Much has been said and written about the club’s current malaise and where the blame lies, and those hoping for a modicum of comfort from last night’s AGM were left underwhelmed. The unrest is no longer bubbling just beneath the surface, the issues manyfold:
– We have players who are unable to perform to their own individual potential – let alone function as a cohesive team.
– A manager whose inexperience is becoming all too exposed, whose words sound increasingly hollow and who last night appeared keen to shift the onus onto his under-performing players.
– A Chief Executive, operating in the shadow of his predecessor, who possesses a CV which only serves to polarise opinion.
– A Chairman whose influence on proceedings is unclear but which appears to be of secondary importance to his public attempts at mastering ballroom dancing.
– Majority shareholders who have stated, and last night reiterated, their intent to maintain their personal dynasty whilst acknowledging that ‘they’ (meaning us) won’t like it, but that ‘they’ (meaning them) don’t care.
– Ricky Martin
Wherever the fingers point, one thing that most people seem to agree on is that this isn’t a mere blip and that our current woes are reflective of deep-rooted issues within the club which don’t bode well for the future.
Earlier this week, I overheard a conversation between two city fans;
“At this rate, we’ll end up like Ipswich.”
“That’ll never happen – we got 26,000 in League One, mate!”
And perhaps therein lies a further part of the problem.
Amidst all the recriminations, maybe we (the supporters) are also an integral part of the current malaise.
And whilst we are quick to turn on the players, the manager (and sometimes each other), maybe we should also turn the mirror on ourselves.
I accept that what follows is a generalisation and I’m not suggesting that we all behave the same or foster the same attitudes – after all, many different views are expressed and debated very eloquently and passionately right here on MyFootballWriter – but like it or not, we are all part of the ‘collective crowd’ which openly embraced the prospect of relegation by creating a party atmosphere as our fate was sealed against Watford.
A collective crowd that dismissed the talk of protests earlier in the season as derisory.
A collective crowd that tends to limit it’s frustrations to a chorus of boos at the final whistle or through cathartic rants on Canary Call, message boards, or social media.
In short, a collective crowd that has become far too tolerant and accepting of mediocrity and failure.
Following the QPR game, I saw a tweet stating “simply not good enough”
But what does that mean in real terms? ‘Not good enough’ for what?
What exactly are the ramifications of relegation and our recent abject performances?
A ‘meltdown’ on Twitter? Pointed questions at the AGM? Clappers being hurled onto the pitch?
All of that becomes slightly meaningless because as highlighted above, “we get 26,000 in League One, mate”.
History suggests that no matter how bad it gets, we will still turn up week in and week out in our thousands and Carrow Road will remain at or near capacity for every match.
Granted, it has become a fairly soul-less place that reeks of disengagement and disenchantment, but it’s full nevertheless.
And it’s full because the majority of fans dutifully renew their season tickets each year and the few who decide that enough is enough are quickly replaced by those on the waiting list.
Following their recent interview in The Times – which they conceded came across not wholly as intended – the majority shareholders have been accused of standing in the way of progress due to prudence coupled with a lack of ambition and investment.
But to a degree we are surely complicit in that, because whilst we continue to support the club, by definition we are supporting and inadvertently validating that approach.
In essence, we’re saying it’s acceptable because we’re not prepared to turn our backs.
I’m as guilty as anyone. I am thoroughly disillusioned with the club right now and have lost all confidence in the playing staff, the management and the Board.
And yet I’ll still go to every match.
Why? Because it’s part of my routine – a chance to meet up with family and friends and enjoy (if not the match itself) the wider match day experience.
For well over 30 years I have been going down to Carrow Road with my dad, and these days we have my son with us.
And with three generations of season ticket holders, it would be hypocritical to criticise Delia and Michael for also wanting to ‘keep it in the family’. After all, how can I demand that they handover the reins to someone else and walk away when I am not prepared to walk away myself?
In recent times, we’ve seen a global rise of ‘populism’; a style of politics that seeks to position the people against the perceived establishment.
Election campaigns have found support by tapping into an underlying sense of disillusionment. Campaigns built on the recognition that many have become disenfranchised by the mainstream and are increasingly desperate for change.
Populist movements tend to find support at times when people see the prevailing norms – which are preserved and defended by the existing establishment – as being at odds with their own hopes, fears, and concerns.
And there seems to be an increasing undercurrent of this within the City support – a genuine belief that those running the club are taking it in the wrong direction; an increasing sense of frustration aimed towards Delia and ‘her cronies’ plus the ‘happy clappers’ who appear intent on defending and preserving the status quo.
The problem is that with no election, referendum or ballot boxes available, the only real option is to vote with your feet.
And that’s something that many of us just can’t bring ourselves to do.