ALEX NEIL SACKED: Ed Balls praises Alex Neil’s ‘dignified’ reaction to sacking at event

PUBLISHED: 09:18 11 March 2017 | UPDATED: 17:47 11 March 2017

Norwich City chairman Ed Balls. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Norwich City chairman Ed Balls. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire

PA Wire

Norwich City chairman Ed Balls praised Alex Neil’s dignified response to the sacking, a fan has said.

Alex Neil has been sacked as Norwich City manager. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdAlex Neil has been sacked as Norwich City manager. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Stewart Lewis attended the Evening with Ed Balls event at Carrow Road on Friday night, which had been due to feature key moments of the Strictly Come Dancing contestant’s life and work.

But with the news that Neil had been sacked emerging just moments before, the focus turned to the board’s reasoning in the first of four question and answer sessions.

Norwich City fan Mr Lewis said Balls - who had arrived straight from the board meeting - praised Neil’s reaction to the decision.

MORE: Alex Neil sacked by Norwich City

“Ed was at pains to say that when they told Alex Neil, he was completely professional and dignified,” he said. “Ed said that ‘if I had respect for Alex before, which I did, then I have even more now’.”

He said the chairman was quickly asked to explain the board’s timing.

“He was much more forthcoming than I thought he would probably be,” he said. “He told us the board reviewed the situation in December and they were swayed by two things - firstly, he still seemed to have that drive and purpose and, secondly, that it was during the second half of the season that he led the charge and got us promoted, so they hoped he could do the same again.

MORE: Alan Pardew could fit the bill at Norwich City

“Ed really down played the money side of it and said money had no part in the decision, but that it was recent performances that influenced it, particularly at Burton and Sheffield Wednesday.”

And when asked about the odd timing of the news - the Scotsman had held a press conference detailing his future plans earlier on Friday - Mr Lewis said that was a key question for the audience.

“Ed said there was no intention for it to be any slight on Alex Neil,” he said. “The board meeting was long scheduled for 2pm and it was just unfortunate that he was giving a press conference at the same time.

MORE: “It is very bad timing” - evening with City chairman Ed Balls goes ahead after Alex Neil sacking

“I got the impression that nobody knew he was going to talk about his summer plans.”

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