The dismissal of City’s first-team coach, Mark Robson came a little out of the blue.
As one who has recently trodden the same academy to first-team path as Neil Adams, the termination of his contract – delivered in just 62 words on the club’s official website – has offered few answers but raised questions aplenty.
Typically the conspiracy theories and brickbats are already flooding social media but, for this one, I suspect we all need to sit tight and await further developments.
Explicit in the club’s statement was the continuation of Neil Adams as manager and Gary Holt as first-team coach, and an unequivocal ‘there will be no further comment at this time’. Again, read into that what you will.
What it does suggest is that this particular move will be followed by others.
The removal of Robson from the management team looks, on the surface, to be a reaction to events on the pitch and many are already perceiving him to be the ‘sacrificial lamb’. They may be right, but I suspect – and hope – that the full story is a little less black and white, and has the semblance of a plan.
David McNally, for all his perceived faults, is acutely aware of social media’s thirst for news of this kind and will be keen to not allow this one to fester. There needs at least to be a ‘stage two’, the obvious one being a direct replacement for Robson.
The names of Ian Culverhouse and Mike Phelan have already figured large, both with more than decent CVs and a Norwich City connection to boot. At this stage it’s no more than folk putting two and two together but stranger things… etc
Certainly the former would be an extremely good fit given the role he played in the Lambert era; those ‘in the know’ suggesting that his influence was underestimated – even by the Scot himself. And McNally, being the canny operator, will be well aware of the placating impact of the appointment of a Culverhouse.
The natives are restless. With almost a fortnight to fester over the Forest debacle, before Brighton pitch up, only something with substance will be sufficient to quell the uprising. Minus a change at the top, a return to the fold for Culverhouse may just tick that particular box.
Another theory being put forward is the reversion of Adams to the role of coach, with an older head coming in to take the reins. While it has elements of logic it’s hard to imagine this one being a goer. To suffer the ignominy of demotion in such a public way would be akin to a public execution. Can’t see it.
All of the above, and other theories such as a personality clash between Adams and Robson, will for now remain conjecture. But the timing is such it suggests the dismissal has more to do with the lack of quality on the green stuff rather than any ‘disciplinary’ misdemeanours.
How it ends is, for now, in the hands of the board. And let’s just hope they are not expecting the fans’ unrest to be placated by such a move. Smoke and mirrors don’t wash with the Yellow Army.
Let’s hope this is the first move in several that will see a shake-up of the currently mis-firing coaching set up.
Watch this space.