Make it a Carrow Road cauldron - Grant
CHRIS LAKEY Under-fire Canaries boss Peter Grant has called on Norwich City fans to turn Carrow Road into a cauldron for visiting teams.
Under-fire Canaries boss Peter Grant has called on Norwich City fans to turn Carrow Road into a cauldron for visiting teams.
Grant faces angry fans tonight just three days after stunning outburst at the weekend when he accused them of failing to help his team “over the line” in the last 15 minutes of Saturday's Championship clash against Hull at Carrow Road.
Grant said it was “a disgrace” that they kept quiet rather than willing their team on and blamed them for the fact that City lost two points to an injury-time equaliser.
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The fiery Scot refused to backtrack and instead urged the fans to make life hell for visitors. “I want them to be coming here and it's a cauldron for them, a place where people say they don't want to be playing Norwich away,” he said.
“And I know this place is capable of that. I know it is, that's one of the reasons I took the job and that's what I think people tend to forget. The things I said when I got the job was the passion and commitment. I think people have thrown that to the back of their mind.”
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The fans will argue that they pay for their tickets and are entitled to voice their opinions if they feel they are not getting value for money.
“Yes, I understand it works both ways 100pc and we have to give them something to scream and shout about on the pitch,” he said. “There is no doubt about that, never get away from that. That is my responsibility to try and do that.”
A few bridges could be mended tonight and Grant had a message for the Carrow Road faithful.
“I want them to come and support the team,” he said. “That's all I want because without them we would be nothing, there's no getting away from that, no matter what club you are. Clubs are nothing without their support and that will never change.
“I expect them to do the full 90 every week, that's the way I want it to be. I want an environment where people come here and don't want to go and play against us out there.
“I want there to be an environment here that is a cauldron for the opposition, there is no doubt in my mind that is what I am trying to build here.”
Grant's rallying call may not be enough to convince some of the fans who have made City one of the best supported clubs outside the Premiership.
Internet message boards were still buzzing as angry fans made their feelings known about his post-match comments and it is clear that Grant will have to undergo a period of rehabilitation with many of the yellow and green faithful.
Grant insists he was concerned only about the final 15 minutes on Saturday when Hull grabbed an equaliser in injury time.
“I felt in that period we definitely needed more help, I genuinely did, but I can't take that back,” he said. “I am sorry about that but I can't take it back. I can't apologise for what I said about the last 15 minutes on Saturday because then it would be going back as if I am telling lies.”
The roots of the problem are inexplicably linked to six days earlier, when City surrendered in the East Anglian derby at Ipswich.
“I'm not stupid, I knew we had let people down last week so I didn't expect that support in that period, but in the period I felt we needed them most I felt they weren't there and that's the point I am trying to get across,” he said.
“And if anybody takes issue with that I am sorry about that, but that's fact. I just felt in that 15 we needed them more than anything.
“I accepted the first 45, start of the second half no problem, because I knew what the spillover was going to be from the Ipswich game, quite rightly so. But I felt there was a period of the game when they could have helped us over the line, like they did when we played Sunderland at home, and we didn't play particularly well, like we did against Cardiff, when we were 1-0 up and playing ever so well in the first half but I thought we were pretty poor in the second half.
“I just felt because it was Hull they thought maybe we didn't need that support.”
Grant's concern is that players are affected by the crowd's reactions.
“The thing that concerns me a little bit, maybe it's creeping in a little bit again because we haven't been performing that great, I am starting to see things that are starting to creep into their games far too often at home that I feel there is a nervousness about them,” he said.
“I definitely felt in that last 15 minutes there was an edginess in us and I felt they were making wrong choices just because of that.”
Grant made his original comments at a post-match press conference and admitted yesterday that his “blood was boiling” over suggestions that Carrow Road was becoming an easy place for teams to visit.