We will always have Wembley but Alex Neil’s time at Norwich City is up
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Curling up in a darkened room, slowly rocking in the foetal position with the Vengaboys on repeat is infinitely more preferable to watching Norwich of late.
Much like the 1990s Europop outfit, City have become predictable and out of tune in the last few weeks.
The common consensus is there's no one defining reason why things have gone so drastically wrong. Is it the board's lack of long term vision? Are we returning to the days of Costa Del Colney? Have Alex Neil's deficiencies been exposed by a squad not prepared to take collective responsibility for themselves? The fact is we're never likely to know the complete truth, but there may be something in all three concerns.
However, matters have been so extreme that things need to change, and fast. In the unforgiving world of modern football only one person carries the can for such a catastrophic run in form and it's hard to see Alex Neil continuing in his job for much longer, and this is coming from one of his longest supporters.
It has all the hallmarks of the end game for the fiery Scot, yet in true Canary fashion it's quite plausible his exit will be a drawn out event with increasing supporter unrest meaning the board eventually have to act. Good job we've ditched the clappers really.
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The timing of the release of Delia and Michael Wynn-Jones' interview with Henry Winter was unfortunate to say the least. When conducted, the club sat top of the league and most were comfortable with the status quo. Fast forward a few weeks and the complexion of the landscape is almost unrecognisable.
But putting ill-fated PR exercises aside, the time has probably come for action. Not because Alex Neil is a bad manager, I truly believe he will go on to do great things, but because the tide has turned and the majority of the fanbase no longer back him. It's not just the juvenile dissenters and overly entitled whingers now calling for his head, much more reasoned observers and the centre ground of opinion now consider his position to be untenable. When this happens it's an impossibility to claw your way back.
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His failures can be boiled down to two fateful trips to St James' Park. Last season a 6-2 mauling led to the Canaries losing their identity, being afraid to express themselves in a way that had impressed the neutrals up until that point. It was to prove the campaign's defining moment. This time out, from a position of strength after 94 minutes, we managed to capitulate in the space of 90 seconds, turning a fine three points into zero. It exposed the psychological fragility which has slowly seeped into the shared consciousness of the squad.
Had Norwich held on in the North East they would have been seven points clear of the Magpies, yet seven Championship games later they trail them by 13. As good as Newcastle have been, the contrast serves to highlight how poor we've become. As much as it saddens me, the hope is this doesn't become a protracted affair. If Neil walked by me in the street tomorrow my first instinct would be shake his hand or stop him for a selfie.
He deserves our respect and not to be hounded out in a Hughton-esque fashion. This isn't about the need to blame an individual, it's about the good of the club we all care so deeply for. So if you're reading this Alex I'm really sorry, but we'll always have Wembley. Thanks for the memories.