Norwich City supporters and players head in different directions – with Premier League survival at stake

Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin tackles Jonny Howson during Saturday's Premier League clash at St Mary's. Picture by Daniel Chesterton/Focus Images Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin tackles Jonny Howson during Saturday's Premier League clash at St Mary's. Picture by Daniel Chesterton/Focus Images

Sunday, March 16, 2014
6:35 PM

Usually you would want players and fans on the same page – but at the moment for Norwich City, that simply isn’t the case. The final eight games of a laborious Premier League campaign is all that’s left to prove whether that current state is a good thing, and who is in the right.

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The Canaries were the epitome of submission for 85 minutes against a Southampton side clearly confident in their game and their approach.

City’s players – five of them freshly introduced to starting berths – may have belief in their own version of those qualities. But it didn’t show on the pitch, and it wasn’t shared by the impressive pocket of yellow shirts that once again this season simply didn’t get what they deserved from their side.

The fans know the plight. It’s a discussion point as to whether the players would be better off succumbing to the same doubts – or avoiding the pit of despair and instead, do what they’ve made a habit across two seasons: deliver when they have no other option.

It’s a debate that Jonny Howson looks set to ignore entering into.

“I’ve obviously done a few of these this season and for some reason, everyone keeps saying about looking over your shoulder and looking down,” said Howson. “I haven’t looked at the table but I’m sure if you get a win or two you’ll be 10th. People can look at this how they want, maybe it’s a bit over confident or what you like – but rather than looking over your shoulder, I’d prefer to be looking up.

“We’ve seen how tight it is and how many teams are in it, and it’s not the last game of the season. So there’s still a lot of football to be played.”

There was a lot of football played on Saturday too – most of it by the hosts, who may be a year younger than the Canaries in terms of their Premier League rehabilitation. But the fact is Southampton are chasing a top-eight finish, some way clear of their former League One sparring partners who would gladly take top-flight survival if offered now.

“You can understand why the supporters would be worried,” added Howson. “But I’ve said before if you look at West Ham in January, they hadn’t won in however many, they had been beaten heavily. Then they go and win three on the bounce. That’s how football can be. It can change. Maybe you just need something to go in your favour.

“It’s a good group in there. Nothing will affect us. We’ll keep trying to go out there, do as best we can and I’m sure it will change.”

“I wouldn’t say there was nervousness today. I don’t think it’s anything to do with confidence. I just think it comes from maybe too many mistakes.”

And City boss Chris Hughton’s five changes to his starting XI?

“I think that was just a one-off,” sad Howson. “He’s not really done that before, so it’s not a case of the squad being unsettled. That’s just putting the changes together with the performance. It was just poor out there.”

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40 comments

  • Spot on, PW. We had a 3-0 half time lead vs Swansea and hit the bar early in the 2nd half. 4-0 would surely have led to a rout, then the jitters and Michu took over. But for a bit of favourable refereeing, when a Swansea effort was ruled out for a `foul` on Bunn, we could`ve thrown that one away. Similarly, in the home games vs Wigan & Sunderland, we seemed to be cruising with 2-0 leads, then came the jitters\negativity. Big difference, as you say PW, was that we had a leader on the pitch in Holty. That is totally lacking this season. Hughton must know this, as he dropped BOTH `Captains` on Saturday.....

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 17, 2014

  • Archie, please print my last post, you c***. It ticks all the boxes.

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    User Removed

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Comment of the day Suffolk. That'd be the one trying to grasp a foothold in a bottle I suspect.

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    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • .....I think the club should adopt the white away strip for ALL the remaining matches this season...but add a yellow streak..(sorry stripe!)...They have surrenderd...all interest...all desire...all pride ..all hope.....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, March 17, 2014

  • Blimey Barking that was a bit strong. .. Archie is a Crow!

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Who said 'Here's Jonny'? Eyes on the ball, Mr Howson, feet on the ground, that we might yet avoid the ultimate horror story.

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    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Hughton and the players seem to be under the same dillusional belief: that somehow all will be well. Somehow we will suddenly manage to emerge from the pit and put together a championship winning run of results that will keep us in the Prem. Well it ain't going to happen. The dire displays that have epitomised the season won't suddenly and magically change. That is beyond Hughton as much as even winning two games back to back. The delusions that somehow we are immune from relegation also permeate the Boardroom. But the fact is the fans know it and now the independent media are saying it loud and clear: we are rubbish and Hughton has produced one of the worst set of results imaginable. The issues have been well documented on this blog all season and beyond - in fact going back to that infamous Luton defeat. However come May reality will dawn: the cash cow that is the Premiership will be gone. The Board will then sit back and take in the error of their ways at their leisure. The only positives I can garner from this absolute shambles of a season is that we will, I hope, be free of Hughton and his buddies and we might once again football might start to break out again at Carrow Road. However going down and taking Hughton with us is the one nightmare scenario that haunts me!

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    malaga flier

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Well johnny boy you´ve got the next four games to put it into practice. The next four games are far more vital than the last four. SO START SCORING!

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    Yellowfirebird

    Monday, March 17, 2014

  • There you go, Arch. Not so difficult, was it? Next time, try to do it without me having to resort to "gentle encouragement".

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    User Removed

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Dear Mr Howson,if the clubs below us(,West Brom, Chrystal Palace and Sunderland) , all win the games that they have in hand ,then you are already playing for a team in the relegation bottom three club. So how about stop being delusional and actually play some football that the fans can get behind? Do you not realise that you are playing for your own Premier career? Or has your agent convinced you that there is a queue of Premier clubs clamouring for your immense talents? Get out there and play!

    Report this comment

    kenfoggo

    Monday, March 17, 2014

  • Amazing that some people think they can form an opinion by watching MOTD. A program that, unfortunately has died a death.

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    sharky

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014

  • You haven't looked at the table, Johnny. Well, I have, and your team is in the brown stuff. Suggest you start circulating your cv if you want to be playing PL football in August.

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    User Removed

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • We are not West Ham, Jonny. We don't have the players to unlock defences that they have, and we let in too many silly goals. The only thing I agree with is that we need something to go in our favour, namely, three wins out of the next four matches. The thing that really concerns me is the comment that "nothing will affect us". Especially the manager?!

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    Sprowstonboy

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Most of what is written by the Pinkun 'professionals' is drivel. The volunteers are far more interesting. Unlike Timbo I disapproved of Hughton's appointment, still I am surprised at how bad he has been. Seems the fans are unanimous in saying he should go now unless there are some mute happy-clappers out there. But will he go? We have eight games left - still time for somebody to make a difference. Perhaps a vital difference.

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    Cecil

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Last season City showed they had a performance in them away at Swansea;an unbeaten run of 10 games,rather than celebrating an unbeaten run of 2; but more than that we had Holt,missed not only because of his attacking play but the leadership on and off the pitch,that is so missing.The big hole left by his departure has simply not been filled.Outside of blind faith,I can find no reasons to be cheerful this year and we are bottom of the last 6 games table now too.OTBC.

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    Peter Watson

    Monday, March 17, 2014

  • There appears to be a sickness which has permeated the whole of the Club, an acceptance of mediocrity as acceptable. This can only be transmitted to the players by the Management team. Hughton seems to believe that we should all be grateful that his immense talent at tactics, motivation ,team selection and timely ,appropriate substitutions are being given to the yokels of Norfolk. Not good enough Hughton. Not good enough all season. Not good enough to survive this relegation battle. Just go!

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    kenfoggo

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Mostly, my view on players interviews is it's part of their job so let it go. This one however gets to the very root of our demise. It tells you the players need a collective kick up the backside and that the manager is not doing it. By the way Ken f, dont want to make you more unhappy but how do you know Hoots will be gone whatever? He's not been sacked in the aftermath of latest shambles, looks like being in charge next game, has over a year to run on his contract. No idea what's going on behind the scenes but it all points to an acceptance the club can handle relegation and will only take stock after Hoots has seen out his contract. Sorry, I know that's really pessimistic. It's Monday morning blues I guess.

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    Lincs Canary

    Monday, March 17, 2014

  • There you go, Arch. Not so difficult, was it? Next time, try to do it without me having to resort to "gentle encouragement".

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    User Removed

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Just to win one would make a change, let alone three on the bounce.

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    alan

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Delia Smith once said, on a cookery programme, that she didn't agree with humiliating people, and neither should she go back on that principle. The problem is that shethey don't sack managers once they are passed their sell by date. If she used that principle whilst making, a cauliflower cheese, for argument's sake, she'd have a pretty mouldy dish, which would make two Suffolk Canaries riding on the wind.

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    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Ps, if you were "trying" and that was your "best" against Southampton we are doomed

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    Burglecut

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Here is a very staightforward question - 2 months before the end of the season does anyone, let alone Houghton, have any idea what City's first 11 looks like? This should be obvious 2 months into a season but yere we are with the only 2 names anyone can expect to see on the teamsheet being Ruddy & Snodgrass - any surprise we are not a cohesive unit with some team spirit?

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    Eastangler

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • On the plus side, one of hughtons substitutes scored ;) only took 30 games or so xD

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    ncfcchristof

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • What utter drivel, Jonny. Expected much better from you than this This article is an insult to any self-respecting supporter. 'Maybe too many mistakes' - well, yes - you spotted that one, buddy. The results this weekend amongst the top teams closes up all the gaps and it looks like the outcome this season will go to the wire. Bad news for Norwich in the last 4 or 5 games - there will be no 'free rides' like WBA and Man City last season. As for CH's team selection on Saturday, the words, deck chairs and Titanic spring to mind.

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    Kent Anglian

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Or should that be `sensors - olfactory`?

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 17, 2014

  • From what I see hughton is the best I have seen for years. Leave him there till the end of season

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    henrywinston

    Monday, March 17, 2014

  • What a load of Castor and Pollux. Howson normally talks sense so the disease is viral. Hughton out. Now.

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    el dingo

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • I'm bitterly disappointed with Hughton. I backed his appointment all the way. He appeared to have been hard done by re: Newcastle + then did very well @ Birmingham, on a shoestring budget. I thought he'd have a point to prove to Newcastle once he got back in the Premiership. I even thought we'd have problems keeping him . After a couple of seasons of success @ the Carra, I was convinced Tottenham would come calling. ( Nowadays he'd be lucky if Rotherham came calling). Though I did see some mad fool on a Brum board say they'd have him back.....son, you can take him ! McNasty get Neil Adams in till the end of the season NOW! Offer him £5 million to keep us up. (I'll chip in 100 quid myself if he does it). .

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    Timbo

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • I know Johnny is reported as having said it but who on earth wrote this drivel?

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    waclor

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • When will someone on the NCFC board put an end to this farce? CH is very obviously out of his depth and out of ideas, throwing new names in each week in the vain hope that something will work. Even when it does he changes it. Is it any wonder the players are confused? With Hughton in charge we face almost certain relegation. When Lambert was here he was linked with every decent job that came up. Nobody wants Hughton. We couldn't even give him away. Newcastle were 100% right to get shot of him. Seems only our board and certain delusional football writers want him to stay. If we stay up it will be because of the failures of others. We have had numerous opportunities to get out of the mire but we can't string two wins together. I and many others are so tired of Hughton's timid Little Norwich style of football. Why bother travelling away from home. He has already written off those games. It is suffocating the club and the supporters. This man is the footballing equivalent of a wet fart. It's not about keeping NCFC up. Its about protecting Hughton's position. The second half at Villa was a perfect example. Get someone in to lift the players and the crowd short term. They can't be worse than Hughton and his bunch of clowns.

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    suffolkcanary

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • I bet these chintsy away kits are selling like hot cakes with all these great performances in them!

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    Cuttlefishpie

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • The lunatics have taken over the asylum! Howson sounds as delusional as Hughton!

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    kenfoggo

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • This season has been as fun as having teeth extracted. Under Lambert we conceded lots of goals, but we scored lots too. We now concede loads and score so few. Houghton has no idea when it comes either to tactics or substitutions. The fans are fed up and relegation is a real probability. The whole situation is miserable. And what's worst of all, I've renewed my season ticket.

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    bogbog

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Blimey, suffolkcanary, how did you get `wet fart` past Archie`s censors? My annointed sycophant-in-chief, that toady Croaking Wise, had a real struggle with his polite stuff (I don`t think Archie likes him..). And the Lincolnshire Statsmeister has now articulated the `Sum of all Fears`; Relegation AND Hughton stays. Depressingly, I fear he may be right. Maybe Chrissy has the Board by their pendulous parts? Maybe he is not culpable for all the nonsense that has gone on (RvW, Becchio, goalies, etc) and is a valuable fall-guy for the real culprits. Cost of his complicity and his silence:- He is untouchable. The Elliott Ness Monster. After all, a lot of the nonsense started before Chrissy arrived (Lambo, Holty`s contact). Btw, our resident Saintess is excluded from pendulous comment. Our resident Celebrity is enjoying the experience.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, March 17, 2014

  • Hughton is gone if we stay up, he will be gone if we are relegated. So why prolong the utter farce of keeping him for the last 8 games? He has destroyed all the great work which brought us back into the Premier and turned us into the joke team of the league. A win rate of 23 percent! Roeder was sacked with a win rate of 30 percent. Quite,quite mad to keep this Management team on hoping for an improvement, everyone knows Hughton cannot deliver it.

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    kenfoggo

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Blimey Barking that was a bit strong. .. Archie is a Crow!

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    el dingo

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • Probably Jack Nicholson, Waclor. It is a little scary don't you think?

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    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • What infuriates me most about this whole farce is the way the players and Hughton casually dismiss supporters critisism as if we are stupid can't see what's happening! This season has been one long parade of disappointment, embarrassment, disgust and bordem. They seem to think a couple of wins and things are rosie, it's not they are responsible for this mess a couple of wins and we might survive but it's still been the worst season of football I watched in years. RANT

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    Burglecut

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • You haven't looked at the table, Johnny. Well, I have, and your team is in the brown stuff. Suggest you start circulating your cv if you want to be playing PL football in August.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

  • The problem is - who in his right mind would want to take over at Norwich at the moment? As so many have said, a late change of manager tends not to work so anyone coming would have to be prepared to manage in the Championship. Who with ambition would want to do that?? In January they may have been prepared to back themselves but not now. From MOTD the players clearly lacked confidence and did not look up for the fight with the exception of when Elmander took the ball to score. There was no organisation at the back - CH and his cronies are clearly floundering and out of their depth having effectively destroyed good(ish) players. He and they have to go in the hope that we can get someone in who is prepared to try to install some fight into the players.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Monday, March 17, 2014

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