Saturday evenings after a City defeat are notoriously rotten, especially if you decide to dip into Twitter.
Last night was no exception but on this occasion the anger and angst came with added venom. Folk are hurting. To the Yellow Army it feels as if their club is crumbling before their very eyes yet they feel powerless to do a thing about it.
Sometimes the passion overflows and manifests itself in hostility and name calling. Personally I desist but such is the strength of feeling right now I can empathize with those who can no longer contain their feeling of helplessness.
Ultimately we all want the same thing: a football club to be proud of. But there is little joy to be had right now as we watch the club stumble from crisis to disaster and back again both on and off the field.
To some this will seem a melodramatic overreaction to just a terrible season but it’s because we’ve watched others tread the exact same path that we’re currently on and have seen how it ended that we are so fearful. And all of this being played out against a backdrop of us having a supposed financial advantage over most of the Championship.
Yet right now it seems what was once an advantage has been wittered away to now become a disadvantage. ‘Sell to buy’ is the mantra, and it’s clear that’s how it has to be, but with players on lucrative contracts, even allowing for the post-relegation clauses, to shift them is not easy. And we know what that means.
We appear in a malaise from top to bottom even to the point of having a manager who the board appear to have given themselves little choice but to throw their weight behind. The awarding of a contract in the summer off the back of relegation and because, post-McNally, Alex was wobbling has not only bitten them on the backside but taken with it huge chunks of flesh.
Neil is not about to resign; he has a young family to provide for and a mortgage to pay. In his shoes we would all sit tight. And the board seem unable or unwilling to lay their hands on the two mill to do the deed, if indeed they even feel now is the time to pull the trigger.
And I’m not even convinced that they believe now is that time. We beat Derby after all.
But his time has to be up. Yesterday we lost to a team who were/are the epitome of beleaguered and had lost 16 of their last 19 games, yet by all accounts they were decent value for the win.
Neil typically, and understandably in some ways, was quick to hide behind the ten-man card, yet that in itself tells a story; namely of a squad that has of late added ill-discipline to its ever expanding charge sheet.
Since the start of December we’ve had as many sending-offs as we’ve had clean sheets.
Petulance is an offspring of arrogance – something we’ve long concluded this squad does possess in spades – and we’re not expecting them to behave with the grace of Mother Theresa, but it’s a trait that is now costing us points; points we can now ill afford to treat like confetti.
But we do, and regularly.
Yet let’s not kid ourselves. A new manager and the bounce that would accompany him would arguably give us a shot at top six, maybe, but the aforementioned top-to-bottom malaise is not going to magically transform.
The self-financing model this board perpetuates is not for the 21st century. Jez Moxey spoke with great pride of how this club likes to do things differently but for me the question should be why have we found ourselves on a path that is trodden by absolutely no-one?
Maybe because, however worthy it may appear, it’s not going to work in 2017.
In the age of super-fast broadband and digital downloads Norwich City persists with dial-up and vinyl. That’s how it feels.
I get completely that Delia and Michael care passionately about this club and are doing what they believe to be their best in securing its financial longevity, but it’s a vision I believe to be flawed.
This club needs strong decisive leadership, it needs innovative thinking, it needs direction and it needs a plan. ‘Promotion. promotion, promotion’ is not a plan. Nor is it a prophesy.
But that’s for tomorrow. Today the low hanging fruit needs to be picked and that should start with an overhaul of the first-team management.
Alex looked and sounded a broken man last night, and it’s hard to watch and listen to. To relieve him of this burden would probably be doing him a favour.
His message is no longer getting through and the only hint of innovation we see is the players finding new and different ways to lose games of football, especially on the road where City haven’t won since October 1st.
Yet still, the Brentford game aside, he persists with this rigid 4-2-3-1 that teams sussed out two months into the season. That City’s midfield don’t like it up ’em is no so well known even those on the ISS would fancy setting a team up to stop them playing.
Away from home we’re predictable, fragile, ponderous and error strewn. At Carrow Road we’re capable of beating anyone in the division. But it’s away from home that promotions are achieved and this combination of manager and players appears incapable of delivering when it really matters.
The board have much to ponder over the next couple of days. I suspect however it will be business as usual.
“I get completely that Delia and Michael care passionately about this club” – I genuinely don’t believe that. If this was a relationship you’d be asking, “How can someone treat another like that and still insist they care?” They don’t care about anything other than supplementing their fame, proven by their insistence not to sell. We must stop making excuses and don’t go to games. It’s not hard.
No real surprise to me, that this result happened Gary, I actually predicted such an outcome on your last piece. Norwich City are past masters at failing, just at the time when they need to succeed, irrespective of manager. If anyone can make a poor team, on an awful run, suddenly find some form again, it´s us, you can rely on it. Oliveira getting himself sent off, just adds salt to the wound – absolutely unforgivable considering our current situation. Neil´s position, I guess, is as safe after yesterday as it was before. The board have opted to back him this far, and I can´t see that changing, for better or for worse.
Andy Delf says
Good article Gary, points well made. It’s clear that if the board do listen, they don’t know how to put it right. Bowkett and McNally, Lambert and Holt, I don’t see them days coming back. But to fall from that ride to this one where the manager is out of his depth, the players are not as good as they think or have been told they are, and we have a dancing prancing failed labour politician, a man with no voice( step forward Jez) and two weary supporter owners at the helm smacks of a little more than carelessness, This club is toxic if we sell to buy who in their right mind would want to come here. It’s not fun and it’s not pleasant to be a supporter of NCFC at the moment. I stopped going during the Chase era and I feel a bit like that now. How many thousands of others I wonder are feeling the same?
Andrew Brewer says
This is a dangerous time for the Club. Angry and irritated noisy fans are bad but fans who no longer care are far wore for the wellbeing of a business like City. Many are on the cusp of no longer caring and when that happens…………..
Jim Davies says
Russell Martin says on the club web site that “some players were not doing their job” – well, looking at the video on Sky, one player failed to intercept the low cross for the first goal, and failed to out-jump Tom Adeyeme for the second. That player was Martin.
The manager is re-arranging the deck chairs, the band is playing Abide with Me, and the board are asking “what iceberg?”, as Titanic FC slip slowly but surely towards Division 1.
Gary, I responded to your last article that I was going to Rotherham and that another no show was not an option. Sadly that’s exactly what I witnessed yesterday, I can’t believe the board can let this continue and it’s obvious to everyone that AN can’t turn this round. As well as the stupidity of Oliveira, there were others that showed a real lack of discipline which clearly runs throughout the team. The club just looks rotten to the core at the moment and it’s so so sad.
Well that’s the end of AN’s top-six dream. This season can be written off now, so why not start afresh from Wednesday with a youth-first policy. Give the youngsters the opportunity to show what they can do – it surely can’t be worse than this shower losing to Rotherham. Start building for next season, get the Huddersfield manager on-board, bring the loanees back and begin again.
I’m sure now that 1p5wich will finish above us !!!
Howard Wing says
Great article as ever Gary. My fear is that the board know a new manager coming in now would see the need for (and therefore demand) fresh faces and investment in an aging and underperforming squad. They are not prepared to sanction that so will cling on to AN until the window closes and then move him on when it’s too late and who knows how much damage has been done.
Good stuff as always Gary. I thought I would re-read that Times article to understand exactly where Delia and Michael are taking us and it makes my blood boil. An arrogance beyond belief that they know whats best for OUR club. Sad times.
Nothing has changed one iota let me take you back to Oct 2007 some quotes from the AGM the night before this was written,
Ian McRae said: “My fear this year is relegation. We desperately need investment in the midfield, otherwise we are on a slippery slope.”
Beverley Johnson asked how any manager was going to be able to get the players to perform with “pride, commitment and passion”.
David Mutch agreed, saying there was “definitely something lacking” in the squad. He said: “Maybe it’s this disease that’s called money. These players shouldn’t need motivating. They should be sweating their guts out for the club. I don’t think this board realises how poor this squad is.”
Norwich City problems are much the same and have been for a lot longer than this.
I for one actually enjoy us losing now it makes me happy to know that the subject mentality of the club is getting punished and one day it will surely sink in sooner rather than later ……i no longer can bothered even to turn the wireless on to listen to the game or canary call my feelings going round and round like a tumble dryer ….i also find russell martins attitude temperant farcical as when we were twice relegated deluded people from top to bottom …..come on Woy !!!
Ex england stars have a good record at norwich 😉
I really think the board really don’t grasp the aspects that hiring and firing a manager is all part of the game and a ‘fund’ should always be set aside for paying a manager off. They haven’t got the strength and their ‘manager for 10 years’ quote was incredibly naive. This is the worst board the club has had in my lifetime by a mile and I expect nothing positive from them. They are not fit for purpose.
There are proactive clubs, There are reactive clubs and there is Norwich City…
Watching England cricket at the moment and enjoying some much needed sporting therapy. In the immediate aftermath of yesterday’s latest debacle I was enraged.
There is absolutely no excuse for losing to that opposition, none whatsoever.
The way the result was achieved, with petulance and stupidity, sloppiness and unprofessional isn should come as no surprise. Those are all stock traits of the farce that maquearades as football team.
The board know Neil dare to ask them for any funds during the window, they have engineered it perfectly keeping the lame duck limping on so they can remain debt free at the expense of the squad. Even so, what person in their right mind would give Alex Neil money to waste, given his ruination of Naismith, Klose, Brady, Pritchard, canos et al, a process which now appears to have begun with oliveira, given his stupid actions yesterday.
The sense of bemusement across the football world that Neil is still in employment smacks of a lack of understanding of the diabolical dinosaur sanctuary running down Norwich city. I disagree heartily with you Gary on the issue of smith and Jones “passionate support”. The club is run entirely at the whim of smith with the acquiescence of the henpecked husband, for the sole purpose of leaving the toy in the hands of a dopey, unqualified relative who apparently once attended a Norwich city match with aunti poos.
On Wednesday night, doubtless with the comprehensive PE teacher still in situ in the dugout we have to face a premier league outfit that tore into Liverpool a week earlier with aplomb. We face this with a goalkeeper who seldom moves, hapless centre halves, a third choice right back at left back, having sold or loaned all of ours out, no midfield, a struggling left winger and our best centre forward banned for month.
All cheered on by an army of followers buoyed by the cheap travel hastily foisted on them by Jez, bless him, primarily at the expense of those of us who coughed up £25 to be worshipped by the cook last weekend.
It’s difficult for the media, the boys at Archant, radio Norfolk or the writers on this site to print anything different about a situation that just keeps getting worse.
The mood is darkening and make no mistake, come next Saturday afternoon the perfect storm is brewing for the cook, her nephew, the jock and his mentor. In the shape of a proper football manager with an axe to grind, who will be cheered to the rafters in order to score a point or two. The travelling support will doubtless offer their opinions on moxey, the ersatz McNally, a man following in shoes he isn’t fit to clean. I feel sure that the home support, most of it, will heartily join in and make their feeling about him and his “work” clear.
Enough is enough. Roll on Saturday.
Chris II says
There seems to be only one way to make our pig-headed, head-in-the-sand board sit up and take notice. Vote with your feet. When it starts to hit them in the pocket they might just wake up. I suspect this won’t happen though – we have too many supporters who are stupid enough to keep going week in week out and torturing themselves!
“The self-financing model this board perpetuates is not for the 21st century. Jez Moxey spoke with great pride of how this club likes to do things differently but for me the question should be why have we found ourselves on a path that is trodden by absolutely no-one?”
Nail hit on the head. Doing things differently unfortunately means doing it wrong with us.
Well said Gary.
I can never remember a time when I felt so ambivalent about going to a game, and fearful of listening to yet another implosion on the road via Radio Norfolk. Mr Moxey’s mantra of “promotion, promotion, promotion” quite cleverly did not specify when so I guess he cannot be held to account.
As has happened so much of this season, “the next week will be crucial”. Southampton away could be a rugby score but not if we show the same commitment as at home, and then we have the return of Mr Lambert – and we all know his record when he returns to previous clubs. Knowing NCFC, they’ll probably end up winning both games!
Plus of course, it’s getting very close to the details of season ticket renewals – 2 losses and the expected cost increase do not sit comfortably together.
O T B C
John alludes to a cost increase. Is this common knowledge? Already the highest priced ticket in the championship, I don’t think there’s any room for increases. That’s if we remain in the championship, of course.
Jill Waters says
We were out of range yesterday, when I asked my hubby to check the score. When he told me I laughed – the truth is it’s no more than I expected and I find myself not really caring. That’s not what being a Norwich fan is about. Seriously thinking about my renewal if things don’t change…
Been supporting for over 50 years and Rarely missed a game. I now really don’t care what the score is as I’ve lost my passion for my club. The fans who applauded the team after getting relegated have a lot to answer for. The board thought they’d been given carte blanche and got away with another poor season. I walked out and didnt see anything for me to applaud. I, along with others, have to decide whether to renew my season ticket again and have to say, if wasn’t for meeting my friends and family for a few hours on a Saturday, I’d have no problem In telling the club to stick it and that’s something I never thought would happen. He must go and the board need to take a long look at their recent stewardship of the club. We, the fans,want our passion back!
It’s a question of balance. I have never equated supporting Norwich city to supporting Delia smith. When she bought the club she didn’t buy me. While I can separate her from the club, I can justify supporting it. If it was just a smith business, I’d happily see it go bust.
I hate lining her pockets.
Good piece. It must be hard to come up with fresh words to describe yet another dreadful, inept performance against a team we shld have beaten well. We can forget promotion this season. AN looks a beaten man & the board shld put him out of his misery. But that must be just the first move in a complete overhaul of our club because at the moment we seem to be drifting towards relegation & no one seems brave enough to take decisive action. With Lambert returning at the weekend things cld get very toxic.
Strange nowadays in my hayday i was very much involved in the chase out protests so much so i ran onto the pitch when we got relegated against villa and ended up in court along with a few others …but we got chase out in the end . There seems to be the same disdain now but no protests. where has the heart gone with the modern supporter to frightened to vent there anger at the perpetrator’s well you’ll be stuck with it forever if you don’t ….
Dave B says
Even I thought we’d win that one.
The frustration with this squad that I currently feel is huge. The display against Derby was genuinely good. The fact that performances like that are so very rare speaks of a terrible lack of team ethic, of team cohesion and arrogance from a group of players who clearly think they are better than they are.
The fact is this is a group of players who are, on the whole, bang average. The better players are let down by the lack of team ethic are several players who clearly don’t want to be here but know they will never get this sort of money elsewhere.
There is a malaise at the club. It’s not yet Glenn Roeder bad, but it’s certainly headed that way. I’m not going to sit here and pronounce what to do, because the fact is I have no experience of running a football club but I’ve seen plenty teams looking as bad as us and as divided as us soon get relegated. Something needs to change. It needs to be really quite substantial and preferably happen yesterday.
Flying High (Not) says
Are we regarding the 2 mill contract as fact now? On what evidence? Being printed in (don’t buy) The S*n doesn’t make it true.
I agree with the point that it could be a perfect storm brewing for next Saturday. Not just the return of Mr. Lambert, but the fact that we could find ourselves level on points with Ipsw*ch. Imagine! Add to that that another recent City manager could be sitting two points clear at the top, with Brighton playing at home on Friday.
Could be a very dark day indeed. We’re headed for years of mediocrity unless big changes are made, and soon.
The only crumb of comfort I get from the current desperate situation is that there are still good men at the Club ,largely managing good teams at younger levels ,namely Dmitri Halajko, Darren Huckerby, David Wright and Richard Money.They, together with the promising youngsters we have, are the Club’s future.Also I’m sure Alan Irvine is a good coach -you don’t lose that reputation overnight -but how much responsibility is he given?
I would suggest that Roy Hodgson ,coming in over that lot,might save the season for me .So,Roy ,if your’e listening or watching,we need someone of your stature at this Club who can review it from top to bottom ,weed out the dross and the passengers, tell the ,Board and Moxey you want a completely free hand ,and get on with it! We the fans will back you.
Oh dear….. it was all a dream!
John Watson says
I can’t sleep at night with the frustration I feel about how our club is run – there does not appear to be a person in the club who has the slightest idea of how important NCFC is to it’s supporters. There appears a complete malaise from within CR and C from the owners, management team, coaches and players who do not appear, to the fans on the terraces, to give a jot as to where we are heading. We all know and hate it terribly but are powerless to get inside this club and help to sort it out. The only thing left, sadly, is a boycott!
Stewart Lewis says
Chris (21): If it’s any consolation, we have certainly not lined Delia’s pockets.
Instead of investing her money in something that would give a return, she put it into the club. Even the long-term loans that have now been repaid to her have never borne any interest, so have lost substantial value over the years. She’s also given the club money, as I understand it, without ever expecting or wanting it back.
Ben K says
Didn’t Delia put her hand into her own pocket to fund the signing of Cedric Anselin (if I’m spelling that correctly), many moons ago? I remember being surprised by the fact that she would, and the fact that we needed her to. It’s certainly true that she could’ve done a lot better with her money than putting it into our club. It seems she and her husband have their own vision of how to achieve success which, let’s face it, would be great if it worked. It does appear to be a very naïve one, however, but I’d never accuse them of trying to make money for themselves at the expense of the team and its chances of success.
Handing everything over to her nephew is something different. It’s very hard to believe that decision as being in the club’s best interest. Selling off to the highest bidder, whoever they might be, would potentially be worse; but there must be something in between.