Opinion: Norwich City have appointed the one man who really wanted the job

Norwich manager Neil Adams gives instructions to Russell Martin during the 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat to Fulham at Craven Cottage, London. 
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Norwich manager Neil Adams gives instructions to Russell Martin during the 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat to Fulham at Craven Cottage, London. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Friday, May 23, 2014
8:34 AM

When Neil Adams was asked if he would take over Norwich City for the last five games of the season he might have been forgiven for politely saying, ‘thanks, but no thanks’.

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It was a one-game challenge: beat Fulham, which should be enough to keep City in the Premier League, and you can get away with nothing from the last four games of the season which were, frankly, unwinnable.

The manoeuvre failed and City went down, which moved the goalposts as far as the search for a new manager was concerned.

Adams made no secret of his desire to have the job on a permanent basis. And, think about it, no one else came out and said anything of the sort in public. They had their chances, but no one committed themselves to Norwich City Football Club. One assumes the other candidates had other irons in the fire – West Brom and Celtic spring to mind.

Malky Mackay pretty much remained silent, although he could easily have followed the protocol by getting his agent to spread the word and pop up in a few public places or make himself more easily available to the media and shown a desire. Neil Lennon’s departure from Celtic yesterday perhaps didn’t give him time to advertise his wares should he feel the need, while Gianfranco Zola, even when asked directly, didn’t really say anything but the obvious: “Norwich is a good club”.

And all the time, Adams was waiting for his chance. The only man we knew who really wanted the job.

Now he has got it.

The reaction, I’m sure, will be mixed, although frankly there have been one or two curiosities about this particular managerial appointment process.

City’s relegation clearly didn’t help the cause but it seemed from the very start that there were only a few names in the frame – all of the aforementioned. Usually there are a lot more.

Then there was the fans’ reaction to those ‘candidates’ – it seemed very mixed. There was clearly no overall favourite.

So how do you convince an Adams doubter that he is capable of doing a good job?

First of all, have a look at what happened at Manchester United a year ago: David Moyes was introduced as the Chosen One to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson, and it failed miserably. There is no guarantee that anyone will be a success – no matter who he is. Mackay, Lennon, Zola or Adams. Managerial selection isn’t a gamble, but it is a risk.

As City fans saw in the past, club connections don’t always work: Bryan Gunn, Ian Butterworth and Ian Crook had it in abundance, but the recipe tasted awful. Adams has history as a former City player who became a highly respected youth team coach. He was badly treated by Glenn Roeder but he never stooped low enough to vent what we suspect were his true feelings. He played it sensibly, returned to the fold (bizarrely, at the behest of Roeder) and then, a year ago, helped Norwich City win the FA Youth Cup. During that run he behaved in the manner of a man who would one day be the manager of a first team. Somewhere.

That his opportunity has come about because of the failure of another won’t have pleased him: he wants Norwich City to do well.

At the age of 48 he is perfectly placed. He knows the club, the supporters, the ambitions, the expectations, the limitations. He knows that tens of thousands of fans will watch his every move, but he will examine himself in much the same way.

He has got his chance from the football club. What would help him enormously is if the fans gave him his chance too.

31 comments

  • How can the board listen to the fans and still get it right when there is a thousand differing opinions. The manager is chosen, eventually, its done , and now let the manager sort the team out, lord knows there is a job to be done there! Ins and outs are going to be interesting, get those out who do not wish to wear our crest any more , of which i suspect the decrease in wages will have a bearing , and rebuild from there. From what i have seen and heard so far there is far more steel running through the new manager than the last so onwards and upwards. Good luck Neil , OTBC.

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    marcohendy

    Saturday, May 24, 2014

  • Accepting (reluctantly) the Adams appointment and trying to look for positives, it is now absolutely imperative the Board finds and appoints a Director of Football. Because we desperately need outside help, advice and contacts. At the moment we have withdrawn into our inner, parochial, shell where new ideas, inspiration and approaches will be hard to come by. I fear the last 20 months has tainted just about everyone connected with the club's playing side. I am extremely sceptical as to whether our scouting system is up to standard and even if it is there appeared to have been little or no co-ordination between it and the manager and coaching staff. This must change. The club must look outside itself for quality and for inspiration. If it doesn't then I am afraid there is little chance of the club progressing and certainly little hope of us re-entering the Premiership any time soon...let alone the dream of being competitive in that division. Some reality and a wind of change is essential. If not with an external manager appointment then certainly with his support and back-up staff.

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    malaga flier

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Is it a qualification to follow Norwich that you have to be able to whine, whinge and moan? Why don't people get off Neil Adams back, support him and give him a chance? If it was Zola, that would have been wrong! If it was Mackay that would have been, if McNasty had appointed Father Christmas that too would have been wrong. Adams is passionate, knows the club, the players and supporters and surely what he has done with the youngsters is great, so why is it not possible he could do the same with the first team? Come on pull the plug and get positive for a change.

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    blackdog2

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Why do people keep comparing Adams to Gunn? Surely he has more in common with Mr Walker...

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    ClarenceW

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Mr Gunn. Say no more.

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    Panic

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Hughton was always described as a 'nice' guy. As much as I sincerely hope that Adams reign as manager is a successful one, at the moment I fear it is more likely his leaving card may also say he was a 'nice' guy.

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    Bruce87

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • The right decision. Neil is a highly respected coach with a history of success as a player, and of course at Youth level. Man United apart, the way he set up his team in those last 5 games was impressive. With strikers in form (which they were not), he may just have kept us up after the hapless Chris Hughton (nice man) had just about sealed our fate. Neil will prove to be a great manager for Norwich City. What sets him apart from others is that, whilst holding the necessary coaching skills and tactical awareness, he is an out and out Canaries fan with a fantastic relationship with the fans. Watch the man management kick in as well and who he chooses to release. A wise move by the board.

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    Bally High

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • I'll not deny that I have some misgivings, but I won't judge him on the games he was in charge. Whatwe need is someone who can improve players (Hughton didn't) and who is willing to play the football that will get the fans onside. I hope that he is that man and I hope that he can work with players like Redmond and the Murphy's as well as E Bennett, Pilks and R Bennett and make them better players. He also needs to bring in a couple of strong leaders into the dressing room, because that was an essential ingredient that was missing last season. He has to get the team spirit back, because this is a tough league. I will back him and support him becausehe is the man who is in charge now and this isn't an easy job. He is going to have to re build.

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    Preston Canary

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Neil Adams has the potential to meet the club's aims for initial stabilisation, a promotion push and then long-term Premiership continuity and development. Developing that potential in-house by the appointment of Adams with the experienced support from Foley (and probably a technical director to follow) is not only lower-risk than other appointments would have been, but potentially will move the club forward next season - in all senses - and mark the start of a new sustainable period of NCFC success. The key word repeated above is potential. The board have invested heavily in that potential as part of a longer-term strategic view. I hope there is a quick realisation of that potential or a decisive change of plan. Most of all I don't want to have to face another two seasons like the last two, or a repeat of previous internal promotional failures, if the reality doesn't work out as planned, and is not changed in good time. Even if we lose a few players, we should still be operating at or above the play-off positions next season. That will be a good measure of the success of these appointments and the club being back on track to meet expectations and realise its wider potential.

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    Robin Hood

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Personally I think Adams was the best contender from those mentioned above. Zola was non-committal and a non-starter in my view; Malky has obviously been holding out for the WBA job so why would the board offer it to him in that case? And as for Lennon, again non-committal and only put himself in the shop window yesterday and was probably never a serious contender in any case. All other names linked over the last week have been purely rumours andor wild cards. NA has passion for the club and desperately wants the job, which counts for a lot in my view. There were positive signs during the last 5 matches, but he was up against four of the top sides in Europe, and only had 5 days to prepare from a cold start for the match at Fulham. Also to say he has no experience is nonsense. Please give the man some credit some of you and get behind him. He has brought some fantastic young players through the youth system and I suspect his knowledge and experience of these players may have been a big plus in his favour.

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    Mellow_Yellow

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Good article. None of the other candidates were better than Neil Adams, at least he has some passion. Sure Mackay has won promotion before but how much of that was actually down to his managerial brilliance? None of the others have any history of success in the championship so why NOT give Adams a shot? Sure if Moyes or someone of that calibre was interested they would have got the job, but nobody WAS interested. I don't think it's lack of ambition by the board, simply nobody of any real calibre wanted to work with our club. Out of an uninspiring shortlist the man who is going to give it his all got the job, so now let's get behind him!

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    canary can-can

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Forgot `Afternoon tea, 19th hole...`

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    Mad Brewer

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Which is really what Norfolk boy in Hackney said, I suppose. Adams has done quite a bit more than Gunny had, which was not a lot. BG`s `cred` was based on Breakfast, golf. Lunch, golf. Dinner. Corpulent Entertainment.

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    Mad Brewer

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Indeed, el dingo, the `Technical Director` will (or will not) be an interesting appointment. It will be even more interesting to learn exactly what this appointee`s role actually is. Chances are there will be `nobody out there` so maybe nothing will happen? Adams will need his `team`. Lambo had Karsa & Cully. Hughton had ... choke, splutter, gag..... Calderwood & Trollope. Or will there be another cost-cutting exercise by the Board? After all, the Carra coffers are no longer awash with the riches of the Premiership. Was there a Press Conference on this appointment, or was it all done, safely and securely, from the Club website? Neil Adams is an OK guy; he`s no Gunny. But - he has spent a lot of time in the amnion that is Carrow Road, in particular, and Naaarfuk`n`Naaridge in general. A bit warm and cosy. That seems to be the way it is.

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    Mad Brewer

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • A well reasoned and thought out piece from kevt.

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    Burtie

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • If Adams was the man for the job then appoint in in Jan when supposedly according to Delia no one was available,or why not appoint him straight away at the end of the season,witrh Mcnally making remarks like Adams is one for the future something is amiss here,also the players we want to stay like ollson,snodgrass,hooper,redmond,ruddy,tetty and poss le fer, will all now want to leave and we will be left with the likes of martin,turner,johson etc,one point from 5 albeit difficult games is hardly success and if the players wanted to play for Adams they certainly didnt heed rallying cry for the arsenal game-i hope i am wrong but this appointment spells the start of a downward spirrall to me

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    canaryjon

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Negative whining supporters. Sounds like CanaryCall. Time will tell on this one. I reckon Neil is going to be a winner. Hope you all get to eat your words. It's going to a tough season regardless - Championship is full of clubs fighting tooth and nail to reach the Premier. I'm looking forward to it - real matches again.

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    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Canaryjon did you sell PPI because with those sort of guarantees it seems likely

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    Egyptian canary

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Gr8 point made by Hackney What is really going to haunt the board on this one is the oft made point that they claimed no one available in Jan but here we are in May and the very person who was is now miraculously appointed. They are losing what little faith and trust the fans had for them.

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    Croydonary

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • This technical director had better be a bit special. Unless Delia "forgets" to appoint one. ..

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    el dingo

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • So it's ridiculous . We've gone for the cheap option. I can remember my late father saying exactly that the last time we appointed a youth team coach to manage the club. His name was Mike Walker and that didn't go too badly.

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    dumpcanary

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Yes Norfolk boy but, you can name as many other managers who did that and, did not have any great success. Just because N.A. stayed here should not preclude him from doing well so, come on everybody stop this negativity and come kick-off get behind N.A. and the team.

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    Egyptian canary

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • I guarantee that Adams will not last for all of next season he will be sacked with us near the lower reaches of the championship and with the board admitting we made another mistake by not appointing a proven manager,I thought the board were supposed to be made up of intelligent people who listen to the fans-obviously not

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    canaryjon

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Well, apparently everyone's an expert in football manager selection all of a sudden!! You're all treating Adams as guilty until proven innocent!! What is it with the negativity?!? If, after 6mths he isn't doing well, then and only then do you have every right to start saying I told you so. But until then all you haters have absolutely no right or grounds to dismiss anyone in a new role as being a failure!! Now for goodness sake give him the benefit of the doubt, support and encourage him to do well!! Here endeth my rant!!

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    Ben Bullen

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • It is easy to criticise the board, Chief Exec, the catering staff, et al for this appointment but the truth is were any of the other candidates really going to be any better than Chris Hughton? Forget the last 5 games when Neil took over; I doubt even Sir Alex himself would have rescued us from the slump. The board should have acted much sooner, they didn't, they've apologised so let's forget that and move on. When Malky came down here with Cardiff his tactic was to 'park the bus' a la Chris Hughton. He was not my choice. Mr Zola was also a non-starter for me. Don't forget he was sacked by West Ham, and by Watford. He had one good season at Watford as he was able to field a team full of mercenaries gifted to him by the club's owners. He got to the play-offs but it went downhill from there. Neil Lennon was never a a serious contender, but would have been worth a punt. This leaves Neil Adams. He wanted the job, and got it. If what I've read on the message boards is true he made a good impression on the players in difficult circumstances. He may not have any experience, but then neither did Tim Sherwood when he took over at Spurs (and did a good job; should never have been sacked). All appointments are a gamble and Neil will know he has to hit the ground running. He will be determined to do a good job, and I hope that he emotive connection to NCFC doesn't cloud his judgement, and that he remains objective. The job of all NCFC supporters is to get over any disappointment that some of us may have about Neil's appointment, rally behind him and the team, hope for the entertaining attacking football he promises, and support our team back to the Premier League. Good luck to Neil, you have my support. OTBC!!!

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    kevt

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Absolutely ridiculous decision,we have gone for the cheap option,why wait 2 weeks to do this,because no one else was interested,I now have no confidence at all re the coming season,this shows no inititive whatsoever,get rid off the whole board

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    canaryjon

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Exactly Norfolk boy in Hackney.

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    Powers1902

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Egyptian canary, yes I supposed I am but unless we know who was interviewed then all we have to go off of is those likely in the running. I couldn't see all of the candidates not fitting what Norwich wanted, I genuinely feel they made the decision because it was easy and that's not good enough. I hope Neil Adams is successful, but right now it's hard to believe.

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    Powers1902

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • I agree powers, Adams stopped playing 15 years ago and has shown zero ambition to learn the management trade. Of course he wanted the job, unlike the other candidates he had no other options. After two years of hughton we needed a lift. There is no guarantee of what makes a good manager but a passion to study and learn helps. Has Adams worked under a successful manager? No. Has he gone abroad to study other ideas? No. Look at Brendan rogers and Martinez, they started in lower leagues, showed real talent and an identity, took risks and learned on the job. Adams stayed in Norwich and taken any role Norwich would offer him.

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    Norfolk boy in Hackney

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Powers1902 you are assuming that the others fitted what the club wanted. As for Neil Lennon it seems he only left Celtic at lunchtime yesterday so was he a serious candidate? What's the betting he goes to Tottenham?

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    Egyptian canary

    Friday, May 23, 2014

  • Perhaps Neil Adams was the only man to openly express his desire to manage the club because no one else would have wanted him if we didn't choose him. Mackay, Lennon, Zola - they didn't need to advertise themselves because they are decent managers. Norwich should have taken the initiative. They didn't and now we're stuck with this ridiculous appointment.

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    Powers1902

    Friday, May 23, 2014

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