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Norwich City is fighting for a bigger prize than Championship promotion

11:30 03 December 2014

Norwich City 's squad look weighed down by expectation. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Norwich City 's squad look weighed down by expectation. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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After the poisonous outpouring came the pause and a chance for some semblance of perspective to take root.

"The search for the magic answer is a pointless exercise. It doesn’t exist."

Paddy Davitt

Neil Adams remains in his post. Norwich remain moored in mid-table mediocrity, weighed down by expectation and unfulfilled promise.

Get rid of Adams, promote Mike Phelan. Get rid of Adams and Phelan, go all out to attract Tony Pulis. Drop John Ruddy, promote Declan Rudd. On and on like a raging fire which erupted at the final whistle inside and outside Carrow Road against Reading and has been fanned ever since by social media.

The search for the magic answer is a pointless exercise. It doesn’t exist. If it did, football would not be littered with managerial casualties, short-term outlooks, financial instability and a growing sense of detachment from a core support who increasingly have to consider whether it is worth the outlay and the emotional distress on a Saturday afternoon.

The Canaries’ impressive season ticket base would suggest the club has been remarkably resistent to the currents afflicting many others around the country, but they are not immune.

Not when those trooping to Carrow Road this season have been short-changed. Reading was an abysmal offering, but there have been plenty to rival it since those heady August days when Watford and Blackburn were swept aside on a growing tide of optimism.

The reaction that greeted the final whistle against the Royals and the bitter aftermath make one thing certain. We have now embarked on the end game.

If Norwich’s board did not know before they do now. The silent, reasonable, considered majority have had enough and they want change. Whether that is Adams, whether that is major surgery to the playing squad, whether that is just a semblance of a common sense of purpose on the pitch and 11 players all buying into the manager’s philosophy.

You can measure this process in games or points from here, but Adams’ removal from frontline duty will not cure all the ills.

Norwich’s manager is a hugely likeable, honest individual. The passion to restore his club to the Premier League burns intensely.

Those who castigate him for a lack of experience need only look at the magnificent job Mark Warburton has engineered at Brentford after succeeding Uwe Rosler. Warburton swapped a high-flying career in the City to learn his trade in football’s academy system before guiding the Bees out of League One and into the Championship promotion mix.

Likewise, experience made little difference to Felix Magath’s ill-fated reign at Fulham.

Nor is this about Adams’ desire to attack and entertain with a commitment to possession football. Look again at the top end of the table and you see Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth, who adhere to the same mantra, while the uncomplicated style of Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich proves equally durable.

The problems run deeper than Adams’ exit, or lack of experience, or playing style. The rump of a squad who endured Premier League relegation look constricted by that lingering stench of defeatism. The prolonged downward spiral under Chris Hughton triggered a schism between supporters and those who shape the direction of their football club and City’s early season response to adversity merely papered over the cracks. They are visible again.

Promotion is the remit but there is a bigger goal right now; to address a growing disconnect between those who follow and those who lead.

If the reaction since the final whistle against Reading proves anything it is Norwich City means so much to so many. That includes the manager and his new first team coach. But we knew that already. It is the patience of supporters and directors that will dictate how long they move forward together.

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12 comments

  • John L Norton, your post is spot on! could not have said it better myself, the current form is just a touch of reality, the sooner fans accept it the better!

    Report this comment

    Alan Mason

    Friday, December 5, 2014

  • Inexperience leads to a lack of authority where so called senior players are concerned. Let's hope that Mike Phelan will encourage Neil to cull those who don't perform and give the opportunity to the youngsters we have seen do so well or to those other players who haven't been given an opportunity so far. The sack the manager brigade need to look at those clubs who have done that and see that it's not always the answer.

    Report this comment

    wricotmw

    Thursday, December 4, 2014

  • how to avoid this mistake? The book says 'refrain from promoting workers based on their current performance without proof of their abilities to succeed in the proposed role'-What proof was there that Adams could achieve promotion from the Championship? I would suggest none!

    Report this comment

    borderman

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

  • Adams promotion to manager is proof of 'The peter principle' in that people get promoted until they reach their level of incompetence- I suggest the board should have read the book before they gave him the job !

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    borderman

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

  • Excellent article.

    Report this comment

    LittleYellowBirdie

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

  • First Division come Championship Mid-table mediocrity is our natural home, we have and will spend the bulk of our existence there or there about's and flirtations with the premiership will be very rare and brief. it's the natural order of things and unless huge changes are made that is the way things will remain. I think many people need a reality check.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

  • I like Neil Adams, he appears to be a genuine person with honest goals and intentions. But he needs time to learn his craft, to gain the experience he lacks. Time is a luxury that very few football Managers are granted. He is being sorely let down by the playing staff at the moment who appear not to want to try. Neil needs to get the remaining Bassongs out of the squad before they get him the sack. Give me young inexperienced players with ambition and a point to prove over these unmotivated "senior" players.

    Report this comment

    kenfoggo

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

  • the only difference between Brentford's gamble with an inexperienced manager and ours is that their's paid off. Neil Adams, because of that inexpererience, doesn't know what to do to put things right on and, it would seem, off the pitch. He has seven central defenders, three of which he bought pre season. Of these only one plays occasionally and the other two do not get picked at all. And he is talking about bringing in more players in January. I have said before that Neil Adams doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes and I'm afraid that the time has come for the board to replace him.

    Report this comment

    Bellboy

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

  • In any business if it starts to fail you go back to the tried and tested formula that you succeeded in and start again.Football is No different to a business in the World so we all need to look at ourselves and say are we the guilty party.The fans moan about players,the players blaming the type of ball or the length of grass or the manager blaming the other team.We must all stop blaming each other and look within. I have seen city play good ,bad and indifferent football since the heady days of Big Duncan and David stringer in the late sixtys and early seventies but have never seen or heard so much negativity in all my life. WE all need to grow up and take responsibility for our club who ever we are. OTBC

    Report this comment

    canarykid

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

  • the club shuts up the press no surprise there is it

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    canaries

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

  • Paddy has hit the nail on the head. The expectation placed on this team week in and week out is so huge that the players are already looking tired. It's not surprising given the constant criticism aimed at them by fans during a game at the sight of the smallest of mistakes. This has lead to low confidence and evolved into frailties at both ends of the pitch. Its time for us supporters to give the team some breathing space, to back off, and to get behind them.

    Report this comment

    Mellow_Yellow

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

  • Good article Paddy but there is always an answer, the club just needs to find the right one.

    Report this comment

    TrevorKeith

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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