I’m afraid we just have to face the facts – it’s time to change the Norwich City manager
PUBLISHED: 16:21 11 November 2016 | UPDATED: 12:40 12 November 2016
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I don’t like moaning about the team I have supported for 40 years.
I hate booing at the end of another defeat.
And as a “glass half full” fan who has been accused of wearing his yellow and green spectacles for a bit too long at times, I certainly take no pleasure in calling for a manager to be replaced.
However, I now believe it’s time for a change at Carrow Road before it’s too late.
I have been backing Alex Neil to turn things round and have tried to remain positive by focussing on a high league position and a squad laden with players who should be able to stroll back to the top flight.
My heart tells me we need a new boss and my emotions are certainly stronger after the defeats at Brighton and against Leeds.
Feelings are running high among fans and it’s easy to jump on a bandwagon to call for a knee-jerk reaction to what some still believe has just been a bad couple of weeks.
Yes, Alex Neil’s manager of the month trophy has hardly had time to gather dust on his mum’s mantelpiece.
Yes, it’s not long since we were top of the tree – and we are still in the play-offs.
And followers of many Championship clubs will remain green with envy at the quality of players donning the green and yellow.
But my head is now aligned with my heart as I have weighed up the facts which back the emotional pull to call for change.
Starting at the back and 27 goals conceded in 16 league games is very poor – especially when you look at the comedy nature of many of them.
Only basement club Rotherham and fifth from bottom Nottingham Forest have been more generous to their opponents.
I know the argument can be thrown back that City have the second highest total in the goals for column.
Having such a weak defence, though, is no foundation for sustainable progress.
Another stark reality is that of City’s eight wins this season, seven have been against the bottom seven teams. The only other triumph was over ninth-placed Bristol City.
The six games against other top 10 sides have netted just two points. To have any chance of going up, you have to win your mini league.
Delving a bit deeper and even the wins have generally been less than emphatic.
I’m convinced our Monday night six a side team would have given Blackburn a good contest on the opening game of the season.
The victories at Wolves and Forest were decent – despite their lowly positions – but the Bristol City, Cardiff, Wigan, Burton and Rotherham wins all lacked real overwhelming potency.
The number of goals conceded late on in games is a telling factor – to me it says so much about the current malaise.
So much responsibility for passion, pride and performance falls on those players who cross that white line.
Too many men who have been given the privilege – because that is what it is – of representing City are falling woefully short at the moment.
They need to sort themselves out. But someone has to be at the helm who can organise, inspire and get the best out of them.
I’m afraid I’m not seeing that from Neil at the moment.
The energy, creativity and guile appear to have gone.
Teams facing City have sussed a simple plan of shutting out Wes, getting in our faces and bullying us.
The board have put their faith in Neil to turn the tide. But how long do they leave it?
There are only two more games in November and December will then fly past. If a new manager is to come in, he has to have that crucial January window to right the wrongs.
Newcastle will run away with the title and too many other teams are on the rise as City slide.
The club’s hierarchy say City have two years to get promotion. I firmly believe it has to be this year or there’s the risk of sliding into Championship obscurity.
HERO OF THE WEEK: He wasn’t perfect and aspects of his game need attention, but Louis Thompson’s performance was the one bright spot for me on Saturday. He worked tirelessly, drove forward and crucially looked like he really cared. I hope he stays in for QPR away.
VILLAINs OF THE WEEK: From singing during the minute’s silence to abusing street vendors to intimidating people around the city, the Leeds fans hardly covered themselves in glory at the weekend. Why can’t they leave the yobbish past behind them?
HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK: Black humour has certainly been the order of the day among City fans over the past few days. So I had to chuckle when I read the tweet “That feeling when your chairman @edballs gets as many points in one evening as your team has all season.”
FUNNIEST MOMENT OF THE WEEK: ‘The only clean sheets you’ll see at Carrow Road this season will be in the hotel rooms,” so quipped one Canary Call listener. At this rate he may well have a point – and even MK Dons managed to grab a goal.
PREDICTION OF THE WEEK: There’s something very commendable about loyalty – but Alex Neil has backed Michael McGovern for too long. I think John Ruddy will be back next week – and hope he takes his chance.