Norwich City: Why we fired Bryan Gunn

PUBLISHED: 08:23 11 September 2009 | UPDATED: 16:29 10 September 2010

Canaries chief executive David McNally has spoken for the first time of the "fundamental" weaknesses behind the controversial sacking of Bryan Gunn.

City have come under fire over their treatment of the club legend, whose tenure as boss was ended after just one league game - the 7-1 loss at home to Colchester on the opening day.

Canaries chief executive David McNally has spoken for the first time of the “fundamental” weaknesses behind the controversial sacking of Bryan Gunn.

City have come under fire over their treatment of the club legend, whose tenure as boss was ended after just one league game - the 7-1 loss at home to Colchester on the opening day.

But McNally - speaking last night at his first appearance at a public supporters' forum - said the decision to dismiss Gunn was based on more than the results of the last seven months.

He said there were also major concerns about:

t Preparations for the new season

t Preparation for individual matches

t Post-match assessment

t The pre-game 'behaviour'

Those things, said McNally, were “fundamentally wrong”.

McNally also disputed claims that Gunn - sacked before a game at Exeter on August 15 - had been treated shabbily.

“We had a board meeting on the Thursday and we discussed Bryan Gunn's abilities as manager,” he said. “The decision was taken late into the night and once that decision was made you have to get on with it and put measures into place to ensure that action is taken.

“I did not phone him and tell him of the decision, I flew down to Exeter. I did not haul him off the training ground. I asked for a private meeting and we discussed man-to-man, eye-to-eye what we needed to do.

“Those discussions are never nice, but it was certainly dignified and respectful and something that had to be done.

“I would have preferred not to have done it. The easiest thing in the world for me to have done was not to have done it and not to have said to the board, 'this is what you need to do'.

“I could not do that for this great football club. Whilst I am here I will care passionately about doing the right thing because this club deserves better than it has received in the last four years.

“It doesn't change the fact that Bryan is and always will be a legend, but things were fundamentally wrong, and that just has to be said.”

McNally defended the decision to allow Gunn to spend money on new signings during the summer.

“We back our football manager, whoever he is at that time,” he said. “He is the guy who is ultimately responsible for what happens on the pitch so we have to give him the tools.”

Paul Lambert came in to replace Gunn, below, a little over three weeks ago, although the dispute over the way City tempted him to Carrow Road lingers, with the clubs unable to reach a compromise over compensation and the Essex club's chairman calling for a fine and point deduction should Norwich be found guilty of acting against the rules.

But McNally insists he played it by the book.

“It still remains private,” he told members of the Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association. “We are attempting to resolve it as amicably as we can. We did not break any code of conduct, we did not break any rules.

“If we are guilty of anything we are guilty of employing the person we thought was right for the football club and not paying too much attention to the 100-odd applications we received.

“We believe we did things the right way at all times.

“We want this resolved as soon as possible so we can concentrate on other things. Sometimes these things go to tribunal, but if this does we are confident - and don't worry about points.”

McNally also revealed that 90 per cent of his time was currently spent trying to improve the club's finances. “They are not in good shape,” he admitted. “We do need to improve the look of our balance sheet. The debt is making us business weary and we are looking at ways of improving it. If you haven't got it you can't spend it.”

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