“For me, two things are important. The first is that everyone should know – even if not everyone likes to hear it – how much Stuart Webber cares about this football club – there is not one person on the planet who cares more.
“The second thing is that it is always easy to finger-point individuals out if something doesn’t work well.
“In [both] successful times and difficult times it is important that you stick together and help each other.”
Thus spoke David Wagner after what was probably the worst yet in a series of wretched defeats this season – there have been 16 of them now – this time against Russell Martin’s fluent Swansea side who, to be fair to all concerned, barely had to raise a canter all afternoon.
Aided and abetted by the usual display of poor defending, goals from Joel Latibeaudiere, Liam Cullen, and Olivier Ntcham were interrupted by the 42nd-minute dismissal of Canaries’ left-back Sam McCallum for clipping Cullen. The Swansea striker was on his way through, McCallum was the last man and the red card was an easy decision for referee David Webb to make.
The whole 90 minutes comprised a $#itshow of the highest order and many supporters left the ground as Ntcham put the icing on the cake, presumably because they simply couldn’t take any more or, like me, preferred to spend their time with more important things, in my case kind of helping Mrs P’s #2 son with the construction of a garden cold frame made from leftover bits and pieces.
I suppose we have to kind of admire Wagner’s loyalty toward Webber. Sure he pays his wages and persuaded the poor benighted soul to come here in the first place but his take on it was more flattering than that of some wag on social media who responded with words to the effect of:
“Sure the Club’s close to Webber’s heart, and so’s his bl00dy wallet!”
There are rumblings that the feelers are out to offer a new contract to Kieran Dowell [we’ll all have our own thoughts on that, mine are a shade of don’t really care that much but slightly positive] but somebody who has once more taken Queen Dee’s Shilling is Onel Hernandez.
You know Onel, one of the few current players who are pleased and proud to wear the Yellow shirt. He’s obviously an easy-going lad, keeping everything in the pram last season when he was deemed not good enough for the squad by either Webber, Daniel Farke or both and loaned out, firstly to Boro and then to Birmingham.
I’m sure it’s pure coincidence but it fell to Onel Lazaro Hernandez Mayea to adopt player media duties after the debacle, and he followed the tone of his Head Coach by refusing to attach blame to anybody but himself and his on-the-pitch colleagues:
“We are the ones who are on the pitch and have to perform to get a good result. It is not the other ones. It is not the fans who are supporting us, it is not the coaches who are preparing us. Not Delia – when I see on social media posts saying ‘Delia Out’, they have nothing to do with it.
“It’s the players. We play on the pitch and we are responsible for what we show. We haven’t done it enough. We have to perform and move out of our comfort zone and fight.”
As for the game itself, our Man in the Stands Don Harold*** was as grounded as you would expect:
“This was a truly terrible performance, totally inept. Norwich offered nothing all game, Swansea carved through the blancmange that used to be confined to City’s midfield but has spread throughout the team at will.
“The first goal came from a corner following a good Angus Gunn save after Swansea had cut through what passes for our defence. The interesting idea that defending the corner should be done by allowing the tallest Swansea player a free header is beyond my tactical understanding. The second goal came as Swansea carved their way elegantly through our team again, the sending-off resulted from the same lack of ability to cope with Swansea’s crisp and accurate passing football [remember when we used to do that]?
“The second half (or uncontested passing practice as Swansea almost certainly called it) came and went without any excitement for any Norwich fan. Swansea decided one more goal was enough, and Norwich decided there was no point in trying to do anything as splendid as scoring a goal.
“No second-half substitutions from Wagner probably saved players from being booed individually, and left Webber to be the sole target of what were quite apathetic protests.
“I have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes in preparation for next season. We still don’t know what the share issue was all about and have no real clue what the Attanasio family’s role is to be in the future. It’s a long time since I felt so bleak about NCFC’s future.”
The summer of discontent is about to start in earnest. April soon turns to May and then events at and surrounding Carrow Road will begin to gather pace.
Or if Delia Smith, Michael Wynn Jones, and Stuart & Zoe Webber continue to ride roughshod over the supporters, what developments there are will be kept as quiet as possible. It’s not that difficult with a muzzled local media and the certain knowledge that we are not sexy enough to interest the nationals.
The odd signing will be announced with great fanfare and when Max Aarons is sold probably a boast of “look how much we achieved for him” will be made. The estate agent terminology is used quite deliberately. Others will go too, some with less of a thank you than I sincerely hope is proffered to Max.
We have no money, just something approaching £66 million of debt caused largely by poor recruitment and it is going to be incredibly difficult to attract players of any calibre to Norfolk this summer.
Liam Gibbs, Tony Springett, Jonathan Rowe and maybe even Jon Tomkinson and Abu Kamara might find their time has come. Some supporters will be delighted by this, but I have to wonder if, with the possible exception of Gibbs, these youngsters are cut out for a gruelling 46-game season in what is surely the bearpit of all football, the English Football League Championship.
***Don H is also responsible for today’s outro music, a song from a northern band who were as witty as they were stroppy. They barely bothered the commercial charts but, like me, you might remember this particular track, and certainly at least the surreal name of the group itself. Don says the thought came to him, somewhat unsurprisingly, on his journey home:
John T says
Martin, as well as being very depressed about Saturday’s performance, I am confused about the future direction of our club.
Among contributors to MFW it is a given that “self-funding” is a disaster and that our majority shareholders are not rich enough to own a football club.
The alternative to self-funding is presumably having a rich owner putting in new capital every year to finance higher transfer fees and wages but surely this would breach the EFL’s financial fair play regulations and result in financial penalties and/or points deductions.
NCFC is already incurring substantial losses. We have one of the highest wage bills in the Championship, if not the highest. Our transfer spend in the summer of 2021/22 was one of the highest in the country! (Unfortunately most of it spent on unsuitable or injured players!)
Even if a new rich owner arrived and put in lots of new money, would we be allowed by the EFL to spend it?
Please can you or one of your intelligent readers tell me where on earth we go from here?
martin penney says
Everything you say makes perfect sense and while I am no expert on FFP I think you are very lijkely to be right – but I’ll join you in appealing to brighter readers than me to come forward with any clarification!
Rules and regs. off the pitch are not my strong point I’m afraid.
The only thing I know for sure is that your *even if* a new rich owner arrived is the key cos I don’t think Attanasio is that man and getting past the elderly gatekeeper is virtually impossible.
Quite agree about the money wasted.
Luton,Coventry and Millwall, have much less income, and they are all doing extremely well this season
Their transfer budgets combined over the past couple of years probably less than ours.
We need to get back to realistic ambitions. Back to the Lambert recruitment policy. Recruiting from the same or lower divisions, players glad to be here, and give their all for the club.
Fact is Lambo had no choice then, and we don’t now.
martin penney says
We only have to think of players like Holty [I know he was actually signed by Neeyul for Gunny but I’ll conveniently let it go], Ruddy, Pilkington, Elliott Bennett or Foxy and we’re back in 2010.
Nelse, Tiny Ward, even Stephen Hughes, and there were others too. Plus the homegrown Chrissy Martin. That cross from Hughes to Martin for the last-gasp winner against Leeds at the Carra sums up that era for me – and then there was Jacko against Derby of course.
There was a mutual love – and indeed understanding – between that group and us supporters.
A bullet Webber has to bite – but does he have the hubris or the knowhow?
Cheers – good comment.
Morning Mr P, I do not envy you ar the writers for this site, how many times and how many ways can the sh**show of games and management of the club be said? But some how you all do.
There must be a point when it can not be written anymore and some form of action is needed, if not it will just limp and crawl onwards. As I have said be before I and a passed on friend started the Worthy Out demo’s, I realise that we probably did nothing at the end of the day, except get a message out that we had had enough and change was needed. When the board finally acted, both of us told the others involved that we should continue onward for Doncaster,& Delia. This was met with good god no, she is doing an amazing job.. It was a case of Touch Not The Crowd’s Anointed. It was clear to us two along with one or two others, she would run this club almost into the ground. Along came relegation to L1, scape goats sacrificed on the altar for all to see.
Along comes a upturn, taking us right through to the Premiership, on a shoestring, Delia was loving it and so were we, some of the best times in the club’s history.. Then comes the point of more money was needed to enable us to stay there, nothing was really forthcoming in ambition or cash off went the best chance we had of establishing ourselves. The rest is up and down and consigned to the Yo-Yo section of history writers.
Now who thinks this time round will be any different, hands up.
They will ride it out with a wall of silence, arms will be thrown round our sporting director, petting and fueling his giant his ego, those darn supporters are never satisfied or happy, they should doff their caps to us, not voice an opinion.
I realise this might not be popular, but action is needed for the final game (should have happened games ago) a clear message must be given that supporters have had enough of this regime. A demo march with late entry along with chanting during the game. How on earth will a clear message ever get across.
This in many respects is the fans club, yes they own the shares and do as they please, I along with several others, chucked money in blankets and buckets taken round the ground organised by the Supporters Club. We regularly supported the events they staged and frequented the bar, yep beer was cheaper but still we played our part in raising funds for the club.
I found that I could have written article after article on my then site, and that is too simple, that can be bypassed easily, any letters sent into the club are easily consigned to the bin. But a few thousand supporters voicing loud and clear cannot be so easily discarded.
Right I’ll get my tin hat on and dive behind the sofa
martin penney says
Yes I know you were involved with *Worthy Out* and I’m kind of proud to say that I played my part in *Chase Out* before that.
But although I haven’t lost the inner fire, I couldn’t physically cope with being part of anything organised I’m afraid. Sometimes it’s good to get things out of the system by writing – you will know that given your own background.
It is heartbreaking to see the death by 1,000 cuts NCFC is going through right now, but occasionally something happens that offers a little bit of hope.
Paddy Davitt has written what is an unprecedented piece for him in the Pink Un this morning which must have been sanctioned by the powers that be at Newsquest, I’ve never known him do anything quite like it before and good on him.
Is there a will to recreate what we were part of all those years ago?
Put it in the same file as everything else – we can only wait and see.
Thanks – good comment.
you’re absolutely right ! yes there will be others who strongly disagree and want a family run little ole Norwich club .Maybe these people would be better suited to supporting Wroxham or Dereham FC ! Personally I would jump for joy if people from Saudi Arabia came in to buy the club ! I want to be entertained, and watch top flight football and world class players . I don`t see many Newcastle supporters complaining . I don`t care about the politics of the virtue ethical stance . And before these people get all outraged ,maybe they should think where the cobalt in they’re laptops and iphones etc come from and Indian sweatshops that churn out cheap sports wear etc
Having worked for many years in the Middle East I find most people to be very generous in their time and money.
It’s the firms mostly managed these days by Asians that have no respect for the work force and rules.
Anyway as with many other investors you get the good and the bad and until the deal is done you never know what you’re getting.
Qatar supplies the UK with most of its LPG, Saudi supplies Petroleum for Petrol and Diesel yet are their protests against these supplies.
I’m not advocating an Oil Rich Sheikh for city but are Man United supporters protesting about a Qatari buy out of the Glaciers who have used profits to pay off loans to buy the club while incurring more loans to finance more debts and paying themselves half a billion in directors fees a year.
They now want £6billion plus the potential buyers has to pay on top all outstanding debts and cover a new stadium.
So it doesn’t matter where you’re from be it China, Russia,USA or the Middle/Far East its a throw of the dice what’s the owners will be like.
Good points Alex and Martin
martin penney says
Sorry to butt in but that’s an honest comment if ever I’ve seen one!
I too sometimes struggle with the morality of it all, I really do.
Delia would probably like us all to dwell in some sort of Utopia where life is candy and the sun’s a ball of butter. I’m sorry to rain on her parade but life isn’t like that for the vast majority of us and football isn’t like that for sure.
Ethically I’m kind of stuck in the middle really. I draw the line at taking money from those that persecute their populations for practising homosexuality or holding certain political views, but pretty much anything else is fair game I’m afraid.
It’s dog eat dog out there and we are perpetually muzzled, if you like.
I agree Brian, football has changed beyond what I grew up, paying a few bob at the turnstile, if they we playing like they are today, you had a better choice of not going voting with your feet.
The funding of clubs that is in the cash cow that is the premiership is spreading to the championship, owners chairmen etc realise that to have any hope of getting and staying in the prem. The first thing that is needed is money, the amount needed is very rare in this Country or very rarely will those who have will spend it on a football club.
People still buy from shops like Primarnie and companies that use slave labour to make their goods, without a qualm. Can anyone really say where some money comes from ? The ex-owner of Chelski had dark shadows over where his came from. did Chelsea fans really care? like you mention Newcastle. Can Man U fans be 100% sure that the Glazers’ money had not seen a washing machine in the laundry?
As long as it is not criminal, gambling or involves children, I do not have a problem, but again can anyone be sure of those points?
This club can not survive much longer under these fantasy ideals, we know the Cook doesn’t like the premiership because of the money, but has anyone seen them give away their millions?
Even little Wrexham has richer owners and has already paid dividends also with crowds of around 10k, for home matches, which is fantastic for the non-league club (now a league club) The people who ran Wrexham, could see that they would need injections of money into the club, fair play to them for being stringent in their views and questions to Reynolds etc.
Without doubt, we need a refurb at all levels of the club. especially at the top.
martin penney says
Normally I’m not one for Hollywood and all that goes with it but I’m pretty sure the Wrexham adventure has only just begun.
I had a look at their official website and hit on the club shop – it’s as well I didn’t want to buy anything as they’ve virtually sold all the stock!
And printing some Championship winning shirts in the Welsh language was a lovely touch. Take note Mr Richens – THAT’S how to treat your fans – with consideration and respect. Or by adding value, in your terminology.
🤣🤣 national shite day. Brilliantly apt
martin penney says
How could we say no… 🙂
Andrew Delf says
Good column Martin, leaving aside the disaster of the top levels of the club this was as gutless performance I can remember from a Norwich side. That players can accept off their own colleagues such abject surrender is beyond me. Not one player looked angry or bothered. Weak, lily livered, pathetic call it what you want but it was awful. I’m not interested in lame apologies they mean nothing to me or the old couple in the seats behind who do a round trip of a 120 miles each home game or Big Steve from Kings lynn who goes to every game home and away. Grant Holt wouldn’t spit on this bunch of players. They have no bottle, they have little or no understanding of how much the club means to the supporters.
martin penney says
Too right about Holty, too right about the players having no bottle.
It’s the Big Steves and your old couples of this world that I feel sorry for. Loyalty you cannot buy is rewarded with well, yet another $hitshow.
Fan apathy suits the Smiths and Webbers down to the ground and they’re driving it home as sure as eggs are eggs.
MYSTIC KEV says
Bored ridged Martin we were that poor even with 11 these players just don’t want it they are capable of top six but I don’t see them yearning for it on the pitch that has to come from wagner and coaching staff to fire them up . Strange thing is no one has hold on 5th or 6th place anyone out of 7teams including us could do it but we don’t want it frustrating mate .
martin penney says
Yes mate it must have been south of dismal to have witnessed it at first hand.
I’m beginning to think that Millwall [away] must have been some kind of aberration. Either that or I dreamed it.
Fair play to Coventry and Sunderland if they make it and commiserations to Millwall if they don’t, just cos I’d love to see them wrinkle the establishment noses for a season!
Mystic Kev says
Yer mate won at Coventry Pne Blackburn and Sunderland as well all up there couldn’t beat Rotherham wigan or Huddersfield couldn’t make it up could you .🙈
martin penney says
I can’t remember what circs Mark Robins left us under but if there was nothing untoward him or Warney would have been more than worth a try.
Both of them know how to work with no money!
Bernard Owen says
If by an unexpected fluke City can manage to lose at the hawthorns next Saturday we will be in the position of losing as many games as we have won. When the win gave you 2 points, averaging 1 point a game was known as mid table mediocrity , and that is where this season is ending up.
So all we have left this season is to give Teemu Pukki a decent rousing cheer when he is substituted in the second half against Blackpool.
martin penney says
The way things are going Pukki might be a late sub against Blackpool, but either way he’ll get his thoroughly deserved ovation I am sure.
Max’s future will become clear judging by his reaction to the Barclay at the final whistle, but for the rest of them, Onel excepted, I really don’t give a damn.
What a weekend first a city drubbing then a repeat preformance but only worse from a much more expensive team called Spurs.
Like yourself and many other we all went through the Chase out period and I have watched here in Blackpool the years of demonstrating against Owen Oysten at least the site of a naked owner sunbathing on the stadium roof hasn’t happen at Carrow Road with guests at the near by hotel calling the police to get him removed.
Can we expect changes or is it a fading hope like a playoff place, can we see a Bank calling in the £66m loan for late payment as we all suspect our owners wouldn’t bail the club out of this fine mess they have got it into.
The Webber might be with others on the board of directors but are still employed by the club so can’t sanction large financial spending the final say sits with the owners and other share holders.
Whether it be the Financial Director or the Webbers who is advising Smith and Jones surely they must look at their own self financing mantra and say this isn’t right using future revenue to live today is just poor management.
Sunderland were sold a few years back and the purchasers used the future TV monies to repay loans and we all know how that went and where they landed, Burnley owners used the same method to get players in this season and pay of a relegation clause last season but recruitment with a new manager has turned their season round.
The thing with the Burnley model is they had the right people doing the behind scene financing all experts in their field, itcould all still go to crap for them as promises have to be repaid on promotion and Ibet theirs a big relegation clause for the next season but with those experts they just might get passed all the obstacles.
We can only hope that Mark Attanasio and his Capital Investment Fund is looking into ways to finance city into a better financial situation than at the present time.
Will Delia be crying into a bowl of Chicken Soup about our current financial state I don’t think so
martin penney says
Yes that Oyston episode is one of many that sticks in the mind and if it’s all the same to you mate we won’t contemplate our owners in that kind of compromising scenario, particularly as I’m about to eat my lunch.
We can forget the idea of them bailing out a £66 million debt as, just like you and me, they haven’t got the money.
I reckon some folks are expecting a bit much of Mark Attanasio and I do not see him riding over the hill with any cash for debt repayment or players I’m afraid. After a season such as this, it’s a simple question: would you put money in? Particularly when Delia doesn’t?
What happens with Burnley will be interesting and it certainly will be with Forest – I’m sure not advocating taking their approach to spending!
I sat through the entire 90 minutes on Saturday because I think I was traumatised by the worst City performance I’d seen in almost sixty years of watching them.
Apart from the sadness in seeing my club going to rack and ruin at the hands of the current regime I felt I’d contributed to matters by renewing my season ticket against my better judgment at the time.
A very apt musical choice!
martin penney says
Traumatised is a good word. For £25 or whatever it is I’m investing in a membership in case I recover enough to go to the odd game next season. It’s rather unlikely but you never know and something tells me casual tickets will be easily available.
I’m a rocker at heart with a great love of punk but Don comes from a pure Clash and Stranglers heritage untainted by metal so knows that scene a bit better than I do!
Tim Ball says
Excellently put Martin.
It was only my second visit post-Farke and after an okay first ten minutes it was startling to see how far we have fallen since the days of The Great Daniel, on and off the pitch.
Dear old Russ had done his homework and exposed our full backs time and time again. It was embarrassing. Getting embarrassed in the Premier League is one thing but the championship ???
I know a lot of supporters won’t agree with this but we really miss Hanley and McClean. I have given poor old Kenny👉 some stick but we don’t half miss his leadership and organization along with Grant’s defending. Since we have lost Grant we have conceded 10 goals in 4 games, well 3 really as Rotherham set a low block and came for a point.
David Wagner’s big problem ahead, who does he let go. That was an extremely young side out there on Saturday. Take out Angus and Onel the only guy older than 23 was Jacob Sorenson at 25. In this league you need some experience. Which is exactly what you say Martin at the end of your article.
I always remember the tale Danny Baker tells of the Millwall (Danny’s team) supporter who rang one of his radio phone ins and said “Millwall will do buggar all until we get rid of Cascarino and Sheringham” look how that turned out.
I have said all I am going to say about Stuart Webber and Delia in recent months ( I am now boring myself) on here other than the fact they must realise that their time is up. Stuart’s wife isn’t going to sack him nor is it possible, however fans may want to sack Delia. To chant “Delia out” may successfully jar her off it but it may even entrench her stubborn views.
When there was no Mr Anttanasio or the like, according to the very deceitful club hierarchy I must say, Delia’s protestations that there was “no one else who wanted to buy her lovely club, how sad” I for one fell for it.
My mate Marty didn’t. But now we know there is an alternative she must go for the sake of the club. Mr A won’t be everyone’s idea of our Saviour but I am sure he is a better alternative to the status quo.
I just cannot believe that despite Stuart Webber’s complete lack of hubris that he cannot see what a disaster the last two seasons have been. Is he solely responsible…no…. but neither were Daniel Farke and Dean Smith, but they paid with their jobs.
I hope Teemu gets a great send off against Blackpool. Do I wish to see supporters organize protests at this game, no because it is a waste of time as whatever happens it will be forgotten with the passage of time.
Let the summer come and go, see what happens next season, but any repeat of that kind of display we saw on Saturday I am right with you all the way.
martin penney says
I like the Danny Baker reference – he was always a good listen on a boring journey for work when Five Live used to be plain old Radio Five and Wiggly Park was the regular comic interlude!
*Mr A won’t be everyone’s idea of our saviour but I am sure he is a better alternative to the status quo.*
For sure but I’ll repeat my remark to Alex [above] that I don’t think we should expect too much from his as we are likely to be disappointed.
While the Gang of Four +Tom have no responsibility to anybody but themselves we are in serious trouble. Don’t get me wrong, Smith Jnr is only guilty by association and I am not in any way accusing him of anything untoward – indeed he seems to have found a niche with the CSF and fair play to him for his efforts therewith.
It’s a mess my friend and there will be many more tears before many more bedtimes until an act of God brings some form of resolution.
Glad you made it to the match – actually enjoying it would have been a selfish ask 🙂
A very good read Martin.
With respect to the issue of FFP and its possible impact I don’t feel its an impediment to investment.
Everyone I speak to would be happy if in addition to getting the club ru on a more professional basis, removing the ‘little old’ prefix from our consciousness forever, the ability to hold onto prized assets for a longer term in order to benefit from their talent fully would suffice.
martin penney says
Thanks for that.
I think the lack of professionalism in the day to day running of the club is well and truly out in the open now and most certainly the *li’l ole Norwich* tag ceased to be amusing yonks ago – if ever it was in the first place.
I’m struggling to think of any prized assets worth holding on to just now, but I know what you mean!
From what little I’ve seen, and rather more that I’ve read Martin, $h1te seems too kind for what we are at the moment!
O T B C
martin penney says
I guess you make a fair and valid point 🙂