In the midst of the 42 plus comments and counting in Mick’s piece this afternoon, there is a very telling exchange.
And it goes back to the last time a section of supporters sensed a dead man walking manager-wise, and that was Nigel Worthington’s final game in charge of the Canaries – the home game against Burnley.
The parallel with the impending visit of West Ham United and Chris Hughton’s struggle to convince a growing minority that he is the man to lead Norwich into mid-table obscurity along with all the other Norwich’s of the English Premier League wasn’t lost on some.
[And, btw, there’s no shame in ‘mid-table obscurity’ – it is anywhere from eighth to 17th in the deeply-flawed make up of said Premier League.]
Nor have the memories of the sheer poison that abounded that dank day faded.
November 3, 2013 at 5:57 pm
Was planning to take my young son to the West Ham game, but I fear the atmosphere in the Barclay will be so poisonous that it would scar his young footballing life. I remember the afternoon of the Burnley game none too fondly.
Which prompted a response later:
‘City fan says:
November 3, 2013 at 8:20 pm
Steve J (32): Good decision. That last game for Worthy was a shameful day and those laughing at his demise in that day got what they deserved – relegation…
…The worry is – and in 25 years of going to Carrow Rd I only really recall the trend starting in the Worthy era – people seem to enjoy the hatred. It’s just a game. That’s all.’
What is interesting – and isn’t about to add to anyone’s sense of good cheer tonight – is the timing that CityFan saw.
That it started in the Worthy era…
Because, for me, I think the other huge factor in play here – and not just here but at every other club – is the way that the web in all it’s various guises has empowered dissenting voices to gather strength and purpose; to find common cause with fellow like minds and set an agenda before anyone ever takes their seat in the Barclay Lower.
Since about the time of Burnley (h). Or a little before. The Wrath of the Barclay (sic) had been gathering voice for a couple of years, in fairness.
And why not? Be rich, indeed, for me to start decrying the fact that such platforms give people a chance to express their opinions.
And, of course, such ardent platforms aren’t peculiar to a football club – though the passion it arouses lends itself to it.
You follow any comment thread on a national newspaper and watch the vitriol flow. About the Palestinian issue; about gay marriage. And those, in theory, are the moderated ones.
There are a host of topics around which venom is unleashed and in the midst of which the more vocal tend to try and outdo each other when it comes to the vehemence of their stance.
But here’s the problem when it comes to a football club.
Protesters and dissenters – The Ranters if anyone wants to go back to the time of another civil war – have the ability to organise themselves like never before. In the midst of the ‘Worthy Out!’ wars some lad set up a website of the same name; now there is a hash tag that doubles as a rallying point for those demanding change.
But – crucially – they all know that they will convene together every other Saturday when their strength of web feeling can be swiftly replicated on a terrace; in a stand.
I used to sub the PinkUn letters page when it was on a print page. We only had two pages; say 14 letters all told by the time you threw a big pic of Robert Chase in.
You were unlikely to feel too much strength in those kind of numbers when you headed over Carrow Bridge the following weekend.
Now folk are emboldened; they have a far greater sense of an upswell in similar feeling. Because we all now have an online voice – and a strident online persona to match.
Judgement has been made on the message boards during the course of the week; it just gets delivered on the Saturday.
None of which will come as succour to the besieged Hughton. Nor make the atmosphere on the Lower Barclay any less challenging.
And it is, alas, a process that will repeat itself; vicious circles that will rear their ugly heads again and again at clubs across the land.
As for an answer, short of switching off the web 48 hours before a game I have none.
The people have been given a voice and, all too often, the people won’t be denied.
Welcome to the Coliseum, Chris…