There is little doubt that after events of last weekend, the Alex Neil bandwagon is starting to roll.
Not for everyone, of course.
Judgement may be reserved for another few weeks; people have said their bit; rowing back from that might take a while.
But my sense would be that the goodly majority of Norwich City supporters are starting to now appreciate the new man in the midst; someone whose post-match Press performances certainly belie his tender managerial years.
And given his words are now matching the players’ deeds, then City supporters have every reason to look forward to the next few weeks. A place in the play-offs might be the least of the 33-year-old’s ambitions.
But before that train speeds out of the station, I would just spare one final thought for Neil Adams; neither a bad man nor a bad manager – just one dealt a wretched hand by powers greater than he. In particular with regard to Sebastien Bassong whose return to centre stage has underpinned Norwich’s recent return to defensive form and assurance.
Bassong is a decent player. That has long been obvious. And nor are players daft. They know who the best player is in their midst; the one that can make the real difference.
But he needs managing.
And the argument against Adams will be that he didn’t manage Bassong well enough – certainly not by the standards that his immediate successor appears to be demonstrating.
But this is where I think Adams got the browner end of the stick.
Bassong was always Chris Hughton’s man. And people who still cling to this lovely notion that today’s generation of players play for the shirt and the badge and not the man that delivers the cheque need to get a little real.
Bassong would, in every likelihood, have been in open rebellion from the moment that the Board ushered Hughton out of the door.
His mood will not have been helped by the sight of the club’s Youth coach being given the big gig – nor would the ‘scoured Europe’ quote have helped, either.
From Adams’ perspective – just as it had with Bryan Gunn – such opportunities come but once. I don’t think anyone should begrudge him the fact that, when asked, he stepped up to the plate. Knowing, I suspect, full well the likely reception he would get in certain corners of the dressing room. Which he duly got.
I’m not sure how those bridges would have been rebuilt. Given the angry, poisoned waters that might have flowed beneath them. In every likelihood in public; in front of the dressing room. Both sides will have made their stand; both might have been in little mood to stand down.
Adams hope must have been to force Bassong to back down in the face of his success on the pitch; proof that he could deliver a side capable of promotion without ‘The Rock’ at its heart.
Bassong would have waited for Europe’s greatest available coach to fall short in that ambition and, as a result, to feel his point was proved. He should never have been given the job. The youth team coach… Per-lease.
New guy comes in; let’s talk… And he starts again. Bridge rebuilt. No history.
My point is that I wouldn’t judge the short reign of Neil Adams too harshly.
He was still offered the gang plank with the Norfolk club in seventh; that’s no mean feat in your first season out of the Premier League. And, in particular, with arguably your best player having sulked off to Vicarage Road for the autumn.
There might be one or two others who, likewise, were less than impressed in the managerial change; their dismay and displeasure might just have been less visible than that of the club captain.
But given the memory span of most football supporters tends to be that of a goldfish when results are going well, all the above is history now.
Neil is the man of the moment. He has fired that dressing room back into life and got all the players back on the same page. Sniffing success and a swift return to the land of the big, fat bonus.
Good luck to all concerned; I sense the unheralded Scot might have a certain something to him. A natural born manager – maybe more so than the luckless Adams.
But don’t to be too quick to condemn the latter. There were strained relationships there that weren’t of his making, nor of his asking. And for that he paid a heavy price.