And that just about summed it up.
Even on a day when we all were saluting a Club legend, they still didn’t have it in them to produce a performance. Gutless and spineless to the bitter end.
On a day when, for most of the time, Carrow Road opted to set aside its differences with the Club’s hierarchy and generate an atmosphere befitting of a departing hero, this group still failed to deliver.
That they ended the season in the bottom half of the table was entirely fitting for a group that looks infinitely more like relegation fodder than playoff hopefuls.
Nothing in this team functions as it should, aside from its goalkeeper.
The back four gets opened up with alarming regularity – Blackpool could have scored four or five if they’d been more clinical in front of goal – and gets out of shape more than it’s in shape.
The midfield huffs and puffs but creates very little. Blackpool’s banks of four and five were comfortably able to withstand spells of pressure because, more often than not, the ball was shifted so painfully slowly.
And up front, we’ve managed to breathe new life into the term ‘powderpuff’.
Over the last 11 games, it’s shown itself to be an awful football team. The Club, and those charged with putting it together, should be thoroughly ashamed.
They won’t be – somehow it will be twisted around to be the fault of the fans – but they should.
The mitigation will come in the form of the injuries, particularly those picked up by Grant Hanley, Kenny McLean, and Ben Gibson, but that in itself tells its own little story. All three have struggled at times and have been on the receiving end of the fans’ ire, yet without them we look broken.
So how does a club that one year ago was in the Premier League allow its squad to be so reliant on three players? Why is the squad so ill-equipped to withstand three key injuries?
Without delving too deep, I’m fairly sure other teams, including those now in the Championship playoffs, will have suffered similarly but have still produced performances. Not us. Our performance level has disintegrated,
In the final 11 games of last season – by common consensus, a complete disaster – our record read, Won 1, Drawn 2, Lost 8. Among our conquerors in that run were Manchester United, Newcastle, and Tottenham.
In the final 11 games of this season – also by common consensus, a complete disaster – our record reads, Won 1, Drawn 4, Lost 6. In this run we’ve been beaten by, among others, Swansea, West Brom, and Blackpool.
In the Premier League and when you’re Norwich City that kind of run is heartbreakingly familiar. But to produce something very similar when you’re in the second tier and when you have tangible advantages over most other clubs in the form of squad quality and parachute payments?
How is that in any way acceptable? Why are we expected just to shrug it off and take it on the chin because we’ve been informed that a summer reset is incoming?
We finished just seven points shy of the playoffs – equivalent to two wins and a draw – yet somehow a run of one win in 11 in the run-in is brushed off because we’re supposedly planning to refresh the squad in the summer.
In almost every other club in the country, serious questions would be asked of David Wagner’s suitability for the job.
In almost every other club in the country, Stuart Webber would have been thanked for the good things he has achieved in his six seasons but then politely shown the door.
But we’re not a serious football club.
When we were told we were going to do things differently, this is not what we had in mind.
A serious football club isn’t run at the behest of two married couples.
A serious football club questions and challenges those in power in order for it to become better and to move forward.
But instead, Delia and Michael hand all of the power in the world to the Webbers, and look where it has left us: from a playing perspective, in a weaker position than we were when Stuart arrived.
Yes, football is cyclical and, yes, this is the end of a cycle, but cycles don’t have to end with your football club dropping off the edge of a cliff.
It feels rotten, and certainly not right that those who have led us down this path are the same ones now being tasked with leading us back into the light.
It feels like they’ve lost that right.
But. equally, I expect nothing, or at least very little, to change.
I’m guessing in the next few weeks, we’ll get confirmation that the Attanasios have taken on the new share issue but, for now, what that actually means is a complete unknown to those of us not privy to any inside information.
It feels like this club needs revolution. I fear it will get a few tweaks.
But we’ll see. Those in the know appear more positive than I, so perhaps something big is about to happen.
For now, hope is all we have.
Good riddance to 2022-23.