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.