ALEX NEIL SACKED: So where did it all go wrong?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Why did it go wrong? Apart from results?
Selling the likes of Bradley Johnson and maybe even Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe. Then Martin Olsson became the first of January's crown jewels to go, soon followed by Robbie Brady – and that doesn't sit well with a squad who could perhaps see the writing on the wall from a different angle to the rest of us.
Bringing in Steven Naismith – that hasn't really worked – and signing Sergi Canos but not playing him, Alex Pritchard, who we have seen in fits and starts, allowing James Maddison to go out on loan, ditto Harry Toffolo… at a time when with Olsson on the way and Robbie Brady suspended, he had to play Steven Whittaker at left back at Rotherham. That is not good planning.
Signing too many midfielders when in fact the young ones were already on the books.
And unless there is a back story we really ought to know, not doing anything decisive with Kyle Lafferty. Either sell him or play him.
Not knowing who his best goalkeeper is – trying to improve that position didn't work when he brought in Michael McGovern, who is simply not better than John Ruddy. Then he dropped Ruddy. Twice.
Missing out on transfer targets perhaps? Ross McCormack, Britt Assombalonga, Dwight Gayle were all fancied, but none came. You wonder why.
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Inexperience: From Hamilton to Norwich is an awful long way for a manager and his assistant.
Both must have thought they'd picked up Aladdin's magic skills, but the job was too big.
And not only was Neil inexperienced, he wasn't much older than some of his playing staff.
I heard this week of players suggesting Neil's man management was not up to scratch. If that is the case, then senior players would have jumped all over the rocking ship.
When Paul Lambert was in charge, the squad could look at a great ex-player, with a European champions' medal in his cabinet.
With Neil, they had a former Mansfield and Barnsley player who was perhaps no better than any of them – certainly not when it came to playing the game.
No wonder there were reports of some senior players believing he wasn't up to scratch.