Dear Norwich City board, here’s my 10-point wish list

Canaries chairman Ed Balls in the stands for the visit of Blackburn. Picture: Matthew Usher/Focus Im

Canaries chairman Ed Balls in the stands for the visit of Blackburn. Picture: Matthew Usher/Focus Images. - Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd

I've worked out that Alan Irvine is the 25th manager Norwich City have had since I started supporting the club back in the 1970s,

Norwich City's majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones watch on against Blackburn.

Norwich City's majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones watch on against Blackburn. Picture: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd

I'll make something clear at the outset. I'm not applying to be the 26th (I couldn't leave my mates in the Upper tier of the River End to stand in front of that dugout).

We're now at a crossroads in the history of our club.

Promotion is out of the question this season, which leaves only one more year of parachute money to come.

Patience among devoted supporters is running out as we endure too many poor performances from a massively under-performing squad which cost tens of millions of pounds to assemble and eats millions of pounds a year in bumper pay packets.

Tom Smith, the new director at Norwich City Football Club. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Tom Smith, the new director at Norwich City Football Club. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

The board is about to unveil a new structure for the club before picking a new football manager.

I've drawn up my own 10-point wish list for the club. It comes from the heart of a dyed-in-the-wool fan and fear not, it isn't a pitch to don the tracksuit.

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Here goes:

1 A manager who is in total charge - Speculation is growing about what the new structure will look like, with a director of football being heavily tipped to be a key component. We must have one man that the players, the board and fans know has the final say on signings, tactics and team selection. There must be no room for confusion or potential for the manager to be undermined.

2 A board with vision - The next few days will show us the way the top brass are pushing the club. Get it right and we can look forward to good times ahead. Get it wrong and a prolonged time in the footballing wilderness.

3 Players must see it as a privilege to wear the yellow and green shirt - Well done to Russ Martin for saying this at the weekend. Us supporters care passionately about our club. We forgive mistakes but we expect everyone who crosses that white line to be proud and make us proud.

4 Kick out the dead wood - If the current squad were a plant having its spring chop, there would be a mighty big bag load to take to the tip. Neil was clearly planning a huge clearout and the new incumbent has to be rigorous.

5 Bring in a defensive coach - Only Rotherham and Forest have been more leaky in the Championship this term. Conceding 56 goals in a pretty ordinary league is ridiculous. There are flaws with the personnel. But even more so there's a major problem with getting the back line set up effectively.

6 Youth development and progression - We love singing 'He's one of our own' but there are far too few opportunities to do so. There are clearly talented lads in the academy and under 23s team. In the Murphys we get glimpses of hope. However, while we see too many ageing players not doing the business, youngsters are being packed out on loan or not getting their chance here.

7 Recruitment - Ask City fans what issues are really frustrating them and this will be close to the top of most lists. There must be gems in the lower leagues, in big clubs' reserve teams and on the continent. We're just not finding enough of them.

8 Learn to win away - Why oh why are City so poor on the road? It's 11 v 11 on a grass pitch. The travelling support is great. And yet the results, attitude and performances continue to be embarrassing. It's got to be sorted.

9 Improve fitness - City have let in far too many goals late in games this season. This sits alongside the sight of too many players looking shot to bits as matches progress. It has to be down to fitness levels, which must be improved.

10 Fans must be understood and listened to - Supporters are hard to please and are irrational creatures. But the City faithful turn out in their thousands through thick and thin (and there's certainly been more thin than thick at the moment). Please, City board, understand the supporters, talk to us and listen to us.


Thank you Alex

I spent several months saying Alex Neil should be replaced, so I can't argue with the board's decision.

It's been said so many times since Friday and I do think the timing of the sacking was strange to say the least.

The Scot left us with immediate memories of a dire season, which promised so much yet delivered so little.

He has seemed out of his depth, with a lack of ideas and a disjointed squad.

I do, however, want to say a massive thank you to him for the happy memories he gave us from his earlier days and of course that never to be forgotten day at Wembley.

Only two City bosses have been successful at the home of football.

That precious piece of Canary history can never be taken away from him.

Neil will get a new job and I wish him well for the future.

It's not about you, Mr Hooper

Simon Hooper got the decision exactly right to send off Mitchell Dijks on Saturday. It was a terrible foul.

But apart from that, the man in the middle from Wiltshire (why are we always bothered about where refs are from?) had an awful game.

He booked six players in a game - which apart from the shocker from City's full back - didn't warrant it.

I thought that time after time he got things wrong and seemed to be wanting to be a talking point.

To me refs should want to keep out of the limelight. They should aim to be unnnoticed and hope that fans go home and struggle to remember the part they played.

Sadly too many officials seem to want to make a name for themselves these days.

I know it's a tough job, but they need to realise they're not the reason we turn up each week.