Divided support is not helping City’s Premier League struggle

Robin Sainty
Sunday, January 5, 2014
9:33 AM

The advent of the new year is traditionally accompanied by all sorts of resolutions and fresh starts.

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Standing soaked to the skin and chilled to the bone at Selhurst Park on Wednesday I found myself fervently hoping that 2014 might see the divisions within the fanbase healed, without any real belief that they will be.

While differences of opinion are healthy it seems everyone is now expected to nail their colours to the mast as a Hughton Inner or a Hughton Outer.

In fact, I still believe that the vast majority of us continue to take things game by game and try to keep an open mind, but simply being a Norwich City fan doesn’t seem to be an available option any more.

When positions become as entrenched as they now are the mentality of “if you’re not with us you must be against us” sets in, to the detriment of all.

We’ve already had reports of fans coming to blows in the Barclay and an increasing amount of vitriol and invective directed against the manager and anyone who dares to argue an alternative case. Neither side can claim the moral high ground in this situation, but things are getting out of hand.

This is particularly noticeable at home matches. First of all we had the pantomime of treating any appearance by Luciano Becchio like the second coming of Christ as a means of cocking a snook at Chris Hughton.

However, that was the tip of the iceberg and now an increasing number of substitutions seem to result in a chorus of boos which clearly do nothing to help the mindset of the players. It’s poisonous and potentially very destructive. With tension that could be cut with a knife it can’t be much fun playing at Carrow Road at present.

On the other side of the coin, no one could justifiably argue that City have performed as well as many of us expected, and the Christmas period has been particularly unfruitful.

We would all love City to be sitting comfortably clear of the drop zone but the reality is that they’re not, despite chances to increase the gap.

My personal view is that (with the exception of the Fulham game) the team is starting to play with greater purpose and creativity despite the constant injuries, but I fully accept that there will be many who would argue the opposite.

However, one fact is inarguable. That is that we have no idea what happens at training or what instructions are given to the players before games. We don’t know what input the coaches have or what the players really feel about the manager.

Given that, I’m happy to let the board and the chief executive get on with running the club. If they feel that change is necessary they will make it; if they don’t, they won’t, and I’ll accept either choice. In 40-odd years of supporting City there have been managers I’ve loved and managers I’ve loathed, but I’ve always put my views on them to one side while a game was going on.

While we haven’t yet reached the levels of uncontrolled animosity that marked the end of Nigel Worthington’s tenure there are worrying signs that we’re heading that way, and that is doing nothing to help the players on the pitch.

I’m not expecting or asking people to change their views on Hughton, but regardless of where we stand on this issue, surely we can all agree to disagree for 90 minutes on a matchday?

Football, like so much in life, is all about opinions, but one thing is certain; further divisions amongst the fans will only increase the chances of relegation, not reduce them. If it happens there will be no winners.

5 comments

  • I don't need to read it again, thank you Manc. I don't wish to only show my opinions when it suits others who disagree with me. How about this guy keeps his opinions to himself during the game and shares our frustrations vocally. If everyone did that, things could be brought to a head quickly and the current management team could be disposed of without further delay. This would give us a small chance of turning things round before it's too late. The problem with the opinion of the believers is that eventually, they too, will decide that enough is enough. It will then be too late to rectify the situation. No doubt their conscience would remain clear, such is their head in the sand mentality.

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    North folk

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • So basically, you're prepared to sit and watch the ship sink and anybody who dares to raise concerns has bow to your patronising demands for silence. Utter nonsense from a man with a voice louder than it should be.

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    North folk

    Sunday, January 5, 2014

  • Thank you Robin, I am pleased that with you and Gary G. we have reporters that can see what is happening. I hope and pray that we can move away from this situation, get a couple of our important players back from injury and start to get the sort of results that will keep neveryone happy! OTBC ICHIT

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    David Bowen

    Saturday, January 4, 2014

  • After a lot of careful consideration, I no longer believe the Premier League is the promised land. This and last season we have played defensive football which is not enjoyable to watch. With PL we may not have had as many or more points but we would have had a go, sadly it is not like that any more. I believe CH is a decent man and the board like him as gives them no hassle but maybe it is time for change as we don't seem to be getting the best out of our strikers. If you don't score you don't win games....

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    brecklandhero

    Monday, January 6, 2014

  • North Folk - read it again. That's not what he's saying. He's saying do and say what you like, but leave at the turnstiles on match days because the constant sniping and moaning during games is undermining our chances of winning. Simple really.

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    MancCanary

    Monday, January 6, 2014

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

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