Grant slams City fans
CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant faces a fans' backlash after launching an astonishing attack on the Carrow Road crowd after City threw away two much-needed points at the weekend.
Peter Grant faces a fans' backlash after launching an astonishing attack on the Carrow Road crowd after City threw away two much-needed points at the weekend.
Norwich conceded an equaliser deep into time added on against Hull, leaving Grant pointing an accusing finger at the Carrow Road crowd.
"Fifteen bloody minutes to go, we were 1-0 up, we can win the game," said Grant. "We needed a little bit of help. They got their commitment, they got their passion, they never got anything back in return, not for 94 minutes did they get anything in return. For me that's a disgrace."
It was a stunning outburst by a man who has been in charge of City for only six weeks, and he will discover exactly what the fans think tomorrow night when City face Leicester at Carrow Road.
However, judging the supporters' message boards which are already bursting at the seams, he could be in for a rocky ride.
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Roy Blower, chairman of Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association - one of the club's largest fan bases - yesterday said Grant's words were unacceptable.
"The fans were obviously reserved after the desperate performance at Ipswich and it is difficult to engender vocal support when you see some of the abject displays from some of the players," he said. "I am not one of those who goes along with the boo-boys, I think it is counter-productive, but having said that there were one or two players who didn't appear to be interested in the game and that is a sad reflection.
"I don't want to get into confrontation with Peter Grant. I want to give him 110pc support, but any more comments like that and he will lose the support of the fans."
Grant claims his players were "scared" into making a vital mistake which led to Hull's equaliser: instead of playing it out of the danger area, they passed to feet and when the pass went astray, Hull pounced.
"I remember playing here as a player, and what cost us today was typical Norwich," he said. "To knock the ball over the full-back in the final minutes is not the Norwich way - that's the difference. But that's the winning way.
"People are going to make mistakes, that's football, but they could have pushed us over the line, there is no doubt in my mind about that and I just thought it was an old Norwich trait which drives me up the wall, because I was here as a player and I know it used to drive me nuts when somebody tried to put an extra pass in when the simple pass was to say go and win the game, put them under pressure, and we didn't do that because we thought, 'that's not the way we play'.
"We went 1-0 up, we're hanging in right at the end and they're giving everything they've got and I think it cost us because of the fact they were scared to put the ball in the corner in case they were criticised for it.
"I think it cost us because it made some a little bit edgy to play that simple pass behind the full-back and the game was over,
because Hull had one thing - bang the ball down the side of the pitch or bang it in the box. And that's no disrespect to them, that's the way they play, fine. But how they got away with that, a point here, unbelievable.
"I keep getting letters about passion, commitment - does it only work one way? No, it doesn't when I'm in charge, because you end up getting players playing with a little bit of fear in them and it's the one thing I've said since I came to this club, there will be nobody playing with fear here.
Grant said his anger was restricted to the final period of the game, when City were 1-0 up through Robert Earnshaw, and that he had expected fans to be subdued at the start as they waited to see the response from the Ipswich debacle.
"If it was me turning up, I'd expect them to be sitting on their hands for the first half hour of the game," said Grant. "No problem with that. But you have got to understand there is a period in the game when we bloody need you, and we didn't get that today.
"They needed them when we were 1-0 up and digging in there, with minutes to go, they're still sitting there quiet."