Alex Neil must be given chance to turn things around at Norwich City

Alex Neil needs more time to solve the problems with his team, says columnist Matt Howman. Picture b

Alex Neil needs more time to solve the problems with his team, says columnist Matt Howman. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

It takes a brave man to confidently exclaim to a room full of aggrieved City fans that despite being on the back of four league defeats on the spin, the number one priority this season is promotion, promotion, promotion.

Chief executive Jez Moxey may need to reassess the game plan on how Norwich are looking to achieve promotion this season when our form is comparable to that of Rotherham, with no recent signs of looking up.

It takes no genius to spot the problems in the City camp; a group of players with an evident lack of passion for the manager, a defence that season after season has failed to keep clean sheets and a transfer market policy which sees the recruitment team trading saffron for lemons.

It may come as an unpopular opinion, but one admirable quality I see from our board is the loyalty shown to our managers.

This stance has had its successes and failures, but nonetheless it's certainly the right way for a football club to act.

Despite not being brave enough to change our formation throughout the season, Alex Neil has recently tinkered with the side in order to try and change results, and still the losses continue.

He made a valid point in the recent AGM when questioned on his performance, to which the response was a terse nod to the players' seeming immunity to criticism when results go sour.

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Modern football has seen managers take the stick, even when games are decided on individual errors, and the position held within the club has grown to be entirely tenuous.

It makes no sense when clubs give managers days and weeks to build a team when the process has long been accepted to take multiple seasons.

We do see managers who are able to come in and galvanise a team for short-term results, but they swan in and out of clubs without needing to worry about the repercussions of their transfer dealings or the money they spend.

There is a long-standing notion amongst many Norwich fans that the board always look for the cheap option, but we have seen over the past two seasons that Neil is no pushover.

He may have lost his 'philosophy' in recent months (it's now a burgeoning footballing trend that managers have philosophies) but from a fan's perspective it seems the playing staff aren't making the difference on the pitch and a large chunk of that responsibility lies with them.

At this moment in time promotion seems a faint hope but a couple of wins and we're right back up there. The priority now is to shake up the team – and I hope they give Neil the chance to carry it out.