Lack of honour in season's last lap

There cannot have been many more fitting final home games of the season than last week's match against Southampton.It was a truly grim display at the end of a truly grim season.

There cannot have been many more fitting final home games of the season than last week's match against Southampton.

It was a truly grim display at the end of a truly grim season.

There was nothing to play for, but so what? Other teams seem to save their best form for when the pressure is off. Even relegated Luton managed a 3-1 away win last week, for goodness sake, albeit at equally lowly Southend.

But not Norwich. Oh, no.

Last week's performance was up there with a host of other crackers from the past couple of years. The first half was as boring and as dreary as it's been for a long time. And that really is saying something.

Neil Doncaster was right when he said that the parade of players around the pitch after the final whistle was a chance for them to show their appreciation for the fans. Calling it a 'lap of honour' really would have been taking the biscuit - although the stadium announcer seemed under the impression that the whole thing was being done for the players' benefit, urging us to show our appreciation for their efforts.

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But I suppose at least it means we didn't end our home campaign under the illusion that everything was rosy in the Carrow Road garden. It showed once again - as if we needed reminding - that major surgery rather than a little tinkering is needed.

And that surgery has already started with Peter Grant moving to clear out some of the deadwood from his squad.

There are no surprises amongst the five who have been shown the door, with one of them in particular summing up the problems we've had since relegation from the Premiership.

There is no doubt that Peter Thorne (pictured) has had rotten luck with injuries, but even when he has played he has hardly set the world alight.

And the fact that he arrived here with such a good pedigree makes it even more frustrating that someone on such a high salary has delivered so little. Although he was a 'free' transfer, he must go down as one of our most expensive flops of all time.

Thorne is by no means the only bad signing we have made recently, so it's not fair to blame him and the even more luckless Matthieu Louis-Jean for the woes of the past two years. Unfortunately for them, however, they will forever be synonymous with a particularly depressing era at Carrow Road.

I genuinely wish them well for the future, but let's hope that in the same way their arrivals ushered in two seasons of mediocrity, their departures will herald the start of something much brighter.


I won't go so far as to say that I was pleased when Ipswich equalised at Elland Road last week - the Blues scoring can never be a good thing, can it? - but I can't have been the only person who felt heartened by the fact that Alan Lee's goal meant relegation for the Yorkshire team.

Up and down the country, fans have different opinions on virtually all things football, with seemingly just one exception - everyone hates Leeds.

People older than me will have their own memories of previous incarnations of Leeds. But for those nearer my age, perhaps the best way to sum up our dislike of that club is simply by listing some of the names associated with Elland Road.

Some of them you might like, but put them all together and you'll see what I mean. So, in no particular order, I give you Terry Venables, Peter Ridsdale, Jonathan Woodgate, David O'Leary, Lee Bowyer, Dennis Wise, Ken Bates, David Batty, Robbie Blake, Alan Smith, Peter Reid, Paul Butler, Rio Ferdinand . . .

See what I mean? And I am sure there are others I have left out.

But now my dislike of them has become even more acute. Yesterday's decision to file for administration means that - like others before them - Leeds can now shake off the problems caused by their own financial recklessness over the years and start afresh next season. Instead, it will be the creditors who will lose out.

It is outrageous that the

10-point penalty imposed on Leeds for going into administration is being imposed this season.

Leeds are already down, so it is no punishment.

Chairman Ken Bates is many things, but stupid ain't one of them. He knows that if he had waited just another 48 hours before calling in the administrators, the 10-point deduction would have been imposed next season. Leeds would have started life in League One on minus 10 points, and it would have been thoroughly deserved.

That is the whole point of the penalty. It is just that, a penalty - something that is supposed to cause pain for the guilty party. Allowing the deduction to take place this season makes a mockery of the rules, and Leeds mustn't be allowed to get away with it.

Otherwise, next time Leeds play Ipswich, I might be forced into wishing for something even more unpalatable than the Suffolk lot earning just a point.


Roy Blower stood down yesterday as chairman of Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association ahead of his imminent appointment as Lord Mayor of Norwich.

Until yesterday, he was the only chairman in NCISA's history, having taken the reins when the association was formed during the dark days at the end of the Robert Chase era.

The situation in the mid-1990s certainly puts today's problems into perspective, and NCISA was exactly what was needed at that time.

It may have been the likes of Geoffrey Watling and - ultimately - Delia and Michael Wynn Jones who saved our club financially, and of course we will be forever grateful to them for that.

But what Roy and NCISA did was channel the fans' anger and passion and help create a supporters' movement that eventually made Chase's position untenable.

I have had two spells on the NCISA committee and so I can't pretend to have an objective opinion about the association.

But whatever your views on the merits or otherwise of NCISA, it remains the largest Canaries supporters' club out there and has continued its important work even when street protests haven't been necessary, raising thousands of pounds for the club and for the academy set-up in particular.

Roy has been instrumental in NCISA's development and will continue to play an important role in the future, I'm sure.

But in the meantime, let's acknowledge the fact that our club is in a far better state now than it was when Roy became chairman all those years ago - and at least some of that is down to him.