It’s a year to the day since Dean Smith and Craig Shakespeare rocked up at Carrow Road. The Club decided to commemorate the anniversary with a tweet of a beaming, yellow-and-green-scarf-adorned Deano standing in the tunnel. If you can stomach it, it’s at the foot of this piece.
You don’t need me to expand on how it was received.
Given the situation in which the Club finds itself and the general level of angst, it takes a special type of chutzpah to believe a tweet of that ilk is going to receive anything other than industrial levels of mockery.
If not chutzpah, then similar levels of delusion and ignorance are required to read the room quite so badly. A third option – that the Club is sticking two fingers up to the fans – would once have been beyond the realms of possibility. Now I’m not so sure.
Whatever the driver, all it really did was remind everyone what a miserable year it’s been, but just in case we weren’t 100 percent aware, the Pink Un summarised it succinctly:
It needs little commentary.
While a loss percentage of more than 50 percent may be just about acceptable if all of that time had been spent in the Premier League, the fact that 21 of those games have been in the second tier gives it an altogether different slant.
To add further perspective, in those 48 games, 45 goals have been scored and 81 conceded. And armed with what is widely considered to be one of the stronger squads in the second tier, this season we have a less-than-50-percent win record.
But calling for change, as many of us have, appears futile. There appears little, if any, appetite for it from those who goose-step the Carrow Road corridors of power. All they see is a team still in touch with the automatic promotion places, regardless of the wider context of under-performances and two wins in ten.
It is worth pointing out again that Dean Smith appears to be a genuinely decent bloke who in another setting may still prove himself to be a decent football coach. None of this is personal. But it just feels and has always felt, that he and Norwich City Football Club are not a good match.
The Attanasios, whose view on the matter could see it raised at the top table, have, it seems, had the ‘Dean Smith is a quality coach’ mantra drummed into them. They’ve also said that, for now, they won’t involve themselves in footballing matters.
So, any thirst for change would have to come from the quartet of power – Delia, Michael, Stuart, and Zoe – and I suspect we all know the answer to that one.
On the part of Webber, using the four-week World Cup window to bring in a new coaching team would also be an admission of an error of judgement, and so I can’t see it even being a thing.
I believe that the Dean Smith line, of the Club using the enforced break as a reset and one from which they’ll “come back stronger”, is one shared by the decision-makers.
And so on we plod, with them hoping the passage of time between the Middlesbrough horror and the arrival of Blackburn Rovers to Carrow Road – just eight days before Christmas – will be more than ample to quell the unrest from the needy, moany, and impatient locals.
Of course, the problems wouldn’t suddenly end with the sacking of Dean Smith and the appointment of a new progressive, forward-thinking replacement. Said replacement would still be walking into a club that’s declared war on the local newspaper, which views dissenters as uninformed troublemakers, and which has garnered an unhealthy reputation for its internal working practices.
None of that will be readily resolved by a new face in the dugout, and in the case of the impasse with the local media, that assumes that both parties want to find a resolution in the first place.
For one party though, this situation appears absolutely fine and worthy recompense for perceived disloyalty on the part of the other.
I fear it’s going to take something far more cataclysmic than a four-week footballing armistice to broker any kind of peace.
All in all, it’s a club that, from the outside looking in, appears rotten.
From what’s happening on the green stuff through to its upper echelons – where the big decisions are made – and via the suits who implement those decisions, there is a growing feeling of us and them. And between us and them is an ever-widening chasm.
I’ve tried to avoid using ‘disconnect’ but there really is no other way of putting it. It’s there at every turn.
The only faint glimmer of hope is offered by our new friends from the US who, so far, appear blissfully untainted by the toxicity that has grown and grown over the last 18 months. Perhaps they remain unaware.
In the Attanasios’ chat with the lads from Talk Norwich City, they, for now, appear focussed on improving the mechanics where they feel they can help, but clearly have a loose plan in place to increase their involvement in our club. That, perhaps, offers a green shoot to which we should all cling.
But, in the here and now, all I have is… Happy Anniversary, Dean!