Players must respect their manager – and team-mates

Cameron Jerome has had some harsh words. Picture: Paul Chesterton.

Cameron Jerome has had some harsh words. Picture: Paul Chesterton. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

In August I never thought that Norwich's season would be over by the beginning of March.

Iwan Roberts with a former Canaries boss, Bryan Hamilton. Picture: Archant Library.

Iwan Roberts with a former Canaries boss, Bryan Hamilton. Picture: Archant Library. - Credit: ECN 2000

However, after another two abject, sloppy, poor performances away from home, I think it's safe to say that all the lads have left to play for is pride. The play-offs are beyond them now.

Humiliated at Hillsborough last Saturday, fortunate to win a point on Tuesday night against Bristol City – a club that is in turmoil, having won just one of their last 19 games.

Since Norwich kicked off against Fulham on October 18 they have won just seven of their 24 league games. They've played nowhere near good enough to win promotion and after Cameron Jerome's interview following the Sheffield Wednesday debacle, should any of us be surprised?

Cameron gave a very honest assessment of why the team have failed and that justifies why Norwich are closer to third-from-bottom Bristol City than they are to Brighton and Newcastle in the top two.

Players having no respect for each other. Players having no respect for the manager or his staff. Players not listening to the manager or carrying out his instructions. Is there any wonder the club's in the situation it is? Is there any wonder the changing room up at Colney is a mess if players don't respect one another?

Cameron's comments must have been alarming to Delia, Michael and the Board and surely they must address this problem. They can relieve Alex Neil of his duties and pay him his £2m compensation - after all they must have agreed to this when he was offered a lucrative new contract in the summer, even after seeing the club relegated.

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Or they sit down with all concerned and try and bring an end to all the unrest at Colney. And if Alex Neil wants to bury his head in the sand after Cameron's comments by insisting that the big man's interview was taken out of context and that everything up at the training ground is all hunky-dory, then he is kidding nobody but himself.

I didn't like every manager I played for, but I had respect for them as I understood what a tough job it was trying to look after 30 grown men and keeping them all happy, especially the ones who weren't in the team.

And I certainly didn't ignore instructions I was given by a manager or his coaching staff leading up to a game. After all, they are preparing you the best way they can to go out and win a game. I didn't like every player I ever played with, but I got on with them because we had the same goal at the end of the day – we didn't have to be best mates, we just had to get results. It's that simple.

Don't get me wrong, there have been times when the instructions we've been given haven't worked for one reason or another and as players we took it upon ourselves to change things on the pitch as you can't always wait for the manager to bark instructions to you. Sometimes players have to be proactive for the sake of trying to win a game.

I do feel for managers these days as the balance of power has swung dramatically in favour of the players and it's going to take a very long time for it to swing back – if it ever will.

There's no fear factor anymore, players aren't afraid to fail and as long as they see their wages hit their bank accounts every month then that's all that matters.

I'm not saying every player is like this, but there are too many out there who don't care. They don't care if they play, they don't care if they start on the bench and some are quite happy to sit in the stand and watch as long as they still get paid. I bet it would be a bit different if a percentage of their wages were performance-based.

It's a real shame that players don't look at the 2,000 fans who paid good money to travel to Hillsborough last Saturday and the nearly 1,000 that travelled to Ashton Gate on Tuesday night to support their team and don't think to themselves 'we owe these people a performance'.