Blue Monday was one of City's worst

PUBLISHED: 13:44 02 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:14 10 September 2010

The Man In The Stands

WEARING a Norwich City jacket over his civvies, David Mooney walked on to the pitch with the rest of the squad to take part in the "lap of thanks" after the Reading game.

WEARING a Norwich City jacket over his civvies, David Mooney walked on to the pitch with the rest of the squad to take part in the “lap of thanks” after the Reading game.

The Irish striker looked genuinely disappointed as he trudged around the pitch with the City staff, supplemented by the usual entourage of goodwill-inducing academy players.

The silver lining for Mooney was that the grinding despair of being pushed to the brink of relegation was tempered by the fact his proper club had just moved a step closer to promotion.

The Man, who had migrated to the centre of the City Stand to get a closer look at the funeral pyre, stood leaning against the wall which joins the stand to the tunnel.

The absurdity of Mooney's situation was not lost on me; it summed up just how far we had fallen, and how fast. Behind me an irate fan was arguing with a red-faced Roger Munby, the only member of the board with the balls to face the fans that night, while bemused Reading players waiting to warm down watched from the tunnel as Bryan Gunn was given an emotional salute from those who remained in the Barclay.

Out of his depth, out of time and out of luck: The Man could have shed a tear for Gunny.

It was utterly tragic. I remembered him in his prime.

That stunning performance at Millwall, running the length of the pitch to go toe-to-toe with Arsenal: a hero of mine.

Next to me, a fan chipped in with some abuse to the players as they escaped down the tunnel.

“Yeah, you can **** off now Croft. You too Shackell. Bye, bye.”

Strangely, The Man did not feel anger towards our “own” players.

You simply can't be successful unless you have a settled side.

Our aggressive use of the loan market has ruined the squad, and more fatally the bond between fans and team.

For a club that prides itself on being community-focused, this detachment is a stark failure.

Images of the Reading winger waltzing past Jon Otsemobor for the opening goal kept replaying in my mind.

I mused on whether his nickname of Semmy was genuinely derived from his surname, or a reference to his frequent lapses into semi-consciousness on the pitch.

Outside the ground a small group of fans, but by no means a “baying mob”, called for the board to go.

A couple of really peeved blighters, it was rumoured, even made it into the hallowed boardroom, where they found some of the Norfolk Glitterati taking amusement in the fact Munby's name was being used in vain outside.

Delia was nowehere to be seen apparently, having long-since fled the scene.

One of the intruders was pacified with a whisky from Jolly Roger.

As the small protest withered away, Delia's nephew, a common suited and booted sight in the boardroom these days, emerged to confront the last, belligerent anti-board campaigner.

“You buy the club then,” Delia's relative barked.

As I watched the exchange, The Man wondered if young Tom had ever paid for a match ticket in his life; although I could understand his natural desire to defend a member of his family.

Meanwhile a set of pizzas arrived for the Reading team bus, their treat for having all but condemned us to third division football for the first time in 50 years.

Promotion pizza.

A desperate, humiliating and inglorious night in the history of Norwich City.

t THE NEW DONCASTER OPTIMISM NOT SHARED

Neil Doncaster predicted that the future was “bright” for Norwich City in his newspaper column this week.

It is ironic that the man once dubbed Neil Doomcaster by fans for his gloomy realism, has seemingly undergone a Damascene conversion to become a beacon of optimism.

Needless to say, The Man did not share dear Neil's upbeat and self-serving assessment.

Of course, I too will be hoping for a “miracle” (also known in non-Biblical terms as an away win) tomorrow; but quite how our future could be described as “bright” is beyond me.

Our chief executive also said that when the season was finished, the club would not be making any “knee-jerk” decisions, and instead would assess the situation over the coming “days and weeks.”

My problem is this: how on earth can we be expected to trust the judgment of a board that have led us to this mess?

How can we trust them - post Grant, post Roeder, post loans - to make the right decisions? We can't.

The role of a board is actually quite simple, appoint a good manager and find him some money to spend.

In the past five years they have failed miserably on both counts. It is a failure born of good intensions, but it is failure nonetheless.

Quite frankly, all I want to hear from Mr Doncaster - and of course this is just my view - is that the club is genuinely up for sale and they will all be gone as soon as practically possible.

A clear statement to this end needs to be made.

In the meantime, I expect our chief executive to have the decency to lower his £179,000 wages in line with the expected relegation and loss of income, and for Roger Munby to stop taking £25,000 a year out of our coffers for whatever it is he does too.

It is over chaps.

Please, even though you have left it far too late, focus all your efforts on finding some other mugs to own the club and get out.

We need a fresh start and it has to come from the top down.

Please don't further damage this great club by labouring under the false impression you are the people to fix it.

OTBC.

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