There was a sense of something finally breaking at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Yet another, and probably final, chance for City to break into the top six was squandered in a performance that was so utterly inept that the stadium was half empty well before the final whistle as Swansea, aided by Sam McCallum’s indisputable red card, passed them to death, completing nearly four times as many passes as the home team.

Remember when City used to do that to opponents, back when there was a clear playing identity that everyone understood and bought into?

Eastern Daily Press: Russell Martin came back to haunt his former clubRussell Martin came back to haunt his former club (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd)

There’s also a certain irony that Russell Martin, who was jettisoned as a player by City in the early days of the Daniel Farke era, should have returned to give them an object lesson in how to play Farkeball.

I don’t think anyone believes that the sending off changed the course of the game, because City were well on the way to a comprehensive defeat well before that as passes went astray, runners weren’t picked up and Swansea players found acres of space all over the pitch, even when playing against 11 men.

The Canaries were all over the place, particularly on their right where Max Aarons seemed to be up against two men on a regular basis, while McCallum was twice caught ball watching and allowing his man to get goal side, the first resulting in the corner from which Swansea opened the scoring and the second bringing about his dismissal.

It was thoroughly depressing to watch and even more so to write about, and one can only hope that those in charge don’t see the sale of over 20,000 season tickets as acceptance that fans are happy with what they’re seeing.

The reality is that most fans will, as long as they can afford to in these difficult times, stick with the club through thick and thin because, unlike those running it, Norwich City is in their DNA, but that doesn’t mean that their concerns should be ignored.

Of course, we’ve been here before, in fact many times over the years, but in recent memory the relegation to League One and the end-of-season hammering at Hillsborough during which James Maddison, the asset whose sale was going to help to fill the club’s financial black hole, went down with what could have been a career-ending injury, are two examples of the club being at a low ebb only for great success to follow.

That could well be the case once again, but it will require major surgery to a squad that has looked nowhere near the sum of its parts this season, and which is looking increasingly rudderless as the season draws to a close.

Of course, all eyes are on the destination of the new shares created in February, but for the moment the atmosphere is becoming increasing toxic and those fans who were still there at the end on Saturday gave voice to their frustration as the game drifted to its conclusion.

There is now a pressing need for good communication from the club because, as was the case in the latter days of the Dean Smith era, the disconnection with fans is again becoming more evident and increasingly unpleasant, and “ignore the noise” seems to have morphed from a proud mantra rejecting outside influences into a stubborn refusal to acknowledge justifiable criticism from much closer to home.

I don’t like to hear chants aimed at individuals, although I do understand the frustrations, but perhaps this is an opportunity to rebuild some bridges.

Clearly, mistakes have been made, but admitting to that, rather than being a sign of weakness, is actually an indication of strength that most people would respect.

Nothing can change what has happened, but there is a choice as to whether fans, media, management and players move forward together or continue to draw up battle lines.