Bring on the knight in shining armour
PUBLISHED: 16:09 22 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:23 14 September 2010
At some point in the none too distant future, some knight in shining white armour has to appear on the horizon. Someone, in some shape or other, who can start to disperse the current spirit of ill-will that descends on Carrow Road every time the Canaries play at home fresh from yet another away-day disaster.
At some point in the none too distant future, some knight in shining white armour has to appear on the horizon.
Someone, in some shape or other, who can start to disperse the current spirit of ill-will that descends on Carrow Road every time the Canaries play at home fresh from yet another away-day disaster.
Who exactly that magical man - or woman - might be depends on which section of the supporters you speak to.
For some, the buck stops with the manager and that's where the new face has to come; for a few, judging by one or two of the comments that have circulated this week, the buck stops right at the top, with the board and, by clear implication, from there it is but a short leap to the club's owners.
So entrenched are they in their support of Nigel Worthington, runs the latest argument, that they are now part of the problem; far from providing the supporters with the solution that some of them seek, they need to be included within the answer - get shot of the lot, from Worthington upwards in a radical rethink of the whole way the club is run. That's your answer to the poison and division that this season has unleashed; that's the only way to restore Norwich City Football Club to where it rightly belongs - in the arms of the supporters and playing the kind of football that they expect.
No-one is about to argue that the football has been of the best of late. Much of it has been dire. The problem, as ever, is how certain sections of the supporters propose to turn their thoughts into deeds; how, for those that truly think that there is some deep, dark malevolent cancer at work within the heart of the football club that they love, anyone proposes to actually lop off the head of this evil Carrow Road beast.
Perhaps the theory is that the nation's favourite TV cook will suddenly throw her hands in the air, give up in a fit of hurt pique and walk away from the club that she and her husband have invested millions of pounds and ten, long years of their life in. And try as I might, I just can't see it. They've got millions sat there in the club. Would you kiss good-bye to all that? Let alone all the emotional and 'brand' investment they have poured into every aspect of the football club?
The only way that they might would be if some, shining white knight popped up over the horizon, chequebook in hand, ready to buy out their long-term investment with huge great dollops of cash.
Even then it would have to be the right person. Again, as hard as I try, I cannot for the life of me see the son of a Harleston rector and Delia Smith selling their majority share-holding in Norwich City Football Club to some Michael Knightonesque figure, who would enjoy his five minutes of fame playing keep-me-ups in the centre circle before someone started to poke around in his accounts.
That's not them; they won't cut and run - not flog the family jewels to the first fly-by-night that beats a path to their door. There may well be some big-hitters willing to take a punt on the Canaries - some Middle Eastern prince, some Mid-Western American businessman keen to follow the Glazers through the door to the Premiership's untold riches. I also suspect that there are any number of Russian businessmen with mountains of roubles to burn Portsmouth-style. Perhaps that's the way you see your club moving forward after ten years of homely Delia.
I don't know, each to their own. I do suspect that - as ever these days in our growing Internet democracy - message-board opinion will be sharply divided. One man's meat will be another man's poison; who is going to run Norwich's own 'fit and proper' person test? Who, and where, is the next great owner of Norwich City Football Club? What sort of rules will they play by?
Milan Mandaric and his new Russian pal may be pumping in the kind of money Portsmouth need to keep them in the Premiership, but I doubt they run a Supporters Consultative Group or do 'Meet The Board' nights in some hotel in Southsea on a Thursday night.
And that's where all too many of these great debates unravel. Once all the froth, fury and frustration subsides and everyone steps back into the real world, someone, somewhere has got to come up with a credible answer to one, simple question - 'Then what?'
You don't like Delia because - for now - she sticks loyally by her manager. So you get rid of the Smiths, then what? Who are you going to hand the keys of the castle to? Who is going to get to play with your toy? Or is it going to be run by some huge great message-board collective when everyone has their say? On everything. From substitutions onwards…
Who is the model football club owner? Who is the person that gets it right? Doug Ellis? Freddie Shepherd? Don't say David Dein, the Glazer family or David Moores at Liverpool - they, lest anyone forget, are all part of the G14 set-up and would happily rip the English professional game to pieces if it suited their financial purposes.
Who is the model owner? Where is your knight in shining white armour to come in and sweep away the cookery queen with the suddenly-stained pinny?
I don't know the answers; all I'm doing is throwing you the questions to go away and answer. And once you've found the answer to the 'Then what?' question, then - and only then - can we all have a realistic debate.
My knight in shining white armour? He's six-foot two, 33 or 34, 13-stone and has an elbow, an arse and an attitude to match. He batters opposition centre-halves to pieces and prises doors open for Master Earnshaw. If we're going to have to go ugly to get out of this division, we might as well get the meanest, roughest mother money can find. And Dickson Etuhu starts every game. If bolting on a Geoff Horsfield or a Steven Howard to the front of this team doesn't put the Canaries in at least the top six come the autumn, then what? Then you start making changes.