Delia calls for infinite patience’

PUBLISHED: 08:28 03 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:11 14 September 2010

STEVE DOWNES

A candid Nigel Worthington came out fighting last night as frustrated Canaries fans questioned his ability and criticised many of his signings.

A candid Nigel Worthington came out fighting last night as frustrated Canaries fans questioned his ability and criticised many of his signings.

The Norwich City manager revealed that Damien Francis had “walked off the training ground when he wanted to” at the end of his time at Carrow Road.

And he hinted that Paul McVeigh's recent improved performances had coincided with his need to secure a new contract - at Norwich or elsewhere.

Worthington revealed that the club had seen 85 injuries since the start of this season - compared with 22 in the 2003/4 promotion push.

He was speaking at a “Meet the Board” event at Sheringham Little Theatre - where around 120 fans questioned the likes of joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones and chairman Roger Munby.

The first question, to Delia, was from a woman who said the team was “mediocre”. She said: “Are you prepared to make the necessary changes to the management team?”

The celebrity chef called for “infinite patience”, to allow the new signings to adjust.

Another fan, Mike Holmes, said new £2.75m signing Robert Earnshaw was a “journeyman with modest ability”.

Worthington said: “If you can find me a few more journeymen with Robert Earnshaw's goals record at this level for £2.75m, tell me and I'll buy them.”

Supporter Rod Steward said: “Nigel said 'judge me on the team I build'. If this is the best team he can build, I don't see much of a future for Norwich City.”

Delia revealed that Worthington had once tried to sign Steve Sidwell, who is currently at the heart of a Reading side which is storming to the Premiership.

But the most interesting revelations came from the manager, who said: “I spent every day for five weeks telling Damien Francis that he was under contract and couldn't go.

“He turned up for the first two weeks on pre-season and trained well. Then he became disruptive, walked off when he wanted to and became a distraction to the group.”

He also revealed that City's attempt to sign Calum Davenport from Spurs a few weeks ago had ended when the Londoners quoted a price of £3m.

But he was rather less complimentary about one of the fans' favourites, Paul McVeigh, currently the team's form player.

He said: “He doesn't do it often enough. I would probably do it consistently at the moment if my contract was coming to an end. I'd want a new contract - here or somewhere else.”

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