A couple of days ago I saw this comment on an alternative website. One I choose not to post on, but I read it avidly nonetheless.
Posted by one “sjguk267”, it was presented as this (with very limited subsequent editing from me).
About time City fans grew a pair and stood up to the shambles that is NCFC. I last went to Carrow Road when Liverpool beat us 4-0. I vowed there and then not to give any of my hard earned cash to that club until there was something I actually wanted to see, and I haven’t seen anything remotely entertaining on the pitch since, so my cash is staying put. But every week 25,000 pu**ies traipse down there and then spend the next six days putting the club down. Just for once you have witnessed what people power can do, so if you want Delia, AN, or Moxey out, vote with your feet, it’s all about money for them, simple.
It was when I realised that I and many others like me were dubbed a “pu**y” that I believed “sjguk” had something of a point.
The January transfer window is approaching its mid-point and with apologies to our new Icelandic arrival, nothing of significance has happened. None in. None out.
If we collectively continue to entertain the current infrastructure of the club, we will be forced further and further into Delia’s world.
When I emerge from our front door in the city before I take the dog out early in the morning, I always sit down on the bench to have a guilty smoke. The first thing I see is a First Bus with a La La Land banner on it.
And I feel like I may already be there. In Delia’s La La Land.
Eleven days into January, we have a fine young player who may (or may not) be poached by Leeds or somebody else, an international with six clubs apparently after him who does not want to be here but still hasn’t gone, plus a further international who has never had a look-in but appears to earn too much to be moved on. You know, the tall lad with an understandable taste for good-looking women.
We also have a top-quality international centre back who wants out and we own the registration of the kind of player most people would want up front for them in this league but is obviously thought of as not good enough for us by certain people. Not lazy by nature, but he can’t be relied upon to do it for us (great header against Southampton though).
And if I were another centre back, I would be hammering on the door to get out. He isn’t perfect, but equally he has not been well-treated.
We have a terrific left back who would be off like a shot if he could seal a deal. We’ve sent youthful cover for him back to Scunthorpe. And we’ve got so many number tens; James Maddison is yet to feature and Alex Pritchard cannot buy a start.
Then there’s a wonderful young player who is perceived as fractionally better than his brother and has done fantastically well for us this season. He’s one of our own – and the vultures are forming their squadrons to rob us of him.
And, of course, there’s a goalkeeper loaned to Charlton. What’s his name? Oh, the good one called Declan Rudd (yes a bad moment against Villa but everyone makes mistakes).
Of course, there’s also the French poet we spent a million quid on, who’s barely kicked a ball for us. But one half of Dundee appreciates him though, so that’s all right.
Why should we worry though? We have Michael Turner, Steven Whittaker, Cameron Jerome, Seb Bassong, Russell Martin, Michael McGovern and somebody called Jones, who I believe plays in goal once a year if he has nothing else to do.
Then there’s one Matt Jarvis, who we wasted about four million quid on. Not your fault you’re injury-prone, Matt, but you’ve hardly been a good buy in all honesty.
What a mess, and it will continue to be so at the end of the window. How I yearn for the return of Alan Bowkett and David McNally. It won’t happen, but I can still wish.
And if they “recruit” Ross McCormack, that will be my lot. Promise.
I’m not dumb enough to think the January window is easy, but if Norwich City don’t sort at least a couple of deals in and out, my faith in those in charge will reduce even more. And, Mr Moxey, you’re not exactly setting the fans’ world on fire.
Let’s not allow an admirable apology and gesture for a serious error of judgement fool us into thinking things are on the turn.
I hope for a win at Rotherham anyway – anything less is unacceptable. But I think I know what Alex Neil will say if we lose, and I’m no psychic. Hint: It won’t be his fault.
A thoroughly depressing read, Martin. Every word however is absolutely correct.
Very sad, but very true. The vultures are circling and our board want to operate in a totally different transfer sphere. As I said before, we won’t get rid of the right players this Jan because the board are a mess. I have also cancelled everything related to the club, even my canaries player DD for a few quid. I refuse to give the club anymore money or go to another game until the Smith’s are gone.
You may yearn for the return of McNally, but remember that when we got promoted and he was in charge he failed to have a recruitment team in place.
I’m not expecting much transfer action. January is not usually known for it. Plus we are skint and the players we want to offload are on too high wages so are content to stay.
I fear any sales may happen too late in the window to enable us to re-invest where needed.
Awful read but absolutely spot on ! The club is a complete joke and laughing stock. Neil out board out time for change I’m afraid.
Has anyone told the Board the transfer window is open…they do not have a clue.
The words ‘transfer window’ and ‘confidence’ rarely go hand in hand at NCFC. My gut feeling is that very little will happen because have players that are on ‘generous’ terms who the club think are more attractive than they actually are. This will be turned into PR by the club of ‘holding the squad together’ no doubt.
The FA Cup ticket prices still make me angry and this was capped off by Mick Dennis and others on twitter trying to turn this into a positive that the club had apologised. They still don’t get it.
IT NEVER SHOULD OF HAPPENED IN THE FIRST PLACE.
If NCFC was run in the way that most fans would find acceptable, the tickets would of been priced appropriately (no mkore than £15) which would of shown goodwill especially of what has been lacking on – and off – the pitch this season. But that is what you get when the club is run by well meaning amateurs who have taken the clubs fan base for granted time and time again.
The glass is at best half full this season and I’m expecting nothing to cheer about for the remainder of the season until the manager has gone and board are making noises of selling. Nothing has really changed and no corners have been turned. The club have not spent wisely, wasted money in a way I never thought NCFC would.
Whilst McNally wasn’t perfect, he carried too much weight on his shoulders because of the lack of nous of the people closest to him. I’m sure he misses Carrow Road and the people who worked there, but I bet my mortgage he’s glad he is out of it.
His successor Moxey appears to be downsizing the club into a Championship comfort zone, which my gut feeling is where the board feels most comfortable, so it is up to the fans to vote with their feet, otherwise change is highly unlikely to happen…
martin penney says
#3 pab: every point you make is valid.
I had the opportunity to speak to David McNally on a few occasions. I really rated him as a human being, so perhaps I am a little biased in that respect.
Your final sentence is one I wish I had put in my article because it looks like that is how the wind is blowing. Thank you for your comments.
Well said Martin; I fear that these are the thoughts of many fans who have been NCFC supporters and stalwarts for rather longer than the current “custodians”.
The Canos/Pritchard situations are particularly worrying.
I heard yesterday that Canos has not spoken to/been spoken to by Mr. Neil since he signed back in August – magnificent man-management if that’s the case.
Neil’s excuse for not playing Canos due to Jacob’s progress has a particularly hollow ring to it given how poor Jacob was in the run up to Christmas. he’s young and looked poarticularly jaded at times, but at no time was there any sign of him being given a rest. To me, this and the continued lack of match time for Pritchard (who I admit other then Brentford at home has singularly failed to set the world alight) makes a complete mockery of having such a large squad – many of whom are receiving such salaries that they cannot afford to move on.
Whatever happened to having contracts where these were reduced if the club was relegated?
If the rumour about price increases to season tickets is true, I fear the Southampton attendance will be repeated often next season.
O T B C
Great article Martin as always and I agree with so many of the points that you make. I guess the big issue that Norwich had coming down from the Premier League was to either stick with a strong squad which got relegated or take a broom to it and start again.
The previous time we were relegated, the club opted to largely stick with much of the relegated squad with the odd tweak here or there. Was it the right call? Yes, because we ultimately got promoted and possibly also because some of the youngsters weren’t quite ready for the first team. In other words they didn’t really have a choice.
This time around they probably did have a choice. The youngsters are that much older and have all gained good experience out on loan. Plus the majority of the first team sit within the 28-32 age bracket, are certainly not going to improve and have the baggage (in some cases) of multiple top flight relegations. Also some players who perhaps don’t want to be at Carrow Road.
Personally, I feel the club stepped-back from taking the brave decision in the summer to really cull the squad and start again building a team around a core of players that wanted to be at the club, supplemented with good youngsters from within and some astute signings.
Unfortunately, if we don’t get promoted this season then the club will have to do a major cull this summer to reduce the wage bill. However, players like Rudd, Morris, Josh Murphy, Harry Toffolo (i.e. players that you would want featuring strongly in the squad) are all out of contract in the summer and either out on loan or not getting a look in…
Craig Bailey says
This feels way too negative to me, but respect it’s your opinion! Just feels like normal squad activity to me, read forums up and down the country and you’ll see fans moaning about their club and heralding all that run it clueless. It’s far easier to do that than actually run one, that’s for sure.
I’m not sure complaining about much that he was responsible for and then wanting him back stack up re: McNally either.
Whilst I get the point about affecting change by not paying, it’s a personal choice for each fan to make, some like going despite results, some just want to see wins, some just want to be entertained, they’re all OK and each is their prerogative, branding some a name doesn’t change that, it’s a bit juvenile.
Not saying things are perfect, but a lot of reaction seems over-dramatic to me.
For many years whichever incumbents ruled over the carrow road boardroom have been accused of a lack of ambition. From South and his sale of Kevin Reeves to the Chase era with its revolving door of quality players out.
I cannot recall that accusation ever weighing more heavily than it does now. The unseemly rush to downsize every aspect of the club coupled with the calling in of the outstanding money owed, the appointment of a bean counter with a grim reputation at his former club. One doesn’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to sense which way the wind blows.
The current ownership is displaying all the traits that some regularly bleat about when decrying foreign ownership. This anti-ambition is rotting the club from the head down.
martin penney says
#6 Darren: Thanks. I fear your gut feeling is correct.
I wonder just how well-meaning the amateurs are these days; something in my heart tells me they are circling the wagons for reasons of their own.
And your point about wasting money is spot on. We have, largely, not invested well on the playing side – honourable exception for Timm Klose, but he, like others, has not exactly been well managed since he signed.
The trouble is that because we ARE fans, we find it extremely difficult to vote with our feet. They know that and trade on it. Sad days, bad days.
Michael D says
Ironic that the one now strong rumour of a player leaving is for Olsson… having just agreed to the person who should be his replacement going back out on loan to Scunthorpe for the rest of the season. Before last seasons started Toffolo appeared to have very decent potential but has been given almost no chance to demonstrate and consolidate that further within the City set up… And with everyone wishing Brady out too.. I just don’t get it at all.
In fact I can quite see Neil saying that he can’t let Brady go because he has no other real option at left back (apart from Whittaker, effectively). Yet Toffolo is the one player on our books who potentially actually has a future in that position for us.
#10 – Are you on the board?
and now rumours of Olsson to Swansea…a disgrace!
martin penney says
#10 Craig: fair comment.
I’ve just seen Martin Olsson is likely to be off, and Harry Toffolo is back to Scunny until season’s end. Robbie Brady will be the next one out of the door, believe me.
So am I really that unrealistically negative? I don’t think so.
We will lose the whole left hand side in this transfer window and where are the replacements?
“Too late in the window”, “We couldn’t get it over the line”, or Steven Whittaker and Matt Jarvis?
Thanks for your comment and I hope all is well on the youngster front:-)
colin m says
This is normal football business most clubs fans are moaning on the forums.Typical glass half empty attitude. A win on Saturday could see us just 2 points off the play off places.
‘Fans’ on NCMFW wanted Hughton out, Adams out, McNally out will it ever stop? No of course not so many jump on this negative bandwagon probably so when it goes wrong as footy inevitably will, you can be pleased that you can tell everyone, “I told you so”.
I’ll support the club through thick and thin. I don’t give up just because it gets tough. I might get down, cheesed off,angry, etc but I don’t have the responsibility of running a multi million pound business in the dog eat dog environment that is top level football, could you do better? Its not ” anti ambition” its reality and ensuring we have a club.
3 points on Saturday is what matters, I don’t care who wears the shirts because as a fan they’ll have my full support.
So you withdraw your support on Saturday and then complain about transfer market dealings,isn’t that a bit like going on strike and then complaining about not receiving any overtime for that day?
Remember the time when the club supporters wanted to help finance the purchase of Huckerby,when did the fan change into the customer demanding results?
I agree about McNally and Rudd but they became false scapegoats.
Say we sack our manager, are you confident that Moxey is going to appoint the right man? It will certainly be costly and will most likely speed our demise.
We are all frustrated but what is happening to our club is what happens most clubs after relegation, particularly the ones who have spent big
I would be happy enough to see us steady the ship and go back up in the next few seasons, better prepared.
So the transfer that you cast aside is important, as are the loans.That player went straight into the youth side that hammered Burnley, a premiership club.
The development team is just starting again to bear fruit.The big picture is not as bad as many would have us believe
martin penney says
#18 Giles: I was hardly the only one to withdraw my support on Saturday gone. I am guilty as charged, but please don’t believe I was happy not to go to the game. I was unhappy. Very unhappy.
Of course I remember when we wanted to help the financing of Darren Huckerby – when I heard the news that Boxing Day against Forest I was on the Clarence Harbour car park with some guys I knew and our mate Slim had a radio and told us. A classic moment – even Sean on security celebrated with us. And we saw him on the pitch before the game!
I really am not a miserable s*d; I just see too many things going wrong for us just now.
I hope you are right about the work of the development team.
A good comment and thank you.
The fire sale has begun it seems. All to help prop up smiths regime in the absence of any investment. Colin m doesn’t care who wears the shirts which is a good job, because who knows who will be wearing the shirt next season?
“Promotion, promotion, promotion”. People still swallow that garbage it seems. The psychobabble about being pleased about 18 months of total failure just so people can apparently seem clever after the event is risible. More to the point is just how much is this ownership and their assorted cronies wil be instantly forgiven by the besotted few?
Dave B says
“How I yearn for the return of Alan Bowkett and David McNally.”
Bowkett maybe. McNally, no chance. Let’s not forget that most of this mess happened under his watch. How can you want back the man who didn’t have a recruitment team to come back and sort out transfers?
martin penney says
#20 Chris: I wish you were wrong, but deep down I believe you are right.
Hopefully somebody else will come up with some positives, but as I’m not writing again until after Rotherham, it’s unlikely to be me!
I’m keeping the faith for now, as difficult as it is. You never know, they could have a St Paul on his way to Damascus moment. I doubt it, but let’s wait and see.
Thank you for your comment.
Stewart Lewis says
Many valid thoughts here, of course.
However, I envy the prescience about the transfer window which many of you clearly enjoy.
At this point, especially with Bank Holidays at the start of last week, it’s understandable that very little business has been done across the country.
Jez Moxey told us to expect arrivals and departures over the course of January, which I suspect will be the case. As to whether we end up with a leaner & hungrier squad or a decimated one, I’ll have to wait to see.
martin penney says
#21 Dave B: I think David McNally tended to divide opinion more than many figures in NCFC history and the point you make about the lack of a recruitment team is a valid one. However, Paul Lambert appeared to have very little trouble recruiting without such a team in place. Until that fateful summer of course.
As I said to #3 pab, I had the opportunity to speak to David McNally on a few occasions. I really rated him as a human being, so perhaps I am a little biased in that respect.
#23 Stewart: can I have the leaner and hungrier squad please?:-)
Surely a crossroads has been reached at the club. The owners grip on the club has loosened somewhat in the last few months. The sale of playing assets to cover the debt is to enable Delia smith to continue in situ.
Hawking off the family silver, be it canos, Klose, Ollsson, Brady, or whoever else (who knows?) is only a temporary sticking plaster and will serve to increase the problems. Once sold, they are gone forever.
Further down the line, with no such saleable assets, dwindling income from crowds and smiths debt mounting what do they do then?
The club, as is the way, will be sold from under her regardless of whether she wants it or not. I would hazard a guess that unless Delia smith and her husband intend to hand the club over to the nephew that he will never get to take the reins.
The only thing that can save smiths ownership now is immediate promotion to the premier league that she so despises as there is no basis for her to run a football club in the championship with her inalbility and unwillingness to invest money into the club. To that end Alex Neil had better get working on a plan.
Should have said hand the club over to the nephew in the short term.
Also Stewart #23 if jez moxey tells me to expect rain, I feel inclined to reach for the sun lotion.
Dave B says
Norwich’s success started and ended with Lambert. I think we tend to under emphasize his impact, under emphasize Bowketts, while over emphasizing McNally’s.
My theory is that 1)Lambert sorted out the football 2) Bowkett sorted out the money, 3)McNally sorted out the back of house.
With each one’s departure you can actually see the immediate impact. Unfortunately securing success on the pitch is the catalyst for the other two but has been treated as (at least) the second most important, behind money.
martin penney says
#28 Dave B: I think you are quite right. McNally had the higher profile of course when compared with AB. Trouble is that both are gone and what we have replaced them with hardly inspires me.
A very incisive comment and thanks for it.
Agreed Martin. Dave has hit the nail squarely on the head regarding those three individuals and their impact on ech of those spheres of influence. Their replacement in each position is several downgrades on the previous incumbent.