Opinion: If Norwich City don’t beat Hull the metaphorical storming of the ramparts will be successful

Chris Hughton looks dejected at the end of Norwich City's FA Cup defeat at Fulham. Picture: Paul Che

Chris Hughton looks dejected at the end of Norwich City's FA Cup defeat at Fulham. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

As Norwich City's unbelievably loyal travelling fans trooped away from Craven Cottage under a heavy west London sky, those of us who chose to watch the latest Canaries submission to Fulham on TV were treated to the most curious of post-match analysis comments.

'Norwich City - are they flattering to deceive?' asked the presenter.

The evidence of the previous 90 minutes at Craven Cottage did little to suggest any sort of flattery. Flat, yes. Flattery, no. Deceiving to flatter more like.

But one curiosity of another appalling trip to Fulham was the reaction towards the players from the travelling fans. The players applauded them for their support; the fans responded in kind.

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There are some who will lay the blame for City's current malaise at the feet of the players; others who will apportion blame on manager Chris Hughton; others who will look to the very top and ask what the board of directors are doing about it.

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But there is a growing sense that the 'blame graph' is showing a steep rise under the name of Hughton. And it is hard to argue.

He is the man who selects the team, he is the man who decides tactics, he is the man who is responsible for the decisions that help win games. Therefore, he is the man responsible for the defeats.

And he, effectively, stands alone. You can't sack all the players and ask a new bunch to go out and win. And you can't sack the executive; they own the club, they make the decisions. And the decision they face is black and white: stick or twist.

Both are risky.

Stick and you have to hope that things improve under a management that just isn't getting results. And that could lead to relegation.

Twist and you have to hope that a new man can improve the team. And of that there is no guarantee.

You also have to consider who replaces Hughton. There are a hundred names being bandied about, pros and cons with them all.

Behind it all there are the supporters, the ones who pay for the currently dubious privilege of watching Norwich City play. And you don't have to be a statistical analyst to work out their feelings on the matter, even taking into account the historical fact that it is usually the objectors, the demonstrators, the revolutionists who raise their voices the loudest.

Sometimes they win – and if Norwich don't beat Hull on Saturday, you have a feeling that the metaphorical storming of the ramparts will be successful.

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