Players must share the blame - Fleming

PUBLISHED: 12:33 03 October 2006 | UPDATED: 09:42 14 September 2010

City club captain Craig Fleming paid his own tribute to sacked boss Nigel Worthington and insisted: "The players must take their share of the blame." The 34-year-old defender, one of only two senior players to have been in the first-team squad throughout Worthington's reign as manager, admitted Sunday evening's announcement was not a total surprise, but said the Canaries' current slump was not the fault of one man.

City club captain Craig Fleming paid his own tribute to sacked boss Nigel Worthington and insisted: “The players must take their share of the blame.”

The 34-year-old defender, one of only two senior players to have been in the first-team squad throughout Worthington's reign as manager, admitted Sunday evening's announcement was not a total surprise, but said the Canaries' current slump was not the fault of one man.

He said: “It didn't come as a shock but it was still a shame. Nigel is a decent chap, one of the good guys in football.

“But that's football. It isn't always nice, you have good times and bad times.

“There was a lot of flak flying around. I think we've got to take our fair share of the blame. Nobody is blameless.

“It's human nature that people shout things at the manager when you play poorly and he took that off the players, but it's the fault of everybody concerned, not just Nigel's fault. We have got to look at ourselves and take our share.”

Fleming, who was player of the year in City's Nationwide League title-winning season in 2003-04, recalled how Worthington turned City's fortunes round after taking over from Bryan Hamilton.

He said: “Nigel took over at a very difficult time. If you look back to where the club was, we were fighting to stave off relegation that season. Brian McGovern scored a goal at Tranmere to give us a 1-0 win and it steered us to safety.

“From a team that was struggling, we came within a whisker of winning the play-off final the next season, which was a magnificent achievement in his first full season in charge.

“Expectation was sky-high the next season and we finished eighth, which was no disgrace, but the next year we won the league, which has to be the highlight not just for Nigel but for everyone involved at the club.”

Now first team coach Martin Hunter has caretaker control of the side, with City next in action at Queen's Park Rangers on Saturday week.

Said Fleming: “Martin's a good honest guy, a good coach. We've got a little break now, so we've got to pick ourselves up before we play Queen's Park Rangers and try to get a bit of a run going.

“We have to be looking to improve our league position. The silly thing is the league is still very close and had we won on Sunday we would have been four points off second place. That's how quickly it can change at the moment.”

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