Few smiles as clearly frustrated Norwich City boss Alex Neil faces AGM questioning

Alex Neil, centre, pictured alongside Jez Moxey, left, and technical director Ricky Martin at Novemb

Alex Neil, centre, pictured alongside Jez Moxey, left, and technical director Ricky Martin at November's AGM at Carrow Road. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

There were no disarming smiles and few niceties exchanged – this was a night when Alex Neil knew full well the spotlight was on him.

After four consecutive Championship defeats, plenty of supporters have made clear that they feel the Scot is not the man to lead a promotion campaign this season.

The Canaries boss didn't look like a man struggling under pressure, though – he looked focused, attentive and calm, with concise answers despite some occasionally spiky questions coming his way.

That being said, Neil didn't have to contribute for the first hour and 10 minutes of the AGM, as he sat patiently while City's directors outlined their objectives for the next year.

That was kicked off by chief executive Jez Moxey with the opening objective of 'promotion, promotion, promotion'.

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Mike Huggins was the first to aim a question in the manager's direction, asking who City's defence coach is and suggesting that lessons haven't been learned from last season's relegation campaign.

His suggestion that Match of the Day pundits had shown Norwich to be the worst at defending set-plays in the top flight last season was courteously dismissed by Neil, saying: 'We weren't the worst team at set-plays at all.'

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The rest of the response, as for all the answers that followed, were delivered in the style of a man suffering great personal frustration that his best-laid plans are not bearing fruit.

No defence coach specifically, was the answer, with Neil leading coaching alongside his assistant Frankie McAvoy and first-team coach Alan Irvine.

The start of a familiar theme then began to emerge, with Neil asking why the team as a collective is hailed when winning but 'one man' is picked out when things are going badly.

Another shareholder said the defending so far this season was 'the worst he had seen for a very long time' in his 70 years of following the Canaries.

Neil remained calm and answered questions directly.

Kyle Lafferty? Didn't do it at Ceykur Rizespor or Birmingham, not convinced. Robbie Brady's set-piece delivery? Frustrated to see him do it for Ireland but not Norwich. The sale of Bradley Johnson? He wasn't good enough for the Premier League.

This was business time for a man who is clearly giving his all to try and live up to his part of the bargain for a demanding club and fan-base – but not seeing his actions bring the solutions he expects.

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