Failure accepted all too easily by City fans

The Man In The Stands THESE are heady times for Norwich fans who like their football with a heavy dose of misery, and a bumper side portion of hopelessness. Rarely have seven days left The Man more depressed about the state of his beloved football club.

The Man In The Stands

THESE are heady times for Norwich fans who like their football with a heavy dose of misery, and a bumper side portion of hopelessness.

Rarely have seven days left The Man more depressed about the state of his beloved football club.

On top of the now statutory derby defeat at Portman Road after taking an early lead, and relegation struggles, we now have to look on at the seemingly huge chasm between our own ambitions and those of the ****.

It has almost become like an East Anglian remake of the classic comedy film Twins, with ourselves cast as the weakling Danny DeVito, and the **** as the strapping Arnold Schwarzenegger.

We are born of the same ilk, but we are oh so different.

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While some of our fans have tried to dress up the ****'s appointment of the former GB Olympic chief and Roy Keane as an expensive ticket to disappointment, I can't see it as anything other than a bold and ambitious move which we could only dream of.

We don't do ambition in Norfolk, but it appears over the border in Suffolk it's all the rage.

Neil Doncaster repeatedly told us there was no queue of investors looking to put money into Championship football clubs; but it appears our bitter rivals miraculously managed to find one.

Maybe it's because they actually looked for one? And their club was for sale, rather than merely being open for charitable donations without a change of ownership.

To borrow one of toff David Cameron's favourite laments, we didn't fix the roof while the sun was shining.

Now the rain is pouring in and there's not a soul to help us, as the belatedly-appointed Keith Harris will testify.

Don't kid yourself, these are dark, dark days.

If, as the bookmakers predict, we lose out on Championship status this season, the gap between ourselves and the **** may take a decade to bridge.

Before the appointment of Keane the **** had sold just 12,000 season tickets. We had sold 18,000 despite being crap again. I could cry.

But have we, the fans, brought this misery upon ourselves? The Man is beginning to think that, to a certain extent, we have. After the final whistle at Portman Road, Delia emerged from the away end to a standing ovation from our supporters, and she blew kisses to the crowd.

Now I am not suggesting for a moment that Delia should have been given any stick, but for a club that's just been pushed to the brink of the third division at the home of its fierce rivals, it was a sensationally good-natured response to our owner.

In fact, I cannot think of any other club in the country whose fans would have accepted such a vile situation with such good grace.

Certainly, from my vantage point in the opposite stand - I had to sit with the **** fans after a ticket mix-up - it was a peculiar spectacle to observe. The Ipswich steward in front of me was even laughing, I could see his point to be honest.

It's worth noting the **** fans were getting on their own manager's back for having the temerity to only have them in the top 10. A mere 3-2 win over us was the final nail in his coffin. So there surely comes a point when our willing acceptance of failure becomes self-perpetuating...if you expect nothing that's what you get. It's one thing to be realistic, it's quite another to be just plain backward.

The fans' reaction on Sunday, as well as showing an almost cultish gratitude, suggests there is something within our psyche that will always settle for second best, happy to live off crumbs.

While Keane was unveiled at Town the main news on the Pink 'Un

was of a new white away kit, sponsored by a company that is too

embarrassed to even have Norwich as its name any more.

The symbolism was painful. It feels like an April Fool, the tragic news is that it isn't. We will always love and support this club, but it's damn tough going at the moment. OTBC.


TUESDAY evening, around 9.37pm. The Man had retreated to his kitchen and was kneeling in almost Islamic prayer pose on the floor.

The reason for this physical position was that Scott Minto, on Sky Sports News, had just revealed that Coventry had been awarded an injury time penalty against Barnsley.

Given that The Man had already resigned himself to a Coventry defeat, this ray of light emerged like an oasis in the recent refereeing desert. And thus, overcome by it all, I crouched in the kitchen unable to even watch the screen.

I am sure there was a subconscious religious element to my stance, but whether I was appealing to God or Geoffrey Watling, I don't know. Anyhow, The Man was convinced Elliot Ward would miss.

“What a penalty,” roared Minto.

The Man leapt like a salmon and bounced around the kitchen. Only two minutes earlier I had sent “Norwich City RIP” in a text message to friends.

Part of me resents having to care about Coventry and Barnsley in April, but such is our lot, it was an almighty relief. We are set for a similarly tortuous afternoon today, waiting to see if results fall in our favour. Whatever happens, we still have one night game at Carrow Road left. Let's back this great club to the hilt on Monday night and show the rest of this poxy league, and this poxy game, that we won't go quietly. Kick it off!


ACCORDING to The Guardian this week, our �179,000-a-year chief executive will have extra reason to be nervous on Monday.

The newspaper claimed that if we are relegated, Neil Doncaster will be removed from his roles on Football Association and Football League boards. The Man is not sure if the claims are true, but if they are, moving forward, it would come as a hammer blow to Dear Neil, who treasures his role in the “corridors of power”.

Whether our club will manage to remain as successful without his vital influence at football's top table remains to be seen. At least it would give him even more time to spend on the small matter of Norwich City Football Club.