I’ve got that pretty vacant feeling about Norwich City’s current woes
PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 December 2016
At the end of the Sex Pistols’ shambolic final concert Johnny Rotten’s parting shot to the disaffected crowd was “ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”. City fans will know exactly what he meant.
In the five weeks since Jez Moxey, in one of his rare appearances above the parapet, proclaimed that “promotion, promotion, promotion” was his only objective, City have shown precious little sign of resolving problems that have been evident for most of the season and, in reality, for much of the last two.
Against Reading, the centre-back pairing, who are currently keeping out the club’s record defensive signing, allowed the usual supply of free headers, two of which led to goals, and one of those to the potentially much more damaging loss of Jonny Howson to a red card.
The increasingly impressive Nelson Oliveira, inset, was given scraps to feed off before his bizarre substitution and long periods of City control came to nothing due to a lack of quality in the final third. We’ve seen it all before so many times and the reaction of the ever-shrinking away section and alarm bells should be ringing in the ears of those responsible for making decisions at the club.
They should have been made significantly louder by a post-game interview by Alex Neil that defied any form of logic. Youssouf Mulumbu, one of the few successes in recent games, had apparently been left out because he’ll be away at the African Cup of Nations next month, even though he was available on Saturday and would be for the two games after that.
Oliveira, City’s only real star at Reading, was substituted for Cameron Jerome because the latter is quicker, a consideration that apparently only becomes relevant when a team is down to 10, and isn’t overridden by the basic common sense that when chasing a game two strikers might give you more chance than one, even if it makes you vulnerable at the back.
And, finally, Neil claimed that the game was lost because the players hadn’t executed his game plan. Given that pretty much the same group of players have failed to execute eight out of the last 10 game plans perhaps the penny should drop that there’s either something seriously wrong with the plans, the players or both and that change rather than stubborn repetition might be the way forward.
However, it appears that within the circle of wagons drawn up around the Carrow Road boardroom all is well and it’s business as usual. That was hammered home on Wednesday evening when Moxey, having declined to submit to being questioned by the local media, appeared in a blatantly stage-managed and carefully edited in-house interview that was presumably intended to pour oil on troubled waters but actually had exactly the opposite effect.
There is now a very clear discrepancy between what the club is saying and what it’s doing, but we shouldn’t be surprised. The now infamous Times interview with Henry Winter made clear that offers to buy the club were not even being considered as the family succession had now been secured, and that the Premier League is something to be reviled, based as it is on filthy lucre.
That, and the continuing failure to replace a manager who has taken the club to the bottom of the Championship form table, really doesn’t suggest a burning desire to drive the club back towards the top division and yet the supporters have been actively encouraged to believe everything is still geared towards that single objective as season ticket renewal time approaches.
It’s becoming increasingly hard not to conclude that the fans are just there to be fed platitudes and milked of their hard-earned cash. Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?