Storm had been brewing for a while
STEVE DOWNES The dark clouds and thunderbolts arrived midway through the second half at Carrow Road yesterday. But the dark foreboding mood gripped the fans long before Burnley twisted the knife by delivering home humiliation at a depth unplumbed for years.
The dark clouds and thunderbolts arrived midway through the second half at Carrow Road yesterday.
But the dark foreboding mood gripped the fans long before Burnley twisted the knife by delivering home humiliation at a depth unplumbed for years.
As subdued supporters gathered for the Sunday lunchtime clash, all the talk was of whether City boss Nigel Worthington should stay or go. Fans were declaring their allegiances - are you with Worthy or without?
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For the 150-plus fans who congregated outside the City Stand for a pre-match protest, the answer was clear - “we want Worthy out”.
Few could have believed that they would get their wish so soon, or so spectacularly.
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Before the game, they were certainly hoping.
Warren Bowers, 16, from Thetford, said: “I think Worthy should go. He's taken the club forward but he's let us down with his signings.”
Steven Balls and George Hudson, both 16, from Martham, said: “We just want him out. We think the club needs a change. It's been five years and we haven't gone anywhere. Hopefully the protests will either get him and the players motivated or he'll go.”
Robert Romans, 19, from Reading, said: “I think he's got to go now if he wants to have any dignity. It's been dragging on for too long. At the moment we are dying a very drawn out death. He needs to go now to save the club.”
Stuart Savage, 54, from Norwich, said: “The reason I'm involved in the protest is because I think Worthington can't take the club any further. Another season and he will take us to another division - League One.”
As the (mis)match unfolded inside the ground, supporters swung from bemused silence to sporadic attempts to rouse the players to increasingly angry chants aimed at Worthington.
Many of the fans may never admit it, but there was even a sense that some were secretly pleased as Gary Doherty got sent off for a try-saving tackle and Burnley dodged the lightning to storm to a 4-1 victory.
After all, the deeper the humiliation, the greater the chance of their nemesis being given the heave-ho. Such thoughts, if indeed they were being nurtured, were prophetic.
Not surprisingly, the size of the pre-match protest doubled after the debacle.
By now, frustration had given way to the sort of venomous anger that football can bring out.
As he listened to the “we want Worthy on the dole” chants, the then City boss may have allowed himself a wry smile when another storm broke out and the heavens opened - soaking the protesters to the skin.
Sadly for him, though, the rain never looked likely to wash them away. Instead, the tide of public opinion swept him over the edge, clutching his P45 and some mixed memories.