If the Sun on Sunday is to believed the club are hoping to unveil Malky Mackay as the new manager in the coming week.
That said report comes from the keyboard of Charlie Wyett – formerly of this parish – gives it a fair bit of clout, with the same journalist reporting late last week that Neil Lennon was not in the running. Interesting.
All of which flies in the face of the bookies who, it seems, received a sizeable punt or two in the direction of the Northern Irishman, which led to his odds shortening to as little as 8/11 late on Friday. As I write Malky is now down to 1/6 so make of that what you will.
The club’s inability to close the deal by the end of the week has clearly irked a few but the odd day, or even a week, over their self-imposed deadline is hardly the end of the world if it means getting the right man. Besides, I believe the phrase – in a statement delivered on Monday – was ‘within a week’.
So, if David McNally is successfully able to close the deal we will soon have Malky at the helm and the clearout can begin. And the sooner it starts the better.
Already this week Alex Tettey – in an interview with Norwegian TV – has admitted he is ‘very open if other opportunities present themselves’.
Great. Just what you want to hear when the pain of your team’s miserable and listless relegation is still raw. Thanks Alex.
I suspect there are several in a similar boat and hopefully Malky – or whoever finds himself with the unenviable task of cobbling this current bunch into a proper football team – will quickly need to identify the ‘waiverers’ and get rid.
In fairness to Tettey he was probably just responding to a direct question, but as City supporters – who have neither the option or the desire to explore ‘other opportunities’ – it’s always a little hard to stomach when you hear of those who want away. Especially when said individuals have contributed to a relegation.
In the next few weeks a new generation of Sammy Clinghans and David Marshalls will emerge – and the Snake Pit will have some more names to add to the blacklist.
As ever, there are always exceptions to the rule and those who appear to show others how it should be done. Step forward John Ruddy.
By knowing what we now know of Ruddy’s exclusion from the England World Cup squad, one can imagine the desolation he must have felt last Sunday on that awkward, half-hearted, lap of ‘appeciation’ – especially after having given a goalkeeping masterclass that saved his team-mates from one final humiliation for the season. But the Big Man is made of stern stuff.
In a revealing interview with the Telegraph’s Henry Winter, Ruddy expressed his understandable disappointment as not being included in Roy Hodgson’s but tellingly, for City supporters at least, gave another masterclass – this time in tact and diplomacy.
“Unless the club turn around to me and say we’ve accepted an offer for you, then I’ll be a Norwich player come next season”.
What a top man. Are you taking notes Alex?
All of which doesn’t guarantee Ruddy will be here next season – far from it – but it does mean he isn’t going to jump ship at the first opportunity and, with a three-year contract tucked up McNally’s sleeve, it means if he does depart City will be duly compensated.
And on the subject of his England omission, it’s impossible not to feel sorry for him.
In truth, the general consensus is that there is barely a Rizla paper between Fraser Forster, Ben Foster and Ruddy. Each of them have had a good season – albeit Fraser has hardly been tested to the limit – but only one has previouly (and bizarrely) ‘retired’ from international duty only to reverse this decision when England appointed a manager he liked.
For that reason – and the fact the stats suggest he has out-performed his rivals – Ruddy should consider himself hard done by. I’d love to say his chance will still come – and it might – but it just feels as if this was his time. I hope I’m wrong.
If a bid acceptable to both the club and Ruddy were to come in, then it will throw up an interesting one. Is now the time to give the gloves to Declan Rudd ahead of Mark Bunn? Or will Ruddy’s faithful understudy finally get his chance? Or do we look elsewhere? Time will tell.
With regard to the re-building of the squad, in conversation with my 9-year-old son this week – during which we were doing the who should stay and who should go thing – it struck me just how few departures would actually bother me. Or is it just me?
In seasons gone by I can recall the almost tangible pain caused by the departure of heroes for pastures new. Martin O’Neill to Leicester, Dean Ashton to West Ham, Paul Lambert to Villa, even Holty to Wigan; all, for a host of different reasons, caused the stomach to churn.
Less so the class of 2014.
Naturally, there are a few I’d be sad to see depart – particularly the younger members of the group who I’d like to see form a nucleus going forward – but few would register in that way.
In fact, yesterday’s news that Ben Wyatt – him of the FA Youth Cup winning left-back berth – has been released and snapped up by that lot down the A140 will, I suspect, be the hammer-blow of the summer.
To see the inevitable disbandment of Neil Adams’ class of 2013 is disappointing in itself, but to see one of its heroes (who has been at the club since the age of nine) disappear 44 miles south has caused the brow to furrow. Not least because I really want to wish him well for future.
But – as we’re constantly told – that’s football, and it’s a fact of footballing life that a sizeable proportion of those lads won’t progress in the professional game.
So, an intriguing week awaits. Malky or no Malky I expect there to be new manager in situ by this time next week, probably with a technical director to oversee whatever it is that a technical director oversees.
Let’s keep calm and let McNally do his dealing.