'Surgeon' Glenn shows how ruthless he can be

PUBLISHED: 10:10 16 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:35 10 September 2010

Glenn Roeder has continued his ruthless pruning of his Carrow Road staff – on and now off the field. Picture: Bill Smith

Glenn Roeder has continued his ruthless pruning of his Carrow Road staff – on and now off the field. Picture: Bill Smith

Chris Lakey

When Glenn Roeder said Norwich City needed "major surgery" no one realised just how cold and steely the knife would be. A week ago, it was Darren Huckerby who, without fanfare, was told he was surplus to requirements.

When Glenn Roeder said Norwich City needed "major surgery" no one realised just how cold and steely the knife would be.

A week ago, it was Darren Huckerby who, without fanfare, was told he was surplus to requirements. The opportunity for an emotional farewell to his army of fans was not even in Roeder's mind. It was business, simple as that.

Huckerby was one of nine players shown the door.

This week, they have been joined by four backroom staff - one of whom resigned - and with rumours of more to follow, leaving Roeder hunting not just for senior players to boost his skeleton squad, but a whole host of support staff as well.

Roeder already had a goalkeeping coach on his shopping list, following the sudden departure of the highly-rated James Hollman - and replacement Stuart Murdoch's U-turn just a week after taking over in January.

City legend Bryan Gunn donned the goalkeeping gloves and has been doing the job since - pretty well according to Roeder. But not well enough to keep it - Roeder has made it clear he is looking for a new face for next season.

Huckerby gone, Gunn facing, arguably, an uncertain future - clearly, there is little room for sentiment in Roeder's professional life.

Informing Peter Shaw, Rod Dyer and Neil Adams that their services would no longer be required would have been a perfunctory task. Business is business and reputations count for nothing.

Adams has been at the Academy since 2001, and it's his departure that is the really interesting one because it would appear to be the result of a bit of a spat between the two earlier this year. Adams, when asked his views on Huckerby's omission from the team, was quoted as saying he would play him. However, his clearly-stated rider was that Roeder's record in leading City out of the relegation zone could not be argued with.

"It is not me saying that he should have played - because results show that the manager has got it right," said Adams. "I am a big fan of Huckerby's, but it's results that count and it's results that the manager has got."

Nothing exceptional in that, you would think: asking opinions of former pros now working in the media is the sort of thing that newspapers up and down the land do all the time.

But Roeder took exception and, without naming Adams, made it clear that he believed there were some people trying to drive a wedge between him and Huckerby.

Without prompting, Roeder said: "What I don't like is the way people in and around the club have tried to say there is a problem between the two of us. He has gone out of his way to say there isn't. I have gone out of my way - although I don't feel I have to go out of my way - to say there isn't.

"And yet these nasty, irritating people that try and cause confrontation between myself and a player, between myself and supporters, are just bad people.

"They are people who will never manage a football club, they have little idea of managing a football club and yet they have a voice that reaches our supporters. Me and Huckerby get on very well. I don't have favourites, I don't do favourites. I pick the best team and at the end of the day it is my call.

"It is easy being a manager when you are one of 25,000 sitting in the stand or if you are an ex-player who is now working for the media who will never manage anything better than an under-10 team, thinking he knows best - and you know what I'm talking about, and I will deal with that, trust me. I'm a nice bloke, but not always."

No names mentioned - but it was obvious to all and sundry to whom the manager was referring. Adams' card had been marked.

Those fans who accuse Roeder of being insensitive over the Huckerby affair, those who believe he was wrong to criticise Adams, those who feel sorry for axed players and staff may have valid arguments, but Norwich City Football Club is changing.

The "soft underbelly" is seemingly being roughed up and toughened to repel the Saturday afternoon invaders who come to Carrow Road once a fortnight and think City are a soft touch.

Norwich City is a family club, always has been and probably always will be. But could that be its failing? That could be why, apart from a couple of seasons, Norwich City have done nothing for a decade. Why, when City did get to the Premiership, they were bottom of the table, but at the other end in the Fair Play league.

Nowadays, the atmosphere at City's Colney training centre is changing: old faces who used to turn up at regular intervals are now not asked how they are, how's the new job, how's retirement, how's their luck? Now they're asked what their business is, what do they want?

Roeder works alone in his office, the door closed. It's a place for business, not pleasure.

Perhaps Roeder has seen that a bit of Costa Del Colney remains.

Maybe he's not being brutal at all, he's just being sensible, calculated, realistic. Perhaps Norwich City has been too soft for too long.

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