Hundreds join protest

PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 March 2006 | UPDATED: 09:14 14 September 2010

Pressure was today mounting on Nigel Worthington after 500 angry fans packed a public meeting to demand his sacking. Following the emotionally-charged meeting at St Andrew's Hall, staged by the influential Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association (NCISA), other groups followed suit in calling for the Canary boss's head.

Pressure was today mounting on Norwich City boss Nigel Worthington after 500 angry fans packed a public meeting to demand his sacking.

Following last night's emotionally-charged meeting at St Andrew's Hall, staged by the influential Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association (NCISA), other groups followed suit in calling for the Canary boss's head.

Fans today revealed their next move in trying to topple Worthington and pledged a series of protests, including selling their shares in the club, boycotting matches and refusing to renew their season tickets for next season unless a new man is in charge at Carrow Road.

Today, Neil Doncaster, the club's chief executive, refused to speculate on whether Worthington would still be the boss come the start of next season, but admitted the club was well aware of the anger among supporters.

He said: “I have learnt in the nine years that I have been at this football club not to make predictions. It is quite a rash thing to do.

“I think the meeting reflects how disappointed everyone, including the supporters, director and manager is with the performances this season.

“As a club we continue to review everything on a daily basis.

“There's never a situation where we don't react to change; we react to the kaleidoscope of issues that is football.

“We recognise the strength of feeling that exists among supporters.

“We get a wide range of views expressed to us by all of the supporters we consult with, and we take all those into account.

“Personally, I have never claimed that it was only a minority of fans that feel this way.”

As well as wanting Worthington sacked, the majority of the crowd at last night's meeting criticised the club's coaching team and called for more young players to be brought up from the academy, rather than splashing out on players whose hearts they said were not in the game.

Richard Matthews, 54, from Langley Walk, Norwich, said: “We've got a good side on paper but we have ended up battling against relegation. All I can think of is that somewhere along the line Worthington has lost faith in the players and now we need to get someone else.”

Nick South, 42, a DJ from Bowers Avenue, Mile Cross, said: “Worthington has had his day. We need to bring in someone new now so that we can start to look ahead to next season. I don't think anyone here can see him surviving so he should go now with some dignity.”

Jason MacDonald, 24, who works for Tesco and lives in Ipswich Road, Tuckswood, said: “Worthington has never been a good manager. He was a lucky one for a while but now his luck has run out.”

Lisa Quattromini, a supporter in her mid thirties, said: “The game used to be really exciting but now the heart has gone out of the team. I think we should keep the players that care about the team with heart and passion. The future of this team is in the young boys in the academy.”

Plans to make the supporters' voices heard by the board included not going to away games, not buying programmes, withdrawing shares, not buying season tickets, carrying out polls and petitions at games, and waving white handkerchiefs at half time. However, there were fears that a lack of support would affect the team more than those in charge.

Roy Blower, chairman of the NCISA who will be meeting with Canaries chairman Roger Munby on Monday to discuss the situation, said: “More people turned out for this meeting than for the one regarding Robert Chase. I think we need to acknowledge that sometimes in life things change. I would wish Nigel every success in the future, but I think he has come to the end of his tenure at this football club.”

Mr Blower said he thought it would be a good idea if fans held up a white handkerchief at half-time in Saturday's game to show their disapproval for the manager.

Tim Amphlett, who runs the Yarmouth Yellows supporters' group, was one of almost 500 fans at last night's meeting.

“It was a good meeting,” he said. “I don't think we're in the minority - the majority of fans have just lost patience now. Personally I can't see him going and nothing will happen to the end of the season but people are so frustrated they've got to vent their feelings in some way.”

Mr Amphlett said City under Worthington went into the Premiership with the wrong attitude and that things have gone from bad to worse this season.

“He doesn't seem to be able to motivate the team,” said Mr Amphlett. “I think Worthington is a stubborn bloke who has dug his heels in and has said to himself I'm going to turn this around, but he's not.” Mr Amphlett said he would be planning to take part in some form of protest in tomorrow's game at home to Stoke.

Alex Warren, from the Waveney Yellows supporters' group, said he was pro-Worthington at the start of the season, but has been “worn down” by the poor performances this season.

“History will tell us that he was a good manager because of his record, but it's not going to help us at this time,” he said. “He did achieve and get results in the past, but hasn't every manager got a shelf life and maybe his has expired.”

Mr Warren said although he was not a fan of protests he was not happy with the current situation and felt it was time for change.

Paul Webster, chairman of London supporters' group Capital Canaries, said: “I think a change in management is the feeling the majority of fans have now.”

Michael Wynn Jones, the club's joint majority shareholder, said: “I have no comment to make on it. Presumably the people involved with this meeting will get in touch with me, and if and when they do, I will react to it.”

* A protest against Nigel Worthington is due to take place at 2pm tomorrow before the clash with Stoke, outside the swimming pool at Riverside.

* Do you think Norwich City need a new manager? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk or visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/forums

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