Norwich City’s players have left supporters feeling short-changed
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
After 36 games Norwich City have got the eighth best squad of players in the Championship.
Billed as promotion favourites alongside Newcastle, this wasn't how this season was supposed to work out.
With 10 matches remaining the Canaries are effectively out of the running for promotion. Much of the blame has been placed on Alex Neil by supporters but City's playing staff are hardly exempt.
Neil managed to retain the bulk of the squad that came down from the Premier League and they have let both the manager and supporters down.
The Canaries have got an ageing squad, Neil admitted as much before the draw at Bristol City, but the experience that comes with hasn't made the difference this season. They have failed to adjust to the culture shock of coming down from the top flight to the hurly burly of the Championship and will spend the next 15 months, at least, in the second tier.
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When the going gets really tough, particularly away from home, you have no confidence that this group of players has the backbone to hold out.
There is still quality – there are few better midfielders than Jonny Howson in the Championship whilst the Murphys have the kind of dynamism that gets fans excited.
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But since that downturn towards the end of 2016 City have never truly convinced they could repeat their 2015 heroics through the play-offs. With the money that has been committed to this set of players, fans have every right to feel short changed.
Neil has been unable to galvanise a reaction in the way he did upon his initial arrival and the question has to be asked whether the players are still listening to him?
Cameron Jerome spoke of a lack of respect from the players towards each other and the manager and that lack of unity has undermined the club's campaign.
Big changes lie ahead on the playing front regardless of who is manager. The club will be keen to move out high earners as they adjust to an extended stay in the second tier.
A changing of the guard will be on the agenda and the likes of James Maddison, Ben Godfrey and of course the Murphys could be entrusted to lead the charge back to the Promised Land.