team affairs back in January.
“However the board met this week following Saturday's unacceptable record home defeat in our opening league game of the season.
“Our goal this season remains unchanged. We want to be promoted and the next manager of Norwich City will have that as his number one priority.
“The board after lengthy consideration unanimously felt a change was in the best interests of all parties concerned, in order to give us the best possible chance of achieving our objectives.
“We'd like to thank Bryan for his honesty and passion for the club, and for all he has done for us as manager and generally over the years. He has never given of anything other than his best for the Canaries and he will always be welcome at Norwich City.
“Ian Butterworth will take charge of the team for the game at Exeter, with the board already working on identifying the right man to take the club forward on a long-term basis.”
Clearly, the board felt that they had seen enough; events at The Valley on the final day of the season did not help the manager's cause.
And after a summer granting Gunn pretty much all he desired transfer-wise – including a souper-douper new keeper from Down Under – so it all went oh-so horribly wrong.
And therein probably lay much of the anger; that the Board would have thought: 'Look, we've done our bit… re-built our bridges… got you the biggest crowd in at Carrow Road for some 30 years… and then that…'
Of course, the other point to bear in mind is that the new-look Canary board have three members whose hands were 'clean' when it came to the original re-appointment of the Canary manager – McNally, new chairman Alan Bowkett and Archant MD Stephan Phillips.
All three might have wondered where this season was about to head on the back of that shocking Us defeat; all three might have been of a mind to act sooner rather than later; not to let the doubts and the anger fester for another nine days ahead of that home clash with Wycombe Wanderers.
Particularly if the Canaries returned to type at St James' Park tomorrow.
And then, of course, there is the growing influence of Michael Foulger; elevated to the position of vice-chairman this week, it was his cash which under-pinned Grant Holt's arrival; he can't have been too pleased to see where Banham Poultry's profits appeared to be going at five o'clock last Saturday.
That said, come ten o'clock last Tuesday night and the argument would have swung in the other direction; that City – and the luckless Gunn – looked to have plumped for a real winner in Holt the hat-trick hero…
Speaking to Gunn at his Exeter base yesterday afternoon, there was nothing to suggest that his days were numbered; that within 24 hours he would be gone as yet another City chief came and went.
All he saw aroumd the team hotel was smiling faces; of new friendships being made; new partnerships being forged.
He had – by general consent – bought very well over the summer; at least in shipping Ban Alnwick in on-loan off Spurs he had given himself a fall-back position re the hapless Michael Theoklitos. Which he took; and duly delivered results-wise.
“It has been black and white,” he admitted, talking about his own mood after Colchester and then Yeovil. From the depths of despair to the hope that it might have been a freak result; a never-to-be-repeated one-off.
Alas for a genuine Canary legend, it was hope that the Board didn't share; they couldn't afford a repeat; it was an opening day performance that plumbed too many depths; fuelled too much anger and fury.
“A week's a long time in football,” he said, unaware of the prophetic tone. “And, hopefully, come five o'clock this Saturday there'll still be smiles on everyone's faces.”
For at least one proud, Norfolk family, there will be few smiles and many tears as one long-held dream comes to a swift and sudden end.
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