Fans warn City bosses to get it right

PUBLISHED: 10:48 11 October 2007 | UPDATED: 10:37 14 September 2010

Norwich City fans today sent out a stark message to the under fire board at Carrow Road - appoint the right man as manager, or risk the wrath of disgruntled supporters.

Norwich City fans today sent out a stark message to the under fire board at Carrow Road - appoint the right man as manager, or risk the wrath of disgruntled supporters.

As the Canaries' hierarchy dismissed reports in national newspapers that majority shareholder Delia Smith is set to sell her £8m stake in the club, fans said the board has some way to go to win back the faith of devoted supporters.

Norwich City supporters woke up yesterday morning to find their club in a similar position to this time last year - managerless - and are now calling for some major investment into the club.

Speculation has been mounting that Norwich City fans Andrew and Sharon Turner, who helped the club out with a £2m loan earlier this year, were about to use money made from their multi-million pound mortgage lending company Central Trust to buy Delia's stake.

But Carrow Road bosses have rubbished that speculation and the focus is currently on finding a new manager to haul the Canaries up the Championship table.

Grant's departure on Tuesday night came less than 24 hours after the Canaries' 1-0 defeat at bottom club Queens Park Rangers - their sixth without a goal - saw them fall even deeper into trouble at the foot of the Championship table.

Fans today said they were looking to the board, which admitted earlier this month, the club was facing an “incredibly tough” future after making a profit of just £90,000, to move the club forward.

City fan Mark Burrows said: “If the board make another Grant-style mistake then the consequences will be dire.

“Their record of getting decisions right is poor so I'm not confident they will get it right this time, especially as their options are limited, and I think relegation is a genuine prospect.”

John Tilson, chairman of Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association (NCISA), said: “We need an experienced man to come in to steady the ship.

“Errors of judgement have been made in the past and I think it will be rash and foolish to bring in a young, inexperienced manager.

“We need someone who's been there and done that. Fans will get behind the team, there's no doubt about that, but I think there's some serious doubt about the ambition the board is showing on the field of play.”

Mark Thorndyke, the man behind the Worthy Out campaign, agreed an experienced person was needed to fill Grant's shoes.

He said: “I think the club should take a leaf out of Grant's book. He's admitted he couldn't do the job and, rightly so, he walked.

“Now it's time for some of the directors to look at themselves. We need a change not just in the manager but also in the backroom and the actual management of the club. We are back to where we were this time last year and it's time for some of the directors to hold their hands up too.”

Dr Ian Gibson, MP for Norwich and City fan, said: “I think the fans have a good idea of ambition and what they want and I think it's time for the board to meet them again and take in their suggestions and ideas to get the man for the job.”

The Canaries have garnered just eight Championship points out of a possible 30; are languishing third from bottom in the table, and have not scored for six matches - a total of 555 minutes.

Kathy Blake, NCISA member said: “The club has had a series of managers that are cheap options. They get away with it for a while, say with Worthington, but not for long. They want the best manager going and I'm afraid Peter Grant wasn't it. It will cost them money, but it will cost them a lot more if they get relegated.”

Charles Clarke, Norwich South MP and City fan, said: “Peter Grant was a highly committed manager for Norwich City Football Club and so I'm sad that he's going. But we have to now find the right person to get the best from what is a very talented squad of players.”

Following Norwich's mid-table position at the end of the last season, Grant saw Canaries' favourite Robert Earnshaw transferred to Derby in the summer, which he said at the time came like a “bolt out of the blue” after it emerged he had a clause in his contract allowing him to join a Premiership club for £3.5m.

Fans were further angered when Dickson Etuhu joined Sunderland for just £1.5m because of a similar clause in his contract.

To help bolster the squad, Grant brought in eight new players, including former Carrow Road favourites Jamie Cureton and Darel Russell, Czech striker David Strihavka and Celtic goalkeeper David Marshall.

But a string of poor results cost Grant dear and he has been replaced in the short-time by assistant manager Jim Duffy while the search for a new boss begins in earnest.

Grant's exit came just days after an Evening News fans' study, which revealed the depth of depression surrounding Carrow Road.

Of the 251 fans surveyed by the Evening News before and after last week's 0-0 draw with Scunthorpe United at Carrow Road, 153 or 61pc said they were “dissatisfied” with the current position the club finds itself in - while 93 or 37pc went as far to say they were “angry”, and 98pc said the club was going in the wrong direction.

Meanwhile, chief executive Neil Doncaster insisted that, despite reports in a national newspaper, Delia, who was not available to comment herself, is not going to sell up. He said: “As far as I'm aware there's absolutely no truth whatsoever in that speculation which, quite frankly, is unhelpful.

“They remain as committed to this football club as they have been for the last 10 years.”

The Evening News tried to contact the Turners, but they were not available.

The club, which is holding its annual meeting next Thursday, has already had a string of potential applicants for the job of manager after Peter Grant's departure from the club, but Mr Doncaster has not predicted when a new gaffer will be appointed.

t Who is in the frame to take over from Grant? See our back pages or visit www.pinkun.com for the latest news.

t How do you feel about the goings-on at Norwich City? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE; e-mail eveningnews letters@archant.co.uk or log on to www.eveningnews24.co.uk/forums

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