‘Big Vince’ is back. As ever, he can explain it better than I can…
When you last heard from Big Vince, I was gently nursing a quantity of the finest whiskey (and yes, whoever it was who commented before, the best whiskeys are all spelled with an ‘e’) I was telling you all the reason to be cheerful about Norwich City was the fanbase remaining ready to roar in support of a team, if given a reason to do so.
And for a short, brief period of time, I sat back in smug satisfaction as I thought this club was going to do its part.
Those first fixtures of this fresh feast of football that is a new Championship season now seem so far flung from the current situation. It has been since the drubbings really began on that dark away trip to Plymouth that I have regularly taken to my gorgeous mahogany rocking chair poised in my library, cognac often in hand, to brood on the situation that has emerged since.
Even Mrs Vince told me she was concerned – and that woman has nerves of absolute steel, I can tell you.
I am breaking no confidence to tell you that Big Vince is a positive man. In fact, I’m often told by my thousands of friends, “Big Vince, you’re like a breath of positive air in a world so full of dark negativity”.
But that’s another story. I like to view the world through rose-tinted glasses.
But there can be no rose tint without something to give us that positive perspective. To give us all that reason to believe.
And boy oh boy, the hierarchy at this football club are doing their very best to snuff out all possible chances of finding that spark, aren’t they?
Let’s start with poor old David Wagner. If he were here, I’d offer him a glass and a strong snifter of this beautiful Portuguese 1997 vintage Port I’ve got saved for just such occasions, and the spot next to my roaring fire that’s been increasingly in use as the nights grow colder.
Yes okay; he’s shown his struggles with tactical nous. His team selections have gotten increasingly desperate and bizarre. His game management is non-existent. But he has had his fair share of bad luck too.
And we are increasingly seeing that he’s a man asked to climb a mountain with a pair of toothpicks. He has proven to be a man ill-equipped, out of his depth, and tasked with a job I’m not sure that the very best football managers could have completed.
I feel sorry for him.
Not that that would save him if Big Vince were in charge. I’m sorry to say I’d have given him his marching orders after the Sunderland match.
Blame has to be apportioned in greater quantities at the door of the sporting director. Stuart Webber has completed the greatest fall from grace in Norwich City’s history. Having been once seen as the best thing since Warburton sliced bread (the best loaf by far, in Big Vince’s view), he now eclipses Robert Chase and Glenn Roeder as this club’s greatest-ever villain.
His lack of transfer acumen, his appointments of managers (Big Vince still dislikes this head coach nonsense), and his continued hanging around the halls of Carrow Road like some unwanted Christmas gift from that crazy, controversial aunt you always tolerated because she made a decent mince pie. And no – Big Vince did not mean that quip as some hidden slight at Delia Smith either.
But she and her husband have to take a lot of the blame too, in this man’s humble view. You don’t need the elucidation prompted by the sort of libations Big Vince partakes in to see it’s farcical how she and the rest of the board – and I include the Attanasios in this – have handled this takeover.
If having a sporting director working with one foot firmly out the exit door at Colney Training Centre creates one kind of vacuum, having a takeover process that’s lingered around longer than the time needed for yours truly to work his way through a considerable portion of my impressive wine cellar, is a scandal.
This has left not a leadership vacuum, but a leadership chasm.
It wasn’t the sheer naivety of the set-up, lack of defensive structure, and work ethic of a set of players who have seemingly no fight in them that surprised Big Vince most as he watched the game against Blackburn. It was the silence of the crowd. The irrefutable evidence of this club’s greatest asset – its loyal, ever-present fans – beginning to switch off.
The club is now the closest they have ever been to driving away the people they need most. And the decisive, definitive action to bring us back to the bosom of the club we love so much looks about as far away from arriving as it ever has.
Do you really believe Ben Knapper will be that white knight to rescue us from these dark times?
Given the track record in major decisions made by this club – it’s probably not a surprise to hear that even Big Vince has his doubts. Hope is close to being extinguished.
It’s enough to make Big Vince open that next bottle of cognac.