Alex Neil reveals he took a pay cut to lead Norwich City’s Championship fightback

Norwich Manager Alex Neil before the Sky Bet Championship match at the Madejski Stadium, ReadingPict

Norwich Manager Alex Neil before the Sky Bet Championship match at the Madejski Stadium, ReadingPicture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 64026726/12/2016 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil insisted he took a pay cut after Norwich City were relegated from the Premier League - in response to national media speculation he struck a bumper, new Carrow Road deal last summer.

Neil refused to be drawn on the back page story in Friday's Sun newspaper stating he is in line for a £2m pay-off if the Canaries' top brass opt to dismiss the Scot following the club's Championship downturn.

The report claimed chairman Ed Balls had struck a 'secret deal' to keep Neil in Norfolk, following on from the improved contract the 35-year-old penned the previous summer after guiding Norwich to the top flight.

'I have never spoken about players' contracts so I will not speak about my contract because there is a national newspaper article out there,' he said, speaking at Colney on Friday afternoon. 'The one thing I will say is when we came down, the players, staff, pretty much everybody who works for the club took a wage cut. That is obvious when you have not delivered your goals and gone down a division in this business. Everybody's money has dropped and rightly so.

'I don't think there is any question (the timing) doesn't help, a bit like a guy burying his head in the sand. That doesn't help either. Listen, I am not complaining about that. I am a realist. The last thing I do is sit here and come up with excuses or try to blame anyone else. Far from it.'

The under-pressure City manager was publicly backed by chief executive Jez Moxey during the build up to Saturday's New Year's Eve trip to Brentford. Moxey claimed the situation was far more 'complex' than simply firing Neil, but the Scot on Friday afternoon dismissed the suggestion that is down to his reported pay-off.

'Relieving me of my position is not going to solve all the issues the club has got,' he said. 'The fact is we came down from the Premier League and that carries its own burden. We have a lot of players on considerable contracts for the level we are operating at and if we don't get back up that becomes a bigger problem. I think by dealing with one issue, which people would deem to be me, all those other problems don't disappear. I think that is what Jez was referring to.'

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Neil was also adamant Moxey's public declaration does not alter his position.

'It has certainly not been done for my benefit,' said Neil. 'I don't think he has come out to tell me anything because I know the situation. I think it has been done because people have questions, the local press want to know what is going on. He felt the need to come out and say something. I am not suggesting they shouldn't have done it. Everyone now knows where we stand, which was the same beforehand. Everything remains the same. I need to win the next game, then move on and win the one after that. That has always been the case and will continue to be. That is football. Whether you win five in a row or lose five in a row, it is always the next one. All that happens is the longer you go without winning that pressure grows.

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'Contrary to suggestions in the local media I don't bury my head in the sand. I know it is unacceptable. I can assure you I feel that more than anyone else because I am a winner. I want to win games. I am frustrated and unhappy at this run but I will continue to work hard. The only thing that will change what the supporters think is if we go on a good run. That is the only thing. Anything else doesn't make any difference.'

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