Delia's praise misses mark

PUBLISHED: 09:10 19 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:22 14 September 2010

CHRIS LAKEY

Delia Smith has been accused of patronising Norwich City fans after once again describing them as the best in the world - just hours after their biggest show of disapproval against manager Nigel Worthington.

Delia Smith has been accused of patronising Norwich City fans after once again describing them as the best in the world - just hours after their biggest show of disapproval against manager Nigel Worthington.

City's majority shareholder thanked the fans for their support after the second deadline for season ticket renewals on Monday revealed that more than 17,250 fans had opted to keep their seats for next season.

"Despite a disappointing season, our fans remain the best in the world and have shown their support again in the very best way possible," Delia told the club's website. "We would like to pass on our warmest thanks to them."

Delia's ringing endorsement comes to a backdrop that is anything but harmonious. Fans blasted each other's actions during the home win over QPR on Monday - when some fans cheered a goal by the visitors - and later over the internet, with one of the most popular websites calling for Delia to take decisive action - by sacking the manager.

And, far from pouring oil on troubled waters, her comments brought a scathing response from John Tilson, treasurer of the Norwich City Independent Supporters Association.

"We don't want patronising," he said. "We get enough of that. Every now and again we get told we're the best fans in the world but we don't need that, we're sick of it."

Tilson was among a 24,000-plus crowd which witnessed one of the most poisonous and vitriolic atmospheres seen for many years, with Worthington the target.

"I personally think it is a wound that cannot now be healed," added Tilson. "Once that poison gets in to the system it is a job to get it out."

A front-page editorial on www.wrathofthebarclay.co.uk said: "Nigel Worthington's side served up yet another dire performance today but somehow managed to fluke three goals in the space of 10 minutes to beat a QPR side who have now failed to win in nine games.

"Delia Smith can be in no doubt that the majority of fans are sick to the back teeth of Worthington's hoof ball tactics and statuesque players. Does the phrase "pass and move" mean anything to our Nigel?

"For large parts of the game our long suffering fans ironically cheered every pass and booed the aimless hoofs up the pitch.

"If Delia fails to act and then serious questions need to be asked as to whether this middle-aged housewife has the footballing knowledge to run our club or whether she would be better suited to life back in the kitchen.

"We, the fans, are no longer prepared to put up with the pitiful performances and abysmal signings which have come to characterise Norwich City over the past two years."

Jon Day, editor of Y'Army fanzine, said fans were fed up with being short-changed.

"I renewed my season ticket because I support the team, but no necessarily the current set-up," he said.

"The fans aren't saying get rid of Nigel Worthington because they don't like him personally, it's because the football is absolutely dire.

"We just want value for money and it would be nice if there was some admittance of the problem from Delia."

The conundrum is that, despite the problems, Carrow Road will be playing to near full houses next season.

City have maintained their current season ticket cap at 20,096, so with a waiting list that has swelled to 1,700, and another renewal deadline yet to come, there will be few spare seats - irrespective of who is manager.

The first renewal deadline was in the first week of March, when the club was only 700 down on the same stage last season, with 15,500 fans opting to go again.

Of the three deadlines, the first and third are seen as the most vital: the first is the cheapest way to renew while the final deadline is the last chance for the undecided to nail their colours to the mast.

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