What would it take for the board to lose faith in Canaries’ boss Alex Neil?
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil is not a bad manager.
You don't take a fractured, underachieving squad, just as he did in 2015, and turn them into a promotion-winning side within six months.
To unite that group of players as quickly as he did took excellent man-management skills. They took on board his instructions and put them into practice, culminating in that day at Wembley. The problem for Neil and City is, the players don't seem to be listening any more.
Neil said last summer, when the majority of fans wanted him to stay, that he had to decide whether he still had a voice, and ideas, that players felt is worth listening to.
The evidence that he doesn't has continually grown throughout the course of this Championship season and that's where the frustration lies for supporters.
If fans can see Neil has presided over, and moulded, a squad that isn't fit for Championship purpose then why can't the board?
Some commentators have praised the way the board have stuck by their man but this experiment in loyalty has run its course for most Norwich fans.
- 1 Norfolk beach named among UK's most contaminated
- 2 Revealed: Buyer of Norwich Airport Industrial Estate - and what they paid
- 3 New reservoir could secure region's water supply - but will cost over £1bn
- 4 Overnight works on stretch of A47 prompt 50-mile diversion for two weeks
- 5 Neighbours describe axe brawl in Norfolk village
- 6 A-levels 2022: All the results from Norfolk and Waveney
- 7 Man in his 20s dies after hit-and-run
- 8 Crews battle overnight house fire in north Norfolk
- 9 Several roads closed in King's Lynn due to crash and police incident
- 10 Man in 20s killed and another seriously injured in motorbike crash
Bringing on a defender for an attacker at a side that hasn't won since the start of December speaks volumes about how Neil has lost his way.
He is frustrated – his looser language in press conferences recently shows just how angry he is with the world. The big question is what it would take for the board to put Neil out of his misery?
Norwich have had better opportunities than this to sack him, particularly during the maelstrom of a run of eight defeats in 10 at the end of last year.
But the truth is that he still retains the faith of the board and they think it is the playing staff that needs to change rather than Neil himself. It's a massive risk and it remains to be seen whether Neil can even limp through to the summer to start making those changes. Many more results like they had at Sheffield Wednesday and the board would have to act.
Neil has lost the supporters, but from the noises coming out of Carrow Road, he hasn't lost the faith of the City hierarchy – he has the patience of the owners, but not of the fans.
Ten games remain and whilst Norwich's promotion hopes can't be saved, they could go a long way to determining Neil's future.