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Where did it all go wrong at Norwich City for Neil Adams?

14:17 05 January 2015

Neil Adams during Norwich City

Neil Adams during Norwich City's FA Cup defeat at Preston . Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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It all started so promisingly for Neil Adams as manager of Norwich City but his tenure, sadly, will now be remembered as a failure.

Neil Adams and first-team coach Mike Phelan during Norwich City's Sky Bet Championship match at the Madejski Stadium, Reading. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdNeil Adams and first-team coach Mike Phelan during Norwich City's Sky Bet Championship match at the Madejski Stadium, Reading. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Adams has resigned after 27 games in charge this season, with the Canaries sitting just three points outside of the play-offs but 10 points adrift of the automatic promotion places.

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Neil Adams celebrates Norwich City's 1-0 win at Ipswich in August. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdNeil Adams celebrates Norwich City's 1-0 win at Ipswich in August. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Neil Adams celebrates Norwich City's 3-0 win at Brentford. 
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdNeil Adams celebrates Norwich City's 3-0 win at Brentford. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Saturday’s embarrassing 2-0 loss at lower-level Preston North End saw City knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round and saw many supporters calling for Adams to go.

But the former City midfielder looked to have turned the corner prior to Christmas.

A 2-1 home defeat to Reading at the end of November prompted angry chanting from the Carrow Road faithful, with the Canaries slipping to 11th place in the Championship table.

Neil Adams and former first-team coach Mark Robson argue during defeat at Shrewsbury in the Capital One Cup third round. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus ImagesNeil Adams and former first-team coach Mark Robson argue during defeat at Shrewsbury in the Capital One Cup third round. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

That anger spilled over to social media that day, with chief executive David McNally and goalkeeper John Ruddy taking to Twitter to vent their frustrations.

But 10 points from a possible 12 in the next four games, including 5-0 and 6-1 home wins against Huddersfield and Millwall respectively, looked to have City back on track.

Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan had been brought in to assist Adams and the partnership looked to be paying dividends.

But a poor performance in a 2-1 loss at Reading at the end of December, followed by Saturday’s FA Cup shock, has seen Adams decide to step down.

Where did it all go wrong though?

Adams’ eighth match in charge as permanent manager saw City reach the Championship summit for the first time.

An emphatic 3-0 win at Brentford, following a swashbuckling comeback to win 4-2 at Cardiff, saw Adams and his side receiving high praise from all angles.

With five wins and one draw in his first seven league games, Adams looked to be making quick work of engineering an immediate return to the top flight.

Factfile

Neil Adams

Age: 49

Born: Stoke-on-Trent

Playing career

Position: Midfielder

Clubs: Stoke City, Everton, Norwich City, Oldham Athletic

Canaries record: 206 games, 30 goals

Managerial career

2013/14 (Premier League): P5 W0 D1 L4 F2 A10 Pts 1

2014/15 (Championship): P24 W10 D7 L7 F44 A29 Pts 37

But perhaps the rot had already set in.

Prior to the trip to Cardiff, Bournemouth had left Norfolk with a point after a 1-1 draw which was to set a frustrating tone at Carrow Road.

Cameron Jerome’s brace saved another point for the Canaries against Birmingham when they next returned to home turf, drawing 2-2.

Next was a game which Adams insisted he was taking seriously, a trip to League Two side Shrewsbury Town in the third round of the Capital One Cup.

With the likes of Gary Hooper and Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe being handed a start at Greenhous Meadow as they continued their injury comebacks, City lost 1-0 and put in a poor performance.

That minor blip appeared to have been overcome quickly, with a 3-1 win at bottom-of-the-table crisis club Blackpool, but that proved to be a false dawn.

Two home games offered Adams’ side the chance to regain their momentum but a 1-0 loss to Charlton and 1-1 draw with Rotherham saw that chance wasted.

The customary defeat at Fulham was followed by another frustrating home game, drawing 1-1 with Leeds, followed by a dull 0-0 stalemate at struggling Sheffield Wednesday.

The pressure was building for Adams, as he faced the biggest test of his management skills in senior football.

Another Jerome brace finally brought some respite for City supporters at Carrow Road, earning a 2-1 win against Bolton which, like most home games, should have been far more comfortable.

It seemed Adams may have managed to guide his side away from bumpy ground – but that hope was soon dismissed, as the yellow bubble well and truly burst.

A 4-0 loss at Middlesbrough and a late capitulation to lose 2-1 at Nottingham Forest prompted a reaction, with the sacking of first-team coach Mark Robson.

The vast experience of former Phelan was announced as the replacement but before the former Canaries captain began his new role, another home draw left fans frustrated once again, Gary Hooper rescuing a 3-3 draw against Brighton.

Phelan’s arrival had prompted hopes of a fresh start ahead of the visit of Reading – that hope was soon obliterated though.

Hooper, handed what many considered to be an overdue start, scored early but the Canaries contrived to concede two poor goals from corners and were beaten 2-1, deservedly.

That left Adams with a record of five draws and two defeats from 10 home games and saw many City followers make clear they had lost faith in his abilities, with a loud chant of “what a load of rubbish” at full-time.

Although he managed to hold back the tide for another month, the damage was already done for many supporters and the 49-year-old has today accepted defeat and stood down from his role.

It is a sad end to the story for a popular man who played over 200 times for the Canaries, who worked as a co-commentator for BBC Radio Norfolk for many years and who guided the club’s under-18 team to FA Youth Cup glory in 2013.

He now joins the likes of Bryan Gunn, Gary Megson and John Deehan on the list of former City players who could not repeat their playing success as manager of the club.

Will Phelan become the next if he assumes permanent control, or could he buck the trend?

Who would you like to see appointed as the next Norwich City manager? Leave your comments below.

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44 comments

  • The squad needs an overhaul with leaders in every area of the pitch. What I have seen of Jerome this season has impressed me (more than I expected). Howson and Johnson always seem to put in a proper consistent effort, but I am not sure that they are leaders in terms of getting the best out of the others. Someone on the pitch needs to be talking to Redmond because he is not always attacking the right areas. Someone of his ability needs to be committing players in the box. He has great potential but it isn't being used correctly at the moment. Also the defence and the relationship between goalkeeper and back four is not good enough at the moment and hasn't been for some time. I think we need a new right back as well.

    Report this comment

    Preston Canary

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

  • Tim Sherwood has six months management experience. Anyone who's been saying that Adams isn't experienced enough and then goes on to back Sherwood if off their trolley.

    Report this comment

    LittleYellowBirdie

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

  • Honestly I don't know if Sherwood is a good option or not. But I agree with Trevor Keith that what we do need is a tough character who will shake up the squad and in particular many of our senior players whose level of commitment and effort has often, and quite rightly, been seriously questioned. Not just this season but the previous one as well when we simply caved inured the slightest pressure and as soon as we inevitably went a goal down. The squad also need motivation but before that many need to be shaken out of their lethargy.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

  • I am quite sure that saying "it was a nothing game" , twice, on camera after the Preston match was NOT a clever thing to say.

    Report this comment

    kenfoggo

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Fair comments from the streets. I don't think that Mike Phelan wants the additional personal pressure of being the manager but I've been wrong before. There is no doubt that to get back to and succeed in the PL we need someone who has got a sharp edge, but not total bar steward, we have been down that valley, or should I say glenn, before. Take a break Neil and I'll be glad to see you back.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • PS the board will now appoint another clueless manager -Phealan- Ferges gopher- he must be laughing his head off!

    Report this comment

    borderman

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Jim - agreed, too many of our players really do think they are stars and therefore don't need to graft. Like you I recently said we need to shift a lot of these under-performers out but someone then quite rightly pointed out that while the club might want to do so, other clubs aren't exactly queuing up to buy them!

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Brian Gunn got Grant Holt what did Adams do? he is just a wind bag who was out of his depth and should never have been given the job by our clueless board !

    Report this comment

    borderman

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • N Adams was put in a untenable position. Not enough experience and quite obviously players who have not improved their work rate at all. They are not a very skilled bunch but as proven when lower teams tackle higher placed opposition, work and heart are the greatest of assets. City players have neither.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Malaga regarding your point about players not running, O'Neill mentioned this shortly after witnessing our players not get back to defend. Too many stroll around thinking they are better than what they are, and the post match comments from Adams just kept them believing it, always saying how good the performance was when really it was dire.

    Report this comment

    Jimhow

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Canary West - our players ought to look up to the real stars of the game, all of whom work tirelessly. Just watch how many miles Messi puts in during a game. You will find him back in his own penalty area quite often putting in a defensive shift. The Prem League matches show players with world class and with quality in spades also working hard throughout the game, chasing back when they lose possession, supporting others by running distances off the ball and so on. Last season was just the same, players strolling around and not appearing to read the game and get into position to either defend or receive a pass and so slow when they try to counter attack.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • ...and Norwiegan, to compare Adams to Gunn is an insult. Adams has quit because he cares about NCFC and where it is heading. Gunn was fired as he seemed oblivious to where it was heading with him in charge.

    Report this comment

    CanaryWest

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • "Where did it all go wrong"... it went wrong when SOME of the players stopped putting in 100% every game. It is that top 5% of effort\ability that makes the difference in professional football and if the players do not put it in you wont succeed regardless of who the manager is. Same old story... players fail yet stay at the club, while managers change.

    Report this comment

    CanaryWest

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • I feel sorry for Neil but its the right decision. The laughable (but not funny) decision was taken to sack Hughton with 5 games left last season and then to install Adams as manager after apparently looking all over Europe. I do not feel Mike Phelan would be the right choice, probably Tim Sherwood as he's got the aggression I think needed to motivate the players.

    Report this comment

    Beachfarmpark

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Answer;ask the lazy under performing players!

    Report this comment

    tonyb

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • .....1831.....Come on archant!...oñe questioning sentence, and it's censored!....You shouldn't sink to this level!.....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • .....It will be interesting to read the comments by whoever comes forward as players spokesman!.....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • it went wrong the day McNally said he was "watching" Houton; cowards way to hedge bets and undermine Houghton, then he put in Adams, which was worse then putting in Gunn. question, is McNally now in charge because he was getting things right for a number of years (or was Lambert a fluke).

    Report this comment

    BBB

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • it went wrong the day McNally said he was "watching" Houton; cowards way to hedge bets and undermine Houghton, then he put in Adams, which was worse then putting in Gunn. question, is McNally now in charge because he was getting things right for a number of years (or was Lambert a fluke).

    Report this comment

    BBB

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Bassong riding the Colney gang-mowers last summer , Adams this year , come July . Sammy says he takes his tea dark-mahogany with five sugars , " git thet right dew we'll git along , dew he dunt dew there'll be blarin' ! "

    Report this comment

    Bring on Foggo

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • People blame the players but Adams brought a fair number of them in, of the rest many of them were successful under Lambert, that would leave about 3 players who could be sorted out if they were a problem. I don't buy it. The manager should be able to get results out of previously successful players and add some quality ones of his own. That is where they earn their corn

    Report this comment

    JohnnyH

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Phelan and Culverhouse. However if Hycinth Bucket wants a patient manager, how about the Archbishop of Canterbury. If we avoid Sunday games we would only need to appoint him part time. that would save some money.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • The daft thing here is that we should have sacked Hughton at the end of November 2013 but kept faith with him. I agree with comments that some players have let Adams down. We will probably never know what on behind the scenes here but as many pointed out previously Adams was on a hiding to nothing from the minute Phelan arrived.

    Report this comment

    Tony H

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • That should have read "Coaches" but I am now wondering if the potential sale of certain star players ahs also played a part in Neil's decision. I hope not but it would not be the first time.

    Report this comment

    TrevorKeith

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Good coached often do not make good managers and vice versa. Glad to see that the club have offered Neil a coaching post because that is what he is good at. I would like to see Sherwood given a go as he suffers fools lightly and that is what some of our prima donnas need to buck their ideas up.

    Report this comment

    TrevorKeith

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • A nice man, who just did not have enough experience, whats the chance of us getting Eddie Howe from Bournemouth ?

    Report this comment

    Colwyn Canary

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • …..Agreed Derek! ….What a lot of failures he inherited!.....A massive clear out is required!..... No more pleading or promises!....they have just got adecentman the sack!.....

    Report this comment

    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • We also sacked Mike Walker (his second coming) after 2 big wins (including Huddersfield). This appeared (to me at least) as a courageous decision by the board, whilst letting Neil Adams go just looks like cowardice in the face of the enemy within - you know who you are!

    Report this comment

    whereareyou

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • It when wrong because the players let him down

    Report this comment

    Derek McDonald

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Confused with this bit of the club statement, 'Everybody at Norwich City looks forward to working with him again when he returns in the summer.' What return and in what capacity?

    Report this comment

    Canary Exile

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • PS. Let's get McCarthy for fun. That would cheer the faithful up, regardless of promotion! Win win for the board.

    Report this comment

    JimBob

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Tony H - it's about time, something we don't have. We can only lose 3 games to get auto promotion based on recent seasons (and that's assuming the others mess up). If you're happy with painful inconsistency that's your prerogative, but the examples you give are the exact reason he can't stay...6-1 and 5-0 followed up by two absolute no shows is a major problem in itself. Good managers would get the team more balanced to at least show up after such amazing performances! I love Adams, but he wasn't the man and the results and your examples prove that.

    Report this comment

    JimBob

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • @Tony H ... Preston was the second avoidable Cup defeat - why oh why did he make changes to a winning team? He should have kept the same 11, secured the result and then bring on fringe players once the tie is safe. He has bought well, they set off like a steam train but its come off the rails in the last two months and the Millwall and Huddersfield games painted over the cracks. Big kudos for stepping aside to allow a transfer window for the new boss to maybe ship a coupl eout and bring a couple in.

    Report this comment

    Lucioperca

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Dave123, agreed. There is only one option for the players now, is play their hearts out for the rest of the season and get promoted or get run out of Norfolk at ten end of the season. Things could get ugly at Carrow road if these so called internationals don't start earning their inflated wages

    Report this comment

    Canaryinslovenia

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Norwich city's entire Squad should hang there heads in shame, good luck Neil shame you inherited this bunch of losers!

    Report this comment

    dave123

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Next appountment is likely to be someone that Phelan thinks would work well with him .... so I am expecting some sort of ex-man Utd pairing. Personally I think Rene Meulensteen is destined to come in as boss as they worked together briefly at Fulham and seemed to be turning things round there. Other possibilities might be Glenn Hoddle (looking to get back into management) Brian McDermott (did a great job with Reading), Neil Warnock (he gets teams promoted), Karl Robinson (probably acheived all he can at MK) and Alan Curbishley (worked miracles at Charlton)

    Report this comment

    Lucioperca

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • This news has left me feeling sick and disillusioned with NCFC. I sometimes wonder what some fans expect? Even Alex Ferguson wouldn't have pleased some of the constant critics on this notice board. So some of the home performances were not great but we were also denied by some very good goal-keeping performances in some of those games. But it takes time for new players and new manager to bed in. Our last 2 home games led to 5-0 and 6-1 victories (when did that last happen in consecutive home games, if ever). Adams is not just an honourable man, he is a good, intelligent coach and I firmly believe he would have led us back to Premier League playing stylish football. I was on the verge of giving up my season ticket when Hughton was in charge because I could not stand to watch the negative, containing football. Adams has been like a breath of fresh air. He has got more out of Cameron Jerome than possibly any other manager. He has struggled with injuries of key central defence and midfield personnel - and Hooper is only just coming back to his best after injury. I sincerely hope he retains an integral role at the club. His efforts deserve that much at least.

    Report this comment

    Tony H

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • I wrote in these columns before....Adams ultra nice guy....lack of Experience in dealing with Mega ego players....keep the players comments out of the media.....they build false hopes....Lack of Experience in knowing the opposition....something very apparent on Saturday.....Lack of Experience in deciding teams for tactical play( knowing the opposition strengths and weaknesses)....I wish him well and Carrow Road should always be a "home" to Neil.

    Report this comment

    Rod Saye

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • He was not suited to the post and probably never really, really wanted it in the first place. Getting your first managers job relatively late in life at 49 years of age suggests a certain ambivalence about the career choice.

    Report this comment

    Diss man

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • ...Who would you like to see appointed as the next Norwich City manager? Leave your comments below.... It is more appropriate to ask who do you think would like to come and manage us. Maybe Mike Phelan has an idea or two of whom would fit in. We do not appear to be so attractive to high profile managers with proven track records, more likely another promising experimental candidate from the lower divisions will be the answer; not perfect of course but what other path is there, the board are not magicians.

    Report this comment

    Regulador

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Pleased this saga is at an end. Neil seems a good man and I don;t blame him for taking the job but he should never have been given it in the first place. Our board need to hold their hands up and acknowledge that. They have stopped it just in time before things got nasty and thankfully Neil can move on to a job in the club he is more suited to.

    Report this comment

    Jim

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • I hope Phelan remains an assistant. We need a proven manager. But who's out there? Sherwood? Not exactly proven but maybe worth a chance. At least he has led a club for a period and believes in playing youngsters (unlike Adams).

    Report this comment

    Colin

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • Adams join the Gunn-club. Wants too much, too fast...

    Report this comment

    Norwegian Canary

    Monday, January 5, 2015

  • I hope it wasn't anything I said. A little late but the honorable and right thing to do. Respect is dented but not broken see you back and welcomed in some form later on.

    Report this comment

    Regulador

    Monday, January 5, 2015

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

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