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Norwich City face a familiar crime sheet

08:00 05 January 2015

Ryan Bennett braces himself to block Preston midfielder Alan Browne. 
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Ryan Bennett braces himself to block Preston midfielder Alan Browne. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222

FA Cup embarrassment heaped on top of a Championship no-show at Reading does nothing to shake the belief Norwich City’s season is in terminal decline.

"In isolation, another brief flirtation with the fabled cup competition would be a minor irritant if City’s progress in the league was assured. It is anything but."

Paddy Davitt

That pre-festive spurt of self-confidence and attacking flair look increasingly like a break from the norm since the heady days of autumn when no peak appeared beyond Neil Adams’ carefully constructed squad.

Norwich were vibrant, resolute and purposeful in claiming 10 league points from 12 to suggest they had emerged from a prolonged slump. Given the paucity of their efforts in the last two outings it is tempting to focus on the deficiencies of their opponents. Wigan, under the new management of Malky Mackay, appear a club listing in even deeper waters than the Canaries at the wrong end of the table. Nothing since from the Latics has suggested anything other than Mackay faces a stern test of his managerial credentials to keep them in the Championship.

Huddersfield were reduced to 10 men at Carrow Road after they had already struck the bar and shown in the early exchanges an attacking ambition that threatened the hosts. Derby roused themselves after a gruelling schedule which saw them succumb to promotion rivals Middlesbrough on Teesside then exit the Capital One Cup to Chelsea.

City’s defensive frailties were laid bare again in the East Midlands before they dredged a deserved point but Millwall were by some measure the poorest opponent seen at Carrow Road for many a year on Boxing Day.

It is difficult to arrive at any other conclusion on the evidence of City’s league surrender in Berkshire to end 2014 on a fittingly sour note allied to the manner of their now customary early FA Cup departure.

Norwich have been compliant, lacking in self-belief and brushed aside with an almost dismissive air.

The same leading questions surrounding Adams’ ability to extract the most from his plentiful resources, the perceived brittleness at the heart of his squad, the timidity in the face of adversity, the lack of leadership, the fitful attacking urges and the sluggish defending have returned louder than ever.

Adams showed no disrespect to the FA Cup in naming as strong a starting line-up as he could, given the wisdom of protecting players showing the strains of a gruelling campaign. Yet the application and the attitude was no better than at Shrewsbury in the Capital One Cup earlier this season; a night which may well in the final analysis be the point when the rollercoaster plunged south at hurtling speed.

Norwich must now halt the Championship leaders on their own turf when the league action resumes. Few outside the camp will construct a case on recent evidence City can get anything from a free-scoring Bournemouth.

What matters is whether those inside the tent share the same belief. They are the ones shaping Norwich’s destiny.

At this critical juncture in a season of receding optimism there appears no appetite to fight, no willingness to match the intensity of opponents who may not possess the technical ability or the talent but have probed for weaknesses that have been palpably evident since that opening weekend at Wolves when City succumbed to the ferocity they faced in the Black Country.

It is a sad indictment on Adams and his players they face the same accusations beyond the halfway point of a campaign geared towards promotion.

Preston were energetic and committed but the tie was there for the taking, yet Norwich were unable to create one shot on target in Lancashire.

That defies belief from a line-up with the creative urgings of Wes Hoolahan, Jonny Howson and Bradley Johnson in support of a striker with a prolific pedigree like Gary Hooper. The experiment with Hoolahan pushed into an advanced role behind Hooper failed spectacularly.

Hooper’s natural inclination to drop deeper to link the play merely over-populated a crowded midfield prizing athleticism and endeavour which pushed Hoolahan to the margins.

On another afternoon of sparse productivity in forward areas there was always the uneasy sense City would be breached at the opposite end. Simon Grayson had clearly targeted Ignasi Miquel’s flank for special treatment. Jack King’s far post header as he towered above the Spaniard was despatched by Paul Gallagher, who was then left unattended when Ryan Bennett was robbed by Jermaine Beckford to seal City’s fate; both goals avoidable, both from forays within seconds of Adams’ bid to turn the tide through the late introductions of Josh Murphy and Jamar Loza.

In isolation, another brief flirtation with the fabled cup competition would be a minor irritant if City’s progress in the league was assured. It is anything but. Now the fear is of another hangover the like of which afflicted them following their previous cup exit in Shropshire. Any repeat and lingering promotion hopes can be put into cold storage. Norwich’s fans are losing hope. You can hardly blame them.

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39 comments

  • a decent man goes but as i predicted in october he would be gone by end of january. we saw it with gunn it would never work twice. who comes in difficullt no top manager will come to norwich . we wasted the lambert years and have know been set back 10 years.

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    AOTWAY@BTINTERNET.COM

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • I know a lot of fans think Adams has not been given time to sort things out but it has been obvious for some time that he can't motivate his players. When they put in a poor first half they mostly come out after half time and continue to play with the same lacklustre having not been motivated at all. He put out the same old team week in and week out regardless of effort made. I have to agree with the majority of posters that Managers and Players alike have been poor choices for the past 3 seasons no wonder City are in the position they are. Who in the past 3 years has excited the fans on their appointment, just seems like an old boys club.

    Report this comment

    goldie

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • I honestly thought he had what it took when appointed but sadly not. Will Phelan get the job are caretaker or permanent now? Will Holt stay involved or go also? At least he had the courage to walk rather than wait to be fired unlike most of the previous managers (exceptions Lambert & Grant). I'm saddened but I guess it's probably for the best. I hope he tries again somewhere lower in the ladder and learns from his experiences. Thanks Neil and good luck.

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Be careful what you wish for. Adams has gone. Now what?

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • I am glad there is a caption to the picture above. However it looks to me as if Ryan is paralysed with fear.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Chris I'm surprised that we are not known as "Gutless little Norwich". That is how the players and the Directors go about their jobs.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Dave the players have seen more than enough of Neil Adams to know that it is not worth busting a gut when the manager is incapable of bringing about the success they want. Have you never worked where the management insisted that you do the job their inefficient way even though you knew better? How demotivating did you find that? You can see the players don't care and I suspect many have pleaded to their agents: "I'm a celebrity. Get me out of here".

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Why are you bothered about the cup Derek? We're only involved in one game in each cup every season so it's not relevant for us.

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    waclor

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Without looking at the stats, we're one of the few sides in the top 2 divisions who has never won the FA cup. Someone on Canary Call on Saturday pointed out that over the last 30 years we've been knocked out of cups loads of times by lower league competition, yet haven't once knocked out a higher placed club. We also have the record of being the only Premier League (I think it's even top division side) side knocked out by a none league side. Then we wonder why people view us at "little Norwich".

    Report this comment

    Chris Mugglestone

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • I wasn't there on Saturday but since I was at Shrewsbury I can easily imagine how bad it was. Some of the comments posted are understandably extremely emotive but are not logically derived from the evidence (sack Neil Adams??? - for goodness sake having just picked the man for the job give him a proper chance at doing the job). If the board are to be believed that promotion is the only thing required this year then it is time to take serious and drastic action - get the players on Adams' and Phelan's wish list in this transfer window. Enough is enough. We don't have the players we need to achieve promotion. Sacking Adams won't change that. We'd just get someone else in to manage the same problem. To have a real chance of promotion we need to get in some new blood. Hungry players who don't have the relegation hangover. Like those players at Wolves and Brentford have shown this season. Players who still enjoy the game and have a passion for winning.

    Report this comment

    Dave Backham

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • City statistically must be one of the worst ever cup sides out record. Are there any anoraks out there who have looked this up? I really don't know why we enter.

    Report this comment

    komakino

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • The decline is completely down to the board as they are clueless at picking managers for this club. Grant, Roeder, Gunn, Hughton came and went and now according to the board we have the best available in Europe in Adams. I now believe Lambert was a pure fluke as everything fell into place and we had a tidal wave of positivity following his appointment after that 7-1 defeat. Lambert eventually moved on but even he was lucky with results as he has not exactly pulled up trees at AV whom seem to constantly struggle. I do feel sorry for Adams as he is damned if he does and damned if he don't and he is a nice guy. Maybe that is a big part of the problem, but at the end of the day, all of these appointments are made by the Board and the recent list of managers says it all for me. With a Board like this continually picking poor or inexperienced managers, I fear for the long term future of this club. This is probably the most important season for this club following Premier league relegation and the board appoint a manager without any league experience - one word UNBELIEVABLE!. Lennon would have reinvigorated this club just look what he has done at Bolton.

    Report this comment

    KC Canary

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Certainly you have to agree that our good spell in December came against struggling sides. Wigan who look doomed already, Huddersfield looked capable of doing a Reading to us until the red card and our team were booed off at half-time, Derby was effectively two points dropped as Cuellar proved himself not good enough against the better Championship teams and Millwall were a total shambles and actually, despite the result, a negative was all the chances Jerome and Hooper missed. That could have exceeded the margin of Bournemouth's 8-0 win at Birmingham in October.

    Report this comment

    Colin

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • The FA Cup has become a joke, the Premier League had a choice play Saturday or Sunday, teams field under strength side, they complain of players feeling tired, tired they don't know the meaning of the word. Lets go back to how it was. All games KO at 3pm, and finish at 1640 not 16.55 or 1700 as in some cases, 10 mins half time is plenty not 15 or more mins. The sponsors should make sure that teams must field full strength sides. Get the atmosphere back in the FA Cup

    Report this comment

    Derek McDonald

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • A good article by PD which sums up what many are thinking. The fundamental problem is a lack of tactical coherence backed up by a seeming lack of effort on the part of many of our players. I am sure that our squad has the potential to at least achieve a play-off place but even that modest target requires some major changes.

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    Green man

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • On paper we should be competing with the likes of Bournemouth and Ipswich. The difference is hunger and drive. Their players have it. Ours are so wealthy they really couldn't give a monkey's where Norwich finish this season. That's when you need a strong manager, to get players playing to their potential. Who's next after Adams? No doubt Phelan - a third successive 'manager' with little managerial experience, more known for his coaching career.

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    Colin

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • I'm pretty sure some of the "injuries" was only keeping some players from being cup-tied. I am pretty sure I saw Tettey at the Rygge Airport yesterday whilst delivering my wifes sister... Kenfoggo: I am sure we have those quality players, but we have no managerial team to get the best out of them. Look at Wolfie- he has started to score again, and I am sure our lads would hit one after another under other managers. What could Lambert do With this lot?

    Report this comment

    Norwegian Canary

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • I think that even the most optimistic of Norwich supporters can no longer be under any illusion that we have a failing Manager and a squad of players who are lazy and massively overrated. Reading and then Preston were both examples of the decline and spiral descent through mediocrity into outright humiliation. All we get from the Manager and the players are the same old platitudes that we are all bored with after two to three seasons of this rubbish. What is clear is that we can expect no improvement without a massive change and a huge clear out of those who will not perform for Club, money, career or pride.

    Report this comment

    kenfoggo

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • We still have the slenderest chance of an automatic promotion, but the board needs to act NOW. Get a new manager and do some sensible dealing in the transfer market now ! If we don't, it could be too late by Sunday !!

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Urgently need at least one decent centre-half and someone to take a grip of the game in central midfield. Also need a right back and could do with changing the attacking personnel if we can get rid of Hooper and Lafferty. Players who aren't contributing should be moved on - Garrido & Hooiveld spring to mind. No reason why Elliott Bennett doesn't deserve a go. Surman's been great for Bournemouth this season. We'd be wise not to make the same mistake.

    Report this comment

    Colin

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Maybe we can sell Wolfie now? He has scored a handsome 6 goals for the Frenchmen, and surelyis saleable again? Sell him and get a good hard working CB! Oh yes!

    Report this comment

    Norwegian Canary

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • And in case you are wondering I do not consider Whittaker, Turner, Howson, Hooper as winners... they just make you think that way. Tettey, Olsson & Redmond are good enough but aren't proving themselves on a consistent basis. And then when we have too many fringe players that aren't really delivering, where it be those long term injured or never first team certainties, like both Bennetts, the Murphys, all of the other defenders...

    Report this comment

    mikeskisandflies

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • In the good old days we fought pitch battles with Police and club staff to get rid of Chase and company has the fight gone from the Norwich fans too. The Board obviously reckon they can get away with anything nowadays.

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    Canaryinslovenia

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • We went out and bought a lot of rubbish. Grabham, Laffs, Cuellar, O'Neill and of course Jerome were excellent additions... but this squad is polluted with negativity and money grabbers... we need to CULL this team of lots of players who don't seem to care about the team and just collect paychecks. With the exception of Ruddy, Martin, Wes & Johnson (Luckily a core of a squad) too many others have stayed for their paychecks.... if they were good enough for the Premier they would have left... I don't believe this loyalty card except for those above. I want players with HEART.... that core above along with the great signings of Jerome and Grabham mean we should be walking this league. Ironically, at the start of the season, when that core was playing and before a few of them were dropped, we were top of the league...

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    mikeskisandflies

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • It's the Board's fault yet again in appointing Adams in the first place. Do they ever learn from their mistakes - Peter Grant, Bryan Gunn, and now Adams come to mind. Why do their appointments always have to be NCFC related. Recently, Lambert had no connection with NCFC. The Rubicon should have been crossed last weekend and now this embarrassing FA cup defeat; but nothing will happen re Adams position as manager even when we lose convincingly at Bournemouth next Saturday. It just can't go on like this. The Board is incapable of making the right decisions they constantly dilly-dally. Managers should man-manage and motivate, something singularly lacking in Adams CV! Paddy Davitt's article say it all. Sack Adams so that any new experienced manager has half a season to save us from Championship mid-table mediocrity. Board, please don't repeat the same mistake yet again as you already have in appointing Grant, Gunn and Adams and add Mike Phelan to the list of coaches who will likewise fail to make the step- up to managership.

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    tim east

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Never in all the Hughton years was such a negative article written about the club. Even in the Hughton years there were plenty of happy clappers on here defending him yet now there are very few defenders of Adams and he has only be given a short time. The problem with the appointments are either the wrong men for the times. Adams may be a good manager but not for Norwich at the end of its EPL journey? The blame lies with McNally and the Board. The fact is any talented manager are put off working with our Board whatever the reasons. I take issue with those who say if Delia goes then beware who we get. I think we all trust Delia as a good supporter to sell her shares to people who have the clubs interest at heart. Just get on and do it Delia for all our sales

    Report this comment

    Canaryinslovenia

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Maybe we should no longer enter the FA Cup? Only the fans are up for it. The players and management obviously can't be bothered. Until this changes why continue to fleece the fans who shell out to see such rubbish.

    Report this comment

    ade_canary

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Agree DJ F the board probably do want PL football. Their problem is they keep getting it wrong with their managerial decisions, both in the selection and then, when needed, dismissal.

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    Lincs Canary

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • I would not want either of the two owners you mention, either, we are in a safe pair of hands in some ways. But why O why do they keep making the same mistakes and going over the same ground. These are the things I have against them. I share concerns of selling to the first buyer that waves a blank cheque, but for god's sake they did to learn

    Report this comment

    sixtiesbarclayboy

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Half expecting an Ipswich drubbing or a Bournemouth drubbing on the horizon I fear the worst whilst wishing for better. Are the managerial platitudes and cliche stock responses exhausted; one wonders what might follow such a tragedy would it be more words or actions. I will not put much money on the latter.

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    Regulador

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Mid-table Championship mediocrity is not nearly the squad's potential, nor what the club's sizeable support deserve. Perhaps a Phelan or Sherwood in midfield would galvanise the team, but first things first, a manager with a proven track record please.

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    MikelSA

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • I lost hope probably mid-November. But i'm looking forward to the end of these feeble campaign. Nevermind, thought you'd done a runner like another infamous poster... You love those early comments!

    Report this comment

    Morgan's_tight_pants

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Always an over-reaction following results - both good and bad. Always criticism of the owners and cries of lack of ambition. Of course they want Premier League football - to accuse otherwise seems ridiculous. In hindsight, NA is looking less and less like the right choice (and I for one backed it) but more patience is required. MM at Ipswich was hardly an overnight success but is now bearing fruit. Calling for the owners to go is also fairly d@f and if they did, maybe we'd end up with the likes of bosses running Leeds or Cardiff. No thanks. This season is not over yet and as bad as it's been at times, there will be good days to come. Can't see much return from Saturday saying that but then again didn't expect the performance and result we got at Derby either, OTBC

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    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Interesting article from Paddy in that it finally echoes what we have all been saying for weeks, or months even. Saturday's game is a must win or at least a must not lose game. The players will know that failure with 3 weeks of January to go will herald a departure or two. Sadly I feel our season is done and we can now look forward to the next one. My Preston mate went to the game and said we were just woeful. Embarrassing more like.

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    Bogaz John

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • A very accurate article and some good comments from posters. Although I only listened to the game on Saturday, given the team selection and set up, I expected the result we got and that is worrying. Given that Neil has been at or around this club for some considerable time, it is amazing that he does not see what virtually every fan sees. Hooper and Hoolahan up front, our only ball winning midfielder on the left wing, an untried centre back playing left back and two right sided centre backs, how the Preston manger must have been laughing up his sleeve. This squad of players is too weak to win promotion, especially in the engine room and we desperately need to find a Vinny Jones style player together with a decent left winger, however, if we did manage to get promoted through the play offs, then we will need a completely new team or would face instant relegation as few if any of our squad are premiership quality. Fact not fiction I fear.

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    TrevorKeith

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • That article pretty much says it all. The only thing it is missing is some specious advice from Ipswich fans.

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    Swiss Canary

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Much of what Paddy says has been posted over and over again until we're all sick of reading the same old drivel. In a nutshell we have the players who are capable of, but not willing to show the required committment on the field of play. We are without a leader both on and off the pitch and its time for a clear out. On last weekend's game... we won the fouls count easily!!!!,

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    rament

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • A right fine mess were in folks. Norwich are there for the taking most club managers know that. Simple game plan no inspiration, limited work rate- Norwich in a nut shell. Sad but true Mr Adams when you lose the players as indeed you are acknowledging in your statement then the writing is on the wall for you. Yes you may spur them on for a game or two but ultimately the harder you admonish them the wider the gulf between the players and the manager. You had a fair shot at it but missed the target by a mile or so, farewell and good fortune elsewhere.

    Report this comment

    Regulador

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Quite a calendar of events Paddy. Have you been directed from the club to prepare us all for an impending departure and put us on a downer that we're not already on?

    Report this comment

    nevermindthedanger

    Monday, January 5, 2015

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

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