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Good reason for Canaries fans to be so frustrated by mid-table mediocrity

PUBLISHED: 20:14 05 April 2018 | UPDATED: 20:14 05 April 2018

Wes Hoolahan celebrates putting Norwich 4-0 up in a dead rubber against QPR at Carrow Road at the end of last season.  Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Wes Hoolahan celebrates putting Norwich 4-0 up in a dead rubber against QPR at Carrow Road at the end of last season. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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Few can deny that Norwich City have left themselves stuck in a frustrating end-of-season holding pattern, but there is good reason for that to be felt so strongly by supporters.

It is the second successive season that Canaries fans have had to endure a conclusion to the campaign with talk of players being ‘on the beach’ and matches effectively being dead rubbers.

Perhaps it is also an indicator that the City faithful have been spoiled for much of the last decade, enjoying League One title success, Championship promotion, two seasons of mid-table stability in the Premier League and a Wembley play-off final victory.

In amongst all that were, of course, two top-flight relegations. However, there was at least something to play for against the country’s best teams as the tension of scrapping for Premier League status kept things interesting in 2014 and 2016.

Although the current Canaries crop are not quite mathematically out of play-off or relegation contention just yet, both are near impossibilities with 18 points still to play for.

It was a similar story last season after Alex Neil was dismissed with 10 games remaining with the Canaries nine points adrift of the top six in eighth place after a fifth game without a win.

Interim boss Alan Irvine managed to inject some fun into the closing stages including a 7-1 thrashing of Reading, but it was still only enough for eighth and 10 points adrift of the play-offs.

Prior to that you have to go back to 2006-07 for a City season which drifted to a close, when any slim play-offs hopes were finished with four games still to play, following a 2-1 home loss to West Brom for Peter Grant’s team.

Safety was then secured the following week with a 2-1 win at Leicester, concluding in a 3-2 loss at Sheffield Wednesday leaving them 15th in the final standings.

Alan Irvine oversaw the final 10 games of last season as interim head coach at Norwich City. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesAlan Irvine oversaw the final 10 games of last season as interim head coach at Norwich City. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Once again it is at Hillsborough where the season concludes – and if Farke’s team can’t rediscover some form, they may even slip lower than 15th.

Norwich fans love to remind Ipswich of their 16 years in the Championship, all of which have largely finished in mid-table finishes, other than three play-off defeats. Those struggles are quickly becoming less funny though, as worries increase that the Canaries are starting down the same path to mediocrity.

City’s roller-coaster decade

• 2017 – 8th (Championship)

• 2016 – 19th (Premier League)

• 2015 – 3rd (Championship)

• 2014 – 18th (Premier League)

Rob Earnshaw, right, is congratulated by Dickson Etuhu after scoring for Norwich in a 3-2 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on the final day of the 2006-07 season. Photo: Aidan EllisRob Earnshaw, right, is congratulated by Dickson Etuhu after scoring for Norwich in a 3-2 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on the final day of the 2006-07 season. Photo: Aidan Ellis

• 2013 – 11th (Premier League)

• 2012 – 12th (Premier League)

• 2011 – 2nd (Championship)

• 2010 – 1st (League One)

• 2009 – 22nd (Championship)

• 2008 – 17th (Championship)

Dion Dublin celebrates scoring for Norwich in a 3-2 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on the final day of the 2006-07 season. Photo: Aidan EllisDion Dublin celebrates scoring for Norwich in a 3-2 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on the final day of the 2006-07 season. Photo: Aidan Ellis

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