Carrow Road top brass call for unity

PUBLISHED: 08:28 01 December 2006 | UPDATED: 09:52 14 September 2010

Norwich City chief executive Neil Doncaster called today for a return to the “unity between club and supporters” of the promotion season in 2003/4. And club chairman Roger Munby said the last season had been the “most difficult 12 months” in the last 10 years of the club.

Norwich City chief executive Neil Doncaster called today for a return to the “unity between club and supporters” of the promotion season in 2003/4.

And club chairman Roger Munby said the last season had been the “most difficult 12 months” in the last 10 years of the club.

He called for the club to be “better, more clever, more competitive” - and “more single-mindedly focussed on entertaining and winning at football”.

Writing in the club's annual accounts, Doncaster said last season would be remembered “more for discord and discontent” than performances on the pitch as he looked back at a turbulent couple of years at Carrow Road.

He said: “A combination of injuries, unsettled players who wanted to transfer to Premiership clubs, inconsistent form, a loss of confidence and, above all, the loss of momentum and morale that accompanied relegation - all this, against a background of huge expectation, conspired against us.”

Last season saw high hopes of an immediate return to the Premiership swiftly snuffed out by a poor start to the campaign.

A run of five straight wins in December soon petered out, and performances on the pitch were overshadowed by the saga of star striker Dean Ashton's on-off departure - which eventually came when he moved to West Ham for £7.25m.

As the season deteriorated, a growing number of fans called for manager Nigel Worthington's head - a result that finally came in October this year after the team picked up one point in five games.

The appointment of Peter Grant as the new boss has seen an improved run of results, but the fans are still smarting from his assertion that their lack of noise during the recent 1-1 home draw with Hull City was “a disgrace”.

Doncaster's call for unity continued as he said: “The club holds a cherished place in the heart of the people of East Anglia. Carrow Road is iconic.

“But with this status comes responsibility - a responsibility to conduct ourselves with dignity, integrity and honesty; to play a full part in the life of Norwich and Norfolk; to act in a way entirely consistent with our values of family and community in everything we do.”

In his foreword to the accounts, chairman Roger Munby said: “It has been hard to dispel the feeling that we have lived through one of the most difficult 12 months in the 10-year history of the current board.”

He pointed out that the six clubs relegated from the Premiership in 2003/4 and 2004/5 - when City were demoted - were all still “scattered across the Championship today”.

He added: “The board frequently debated our team's performance and resolved continuity with a management team that had narrowly failed to secure Premiership survival.

“The five consecutive victories in December encouraged a belief that the relegation impact was over and we could now progress.

“That we are in good company in failing to return to the Premiership is no consolation to many of our fans.”

Munby said the club was “at a crossroads” as it sought to get back to the top flight before the end of the £7m parachute payments, and added: “We have to organise ourselves to compete at the top of the Championship with costs that do not impair our long-term security should we fail to win promotion.”

He said the club was “in a strong position to compete”.

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