Up for debate

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 March 2006 | UPDATED: 09:14 14 September 2010

Nigel Worthington's future as manager of Norwich City will be the main item on the agenda tonight at a public meeting organised by one of the football club's biggest supporters' organisations.

By CHRIS LAKEY

Nigel Worthington's future as manager of Norwich City will be the main item on the agenda tonight at a public meeting organised by one of the football club's biggest supporters' organisations.

The Norwich City Independent Supporters Association (NCISA) have already issued a public statement calling for Worthington to go after a poor season, and have now taken their concerns one step further.

Chairman Roy Blower insists that their gripe is with the manager and not with the way the football club is run and has asked members of the public not to demonstrate outside St Andrews Hall before or after tonight's meeting.

It was Blower who forked out £440 from his own pocket 10 years ago to hire the same venue to discuss the state of affairs at Carrow Road, then under the regime of chairman Robert Chase.

Blower insists that today's problems are of a very different nature and criticised City's vice-chairman Barry Skipper for linking the two in a radio interview this week.

“We acknowledge we have absolutely no beef with the way the football club is run,” said Blower yesterday. “Comparisons to 96 are very naughty and it's not something that we have ever suggested exists.

“People pay good money to go to football matches and we are trying to give them the opportunity to express where they feel the club is at.”

Blower said that there was an open agenda tonight at which he hoped that those fans who were pro-Worthington would be able to speak freely.

“I am afraid that the vehicle might well go in one direction only but I am also keen to ensure that anyone can say whatever they want to say and everyone will respect that,” he said.

Skipper's comments have clearly not gone down well with many sections of City's support, with Blower angry at his comment that the current depth of feeling against the manager was from a minority of supporters.

“It is not a minority,” said Blower. “There is a very big depth of feeling out there.”

That feeling has manifested itself in two unplanned demonstrations outside the ground in recent weeks, but Blower has urged fans not to do anything that might affect the club.

“We are there as a conduit for fans,” he said. “I have always said it's better to jaw-jaw than war-war. We don't want an escalation of protests outside the main doors; we don't want fans not to renew their season tickets or do anything that will harm the club financially; we want them to support the team and not to take their feelings out on the players and we don't want to attack the manager's personality. That is a responsible way for this organisation to act.

“I would say to those who criticise us, thank God we are not a fire and brimstone organisation because if we were it could be civil war by now.”

Blower said the club had been invited to attend, but is not expecting that to be taken up.

“We are hoping to be able to send them a conclusion and hopefully meet them,” he said.

(.)Although there is no entrance charge, NCISA is asking for a minimum donation of £1 to cover costs, with any surplus being given to the club's Academy set-up.

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