Fans bite back

CHRIS LAKEY Organisers of last weekend's pre-match demonstration against Canaries boss Nigel Worthington have hit back at majority shareholders Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn Jones.


Organisers of last weekend's pre-match demonstration against Canaries boss Nigel Worthington have hit back at majority shareholders Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn Jones.

Norwich City's main financial backers have come out in support of their beleaguered manager - but the campaign claim they have missed the point behind the fans' discontent.

In a prepared statement, Delia and Michael gave their backing to Worthington and called on the fans to back them and the manager.

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But campaign yesterday issued a statement of their own in which, after acknowledging their opinions, added: “We are disappointed to see that the core issue of under-performance from the management and coaching staff has not been addressed.

“Their statement skirts around the questions being asked by the Norwich fans. We have had the resources all season in money, players, youth and coaching facilities, yet performances have been consistently poor.

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“Such issues have not been addressed in this statement, which is understandable as this would be an indication of a public vote of confidence in the manager.”

And the group - whose website contains a book of condolences set up to pay “respects to the passing away of Norwich City's great tradition of playing football” insisted that their public disapproval of Worthington would continue.

“The loyal fans behind this campaign will continue to raise awareness of the under-performance of this current management team whilst they fail to get the squad to deliver its full potential,” they said.

“To the Norwich fans, we want not just results but good solid performances. If the management cannot deliver, then we need a clear answer as to why the board are satisfied with the management and coaching staff's failure to deliver improved performances.”

Meanwhile Roy Blower, chairman of the supporters' group which organised a public meeting on “current situation at Carrow Road” last week, felt the statement had put supporters fully in the picture.

“Michael and Delia deserve praise for coming forward and making their views known,” said the Norwich Independent Supporters' Association spokesman. “They are passionate about the club and I think that came out in their statement. But whether it will pacify supporters who no longer want Nigel to be manager remains to be seen.

“It is clear from what they said that Nigel's position is not up for negotiation at this stage. Football is a results-driven business and in the end results could end up being a catalyst for change. But at the moment they are clearly behind their man and I don't think that is going to change between now and the end of the season.”

Blower is hoping the statement will prompt protestors to step back and ponder how best to get their views across.

“I have always felt the pen is mightier than the sword,” he said. “There is a lot of frustration amongst supporters at present and they have got every right to have their say - but I would suggest that writing to the club is a better way of doing that than staging demonstrations outside the ground.

“The one thing we don't want to do is make life difficult for the players.

“As far as I am concerned the best way forward would be for fans to send in letters telling the club exactly how they feel about the what has happened this season. The more feedback they get from supporters the better as far as I am concerned.”

Blower and his committee will be meeting with club chairman Roger Munby and chief executive Neil Doncaster on Monday evening to discuss last week's public meeting at St Andrews Hall - and is looking forward to a constructive debate.

“Over 500 people turned up to our meeting at St Andrews Hall, which proved that there are a lot of concerned supporters out there,” he said. “The club are well aware that a good number of fans aren't happy - and we are looking forward to passing on the views expressed at the meeting to them.”

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