Six hours on a coach journey back from Sunderland gives you plenty of time to mull over all things yellow and green.
Dealing with the five stages of grieving yet another loss are fairly well-practiced these days but therein lies the answer, somewhere, or at least your opinion of the way forward.
There’s certainly no Denial as we’re usually beaten pretty comprehensively.
Anger is easy, especially when you get the now inevitable defensive collapse supplemented by a generous helping of individual errors, and a head coach who doesn’t believe there is any other way to play football.
Depression? Yeah, that’s not a stretch for any supporter.
But the interesting parts are Bargaining and Acceptance. What would you like to happen? What do you think will happen? And what are you willing to accept happening?
For some their position is unnegotiable and every head must fall on demand. For those who back the club thoroughly, they wait, plunge their heads deeply into the sand, and hope that things will magically resolve themselves.
But most of us live in that middle ground. That pragmatic reality where there isn’t one magic bullet that can absolve all the myriad problems that surround the club at this time. But we know bullets need to be fired. Inaction under fire only leads to extinction.
Everyone will have their own viewpoints, but here are mine. Seven of them. Ridicule at will.
David Wagner needs to go. Immediately. Nice guy, but he’s lost the confidence of that dressing room with his tactical zealotry for one style and one style alone, and he can’t/won’t change. He also sounds like he’s even lost his belief in his own ability.
The timing of the boardroom changes is not a huge problem. Any kind of major transition of shares and power in a football club takes a long time to happen. It’s the same at any club. And it’s not like Mark Attanasio isn’t already here and doesn’t already have a voice on the board.
It’s a handy tool to beat Delia and Michael with for those already inclined, but the current share issue isn’t what’s exacerbating the current on-field situation. Their plan to gradually hand over for a 3-7 year period is another issue entirely but that’s not time-specific right now.
I don’t think anyone is trying to do a bad job or acting out of malice. The board want things to work and they believe that the plans they have made to transition between Sporting Directors were the correct way to do things, and were a professional and mature approach.
I think Stuart Webber, for all his brash demeanour with regard to certain sections of the fanbase, is grateful to the board for the opportunity and backing he’s received throughout his time and still wants to leave the club in as good a place as possible when he leaves, for them and his own sense of propriety.
The man has an ego, undoubtedly, but I don’t think he’s plotting to undermine us. And Wagner himself, is genuinely doing what he thinks is best. The problem is, he also did that at his last two clubs and there’s a reason why his teams keep losing.
We need to take the bile and anger out when talking about what’s wrong with the club right now. Nobody is trying to do the wrong thing.
All available efforts right now should go into negotiating Ben Knapper’s immediate start as Sporting Director. Ideally, you would want him and Neil Adams working with the board to identify a new manager right now. (And please let it be someone on the up without previous failures weighing them down like Dean Smith and Wagner).
Stuart Webber should not be involved in identifying the new manager. It does nobody any good either now or later. “Webber’s Man”, “Agent X”, or “Knapper’s unchosen burden” are all unhelpful sobriquets and all too easy to use negatively.
Knapper needs to be the guiding light in this decision, even if he isn’t officially in post yet.
We need to make a decision on Narcis Pelach while we are at this crossroads. He’s a man clearly in a hurry to become a manager. He made it known he was interested in the Blackpool job at the end of last season, and he’s now done the same with the Sheffield Wednesday job.
He’s certainly a name we could consider to replace Wagner and his eagerness to prove himself coupled with tactical knowledge suggests he holds a lot of important credentials we’d be looking for.
However, if we go another way, I’d suggest he needs to be let go from his coaching role, as he’s unlikely to be here for very long otherwise, and a new head coach needs the team around him to be committed to his long-term plans.
We need to enjoy football again. We’ve had two-and-a-half years of awful results now. We need a head coach who can offer hope for a brighter future.
We need a game plan that allows players to express themselves and enjoy their football.
And we need the fans to view Carrow Road as a place where they go to be entertained once more, not somewhere that requires a stiff drink beforehand to enable them to endure a nervous 90+ minutes of the keeper and centre-backs playing two-touch rondo with the opposition strikers and praying nothing goes wrong.
Or we could just do nothing, get beaten yet again on TV against Blackburn, keep Wagner in post, losing us games until the atmosphere is hideously toxic, and then on Knapper’s first day in post in late November, tell him it’s his problem now and he has to sort it out immediately.
That could work too, I suppose.