What a Carry On
PUBLISHED: 17:29 28 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:27 10 September 2010
At the start of the season, I resisted the temptation to write anything optimistic about my football club. I'd seen it all before. We'd had a decent pre-season, an influx of new players, a new manager and yet another fresh start.
At the start of the season, I resisted the temptation to write anything optimistic about my football club. I'd seen it all before. We'd had a decent pre-season, an influx of new players, a new manager and yet another fresh start. All that was missing was the Carrow Road staff singing that 1982 World Cup classic “This time we'll get it right”.
This August, a season older and wiser and being a little nearer to that “certain age” as opposed to middle age, perhaps The Who classic “Won't get fooled again” would have been a more appropriate anthem.
Learning from mistakes is something in life that we all should do, but over the years did the Norwich City Board ever take a step back, try to work out what went wrong and resolve not to make the same mistakes again? Er…No. Worthington's extended stay, Grant and then Roeder and….
Like the desperate double or quits gambler making more and more reckless bets in order to get even, the appointment of Gunny was the final act of folly from a board that had run out of ideas, direction, and more worryingly maybe starting to run out of cash. One more roll of those dice praying for a lucky seven only to see that snake-eyes had once more paid a visit to the boardroom gaming table.
Come August 8th it was no better on the pitch. Despite all our new signings including a real wealth of midfielders we witnessed a disastrous performance. I was almost yearning for the return of Jason Jarrett, Carl Robinson and even Andy Hughes. And come to think of it, maybe Jurgen Colin at right back? What about Victor Segura at centre back? And is anyone still in contact with Paul Gallagher? Surely this lot would have shown more application and nous than those that started against Colchester?
And then it happened. The new City chief executive, a chief exec finally worthy of the title, swung the axe having seen straight though what was going on. David McNally did Gunny a huge favour, and probably gave him one of the biggest breaks he'll ever get in his life in giving him the bullet from the Carrow Road hot seat. McNally could see it would only have gone further south for Gunny, and he knew that making a tough call now would have caused much less pain than in a couple of months time. It was exactly the sort of hard-nosed decision that the City board should have taken in November 2005, but they didn't, and we've been paying for it ever since.
Of course the timing was awful, but decision was not surprising, at least to me.
It was lucky for Delia and the Board that by some miracle, they had acquired McNally's services. Two of the last thee managers were rookies in the job, as was the recently departed chief exec Neil Doncaster, so it would have been so surprise if they had again promoted from within or found a friendly local face to take over. Hiring McNally was a real coup, and one that the remaining board members should be given credit for.
Taking the job was as much a risk for Gunny as it was Delia and Co, and after the blood letting somehow both parties appear to have got out of it with at least some semblance of dignity. Delia can say it was the new board that made and voted on the decision, and Gunny can claim that he wasn't given a fair crack of the whip with his players. Honours were about even, with both parties bloodied but unbowed. After taking the manager's job and failing there's nowhere else to go apart from the exit door, and Gunny's “legend” reputation has remained intact.
And as quickly as Gunny had been booted out, in came the new broom to try and work out how to salvage something of our season. Paul Lambert must have known what he was letting himself in for after his old team thrashed City, and after overseeing the dismal showing at Brentford he would have already had a decent idea of which of Gunny's signings would cut it in League One.
So have City turned the corner? Off the pitch, maybe yes. There's still a myriad of problems to resolve, the finances being the main one to tackle, and how City will struggle on with the debt as a League One club but I've confidence that we have the right people making the big decisions at Carrow Road after several years of the wrong people making incorrect decisions.