The news of Joe Royle’s return has received a mixed reaction Not surprised?
While some see it as the club appointing a 65 year-old who has been there, seen it and it done it and who has come in to lend Neil Adams a much needed hand, others see it as another example of the club relying on the ‘old boys’ network to fill their back room on the cheap.
I’m in the former camp on this one. I can see little in the Royle appointment to baulk at.
One of the accusations laid at the door of David McNally, Delia Smith and co is that, in Adams, they have appointed a manager with virtually no first-team experience. Well, in Royle it looks as if they have tried to address that deficiency.
While it is far from clear what exactly the role of ‘consultant’ will entail, the man himself – in conversation with talkSPORT’s Alan Brazil – spoke enthusiastically of having already started looking at the make up of next season’s squad with Adams and McNally. He also spoke of ‘looking forward to the derby’.
That to me sounds like a man with a ‘hands on’ role as opposed to one who will be there just to offer advice and a shoulder to cry on.
Whether it will work, and what *exactly* the role entails, will become clearer over the passage of time, but at least, for a forty-something like me, it signals the end of a spell where the heart and the head offered me conflicting messages as to where Joe should sit in my affections.
As one who can recall Royle’s successful, if not brief, spell as a City player at the back end of his career, I struggled massively with the sight of him in the the opposing dugout on derby day.
As we all know, the official Football Supporter’s Handbook rule 15, sub-section 4, paragraph 5 states that ‘all supporters must possess a venomous dislike of all individuals associated with their local rivals’. As such, Joe being in charge of ‘that lot’ left me in a quandary.
He is clearly a thoroughly decent chap (although recent experience tells us that matters not one jot), he’d scored goals in the yellow and green, is widely respected in the game, yet he wore a coat which adorned ‘that’ badge. Heart, head and the rulebook all pulled me in opposite directions.
But no more. His spell on the dark side is now merely a blip in an otherwise glittering career. The natural order has been restored.
What he also brings, on top of shed loads of knowledge, experience and contacts, is an awareness of what it takes to make the Canary Nation tick. Chris Hughton didn’t get it, and was part of his downfall, but Royle I suspect does.
Whether or not that will have any bearing on how successful he is in the role of ‘consultant’ will depend on the success of his working relationship with Adams, but both will hopefully understand our desire to see attacking football that is played in the opponents half and relies on City’s players accurately passing the ball to one another.
While that may sound a tad simplistic I’m not convinced Team Hughton fully embraced any of those concepts in the way we wanted.
Like everyone else, I sincerely hope season 2014/15 sees a return to those basic footballing values and while all the noises emanating from the mouths of Adams, McNally and Royle are encouraging, all will ultimately be revealed on the green stuff in August.
In the same way Big Joe’s appointment divided opinion, so too the decision to bring Gary Holt back to the club. ‘Three Lungs’ has returned to take up a role of assistant-coach alongside Mark Robson – who retains the role he took on for the final five games of last season – as we finally get an idea of what Team Adams is to look like.
A couple of questions still remain: Will there be an assistant manager? And who will be the ‘technical director? But at least things appear to be moving at last. Heck, there is even talk of players coming in rather than just of players clamoring to get away.
Whether Sky Sports presenter, and City fan, Simon Thomas had been given a ‘nod’ by Jim White when he tweeted, “Further to the #NCFC coaching news today, I’m led to believe a bid will be going in for Jordan Rhodes shortly,” we’re unlikely to find out, but it appears moves may be afoot. Or to put it in Jim-speak: ‘a bid is being prepared’ (whatever that means).
Rumours of a transfer request from Gary Hooper, while quashed by Adams, are sure to alert one or two in the Premier League, not least dear old ‘Arry who saw his plan to take the former Celtic man gazumped by City at the eleventh hour. While I’d be happy to see Hooper stay I’d not be too surprised to see him depart for pastures new in Shepherds Bush.
As ever, time will tell but finally, like it or not, things are slowly starting to take shape.