'True fans': Club officials defend Worthy

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City chairman Roger Munby and chief executive Neil Doncaster have defended Nigel Worthington after his comments following the final game of the season against Wolves on Sunday when the manager praised what he described as the “true” fans for showing their support.


Leading Canaries officials have defended Nigel Worthington after his comments following the final game of the season against Wolves on Sunday.

The City boss - under-fire from some quarters throughout much of a disappointing season - joined his players on the traditional lap of honour after the game and received a warm welcome from all sides of a ground, which by then was probably less than half full.

However, in his post-match media interviews Worthington praised what he described as the “true” fans for showing their support - and it is that description which has not gone down at all well with those who want to see a change of management at Carrow Road.

One web site described his remarks as arrogant and invited fans to complete a petition showing their support or opposition for Worthington, while other sites have been inundated with posters criticising the manager.

However, chairman Roger Munby told a fans' forum yesterday that the manager's comments were taken out of context.

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“I can guarantee that whatever the context of that remark there was no sense of being divisive,” said Munby. “It is not in Nigel's heart and soul to say that.”

Chief executive Neil Doncaster said Worthington - and club captain Craig Fleming - regularly praised the fans in their programme notes.

“The support we enjoy is second to none, and Nigel appreciates that better than anyone else,” said Doncaster. “I can assure you, having spoken to Nigel today ands yesterday that he values tremendously the support the squad receives and was quite bowled over by the response around the ground yesterday.

“Headlines in a newspaper do not reflect what Nigel feels.”

However, Worthington's comments had the internet message boards buzzing and by last night well over 100 fans had made their views known on a petition on www.wrathofthebarclay.co.uk, one of the most popular Norwich City fan sites, showing 90pc wanted Worthington out.

Worthington's relationships with some sections of City's support has soured this season, not helped by a home defeat by bitter local rivals Ipswich, which prompted a number of pre-match demonstrations outside the ground. A six-match home unbeaten run, which was ended by Wolves' 2-1 win on Monday, quelled the protests to some extent, but Worthington's comments on Monday have added fuel to the flames.

“The players and management of Norwich City were spared the abuse they deserved during their lap of (dis)honour as the fans chose to applaud them for the efforts at the end of a tough season and not highlight their inept performances with boos,” said a comment on www.wrathofthebarclay.co.uk.

“During a full-time interview Worthington decided to take another swipe at those supports calling for his head by arrogantly claiming the reaction to the lap of (dis)honour showed what the 'true' supporters felt of him and his failing team.

“How many more times must the fans of Norwich City be treated to such arrogant and insulting remarks from a manager whose wages we pay?

“Delia Smith has engineered a situation where the manager can do and say what he likes safe in the knowledge that the board are too inept to sack him for his actions.

“To demonstrate the opinion of the true Norwich City supporters please visit our petition page where you can sign to either support or oppose Nigel Worthington as manager.”