Major surgery required for City

And so this terrible season has come to a spluttering but long overdue end. That means there'll be no more humiliating home defeats and no more no-shows on the road - well, at least for a few months until the whole thing starts again.

And so this terrible season has come to a spluttering but long overdue end. That means there'll be no more humiliating home defeats and no more no-shows on the road - well, at least for a few months until the whole thing starts again.

Last week's match at Sheffield Wednesday wasn't quite indicative of the whole campaign - we have, after all, played far, far worse this season - but there were strands of it that summed up the season magnificently: in the first half we weren't at the races at all, and by the time we started to play any half-decent stuff, we were 3-0 down. Typical.

If ever we needed a complete overhaul, it's now. Peter Grant has kept us up - something that looked far from certain a few weeks ago - and we have limped home safely, albeit finishing third in the East Anglian mini-league.

But now is when the hard work needs to start. There must be more than just tinkering over the summer - we need some major surgery. Grant has three months to fashion a side capable of getting anywhere near being able to achieve his ambition of promotion next season.


You may also want to watch:


Tony Blair used his nauseating farewell speech this week to claim that he did his best as prime minister. So that's all right, then. It's not important what you do, apparently, as long as you meant well.

I'm afraid the same sentiments have been rife around Carrow Road for the past couple of years, and they have summed up our slump into mediocrity.

Most Read

“Such-and-such a player tries really hard” is something that's often been heard, as have comments such as “So-and-so has the ability to be a really good player.”

Well it just isn't good enough. We've got to get rid of those players whose only saving grace is the effort they put in, and it's also time to say cheerio to those who put in a decent shift only once in a blue moon.

How many of this year's team would have got into our 2003-04 championship-winning side?

Forget Darren Huckerby and Adam Drury because they were there anyway. Perhaps Dion Dublin, Jason Shackell, Youssef Safri (if fit), Chris Martin and Simon Lappin would have played a part, but I doubt whether any of them would have been first choices.

Admittedly, that 2003-04 team was the best side we have had for a long time, and perhaps it's unfair to compare everything that has happened since then with that campaign.

But when you compare our squad of today with our squad of just three years ago, it says it all. And that is why the pressure is now on Grant.

He has picked up the mess left by Nigel Worthington and made some improvements, and things are certainly on the up. But next year it will no longer be Worthington's team - it will be Grant's. The buck will stop with him.

Grant has rightly set his standards high but he'll have to work blinking hard to achieve his aim.

At least things have been made easier for him by the arrival on the board of Andrew and Sharon Turner and - more importantly - their millions.

We've yet to see whether the £2m interest-free loan the couple gave the club this week is the start of a regular flow of money into the Carrow Road coffers. Having said that, over the past few days I've been left a little confused as to whether we actually needed the money.

Last week, chairman Roger Munby - speaking before the announcement of the Turners' arrival - set the scene for this summer and next season, and was quite clear that money wasn't everything.

“In anybody's book, in the Football League, the Championship, Leagues One and Two, money doesn't necessarily buy success. It does in the Premier League, with the correlation between the biggest spenders and coming top or second a perfect one. It is not the case in this league,” he said.

“What counts in this league is to be cleverer and I think we can be cleverer. We have the management talent, we also have the administrative talent to be cleverer than most.”

By this time I was losing the plot a little bit. I don't quite know what Munby was talking about.

Nor, by the sound of it, did Grant, because a couple of days later the manager said: “Look at the teams that have been successful - look at their bench and they'd be in my first team. The money is coming to the top again, even in this league.”

So money IS king, after all, it seems.

Meanwhile, Munby also spoke about “clarity, confidence, feeling that you are permanently upwardly mobile and taking every step possible to be cleverer and understand the nature of the budget, being in control of things”.

And then he added: “It is management, it is grip, it is certainty, it is confidence, and amongst many things that struck me this season which translates into the future is the amazing support that fans, this community of fans, have given the club, as if to say, 'We are with you, this is a participative venture, and providing you put in, you the club put in all the effort and commitment you should, we are with you'.”

I've no idea what half of that means, but the bit about the fans started to wind me up a little.

I appreciate Munby meant well and there's no doubt his gratitude to the supporters is sincere, but surely I can't be the only one getting a little bit frustrated by the constant kind words that are showered on us?

Please stop telling us how amazing the fans are. I'm genuinely chuffed that you think we're wonderful, and I expect the other 25,000 regulars are equally humbled by the praise, too.

We keep being told that we are brilliant and that we deserve better. Well, now it's time to deliver. Let's have a little less of the mutual appreciation and let's start seeing some of what we keep being told we deserve.

We've all heard plenty, thank you very much, about statistics on how relegated teams never go back up straightaway - interesting to note that this season at least two clubs, if not all three, will do just that.

The soundbites used to focus on how we needed to follow the Charlton model. After three managers in a season and now relegation from the Premiership, the Charlton comparison has dried up and Reading now seem to be the team we need to follow.

But let's not bother. Forget Charlton, forget Reading, forget how amazing our support is. Just focus on Peter Grant and his team.

All we care about are the results on the pitch. We don't care about anything else.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus