How can a 'beautiful game' be so cruel?

The Man In The Stands AS THE first ode of "Roeder out" gracefully floated away into the Carrow Road sky on Sunday, The Man held his head in his hands. Not because I'm really a Roeder Iner, Outer, or even Shake-it-all-abouter, but because it was all so desperate.

The Man In The Stands

AS THE first ode of "Roeder out" gracefully floated away into the Carrow Road sky on Sunday, The Man held his head in his hands.

Not because I'm really a Roeder Iner, Outer, or even Shake-it-all-abouter, but because it was all so desperate.

In the gangway a couple of fans were fighting amongst themselves. Jon Otsemobor was misplacing a pass to put the finishing touch to perhaps the worst display by a sportsman since Eddie the Eagle, or at a push Eric the Eel, or even Elliot Omozusi.

Oh, and we were 3-1 down to a team that had no manager, had shipped four at home to Doncaster in their previous game, and were below us in the table.

It was miserable, hopeless and predictable.

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Watching Norwich is increasingly like going to visit a terminally-ill relative in hospital. You want to go, but it is tragic.

There was a time, many moons ago, when I would have been angry about that performance against Forest.

But really, was it any surprise that a team who had just "lost" their manager beat a team whose own manager was under pressure?

"Lost" is such a gentle term.

It makes Colin Calderwood sound like a set of car keys or a cat.

Like he was accidentally misplaced when the Forest chairman was getting his shopping out of the boot.

Another way to put it would be to say Calderwood was let down by the overpaid morons in which his fate was bound.

Isn't it a wretched old business in that perhaps the best way to guarantee a motivated performance and a result in your next game is to sack the manager? Blackburn and Forest are the most recent examples.

Cynical I may be, but as soon as players get a whiff that it's their own necks on the line for once they don't half step it up a couple of gears. "That one was for the gaffer," they often say after upsetting the formbook post-managerial departure.

You may recall last season how our own brave lions went from playing like pansies at QPR and West Brom to running through brick walls at home to the ****. Julian "Le Juge" Brellier even put in a shift.

Of course, we accept that the great managers - Ferguson and O'Neill being prime examples - are able to continually motivate their players to produce good performances. That is what makes them the best in the business.

And Roeder, bless him, does not seem to have that in his locker. If he did, he would not be managing us.

As The Man looked at Glenn on the touchline after Earnie made it 3-1, I didn't half feel sorry for him.

He has had less to spend than his counterparts at such hallowed institutions as Barnsley and Preston, yet here he has got 25,000 people (quite rightly) expecting better of their team.

He was left with an absolute shell of a squad last summer to work with, which he then had to try and rebuild on relative peanuts. In all honestly, it was a ridiculous task for him to face.

I hate the reliance on loan signings as much as the next fan, but given the fact he did not have �6m in his sky rocket this summer, or a decent youth team to plunder like Warnock has, I really don't see how else he was supposed to get a squad together.

And at no point, like Grant and Worthy before him, has Roeder come out and moaned about the fact that the infamous pledge he could have "as much money as he wanted" was not quite on the money.

Yes he could have done a better job this season.

Yes he makes barbed comments which will only accelerate his exit.

Yes he will probably be gone by the end of the season.

But there is a bigger picture here.

Our league positions in recent years read: 19th in the Prem, 9th in the Championship, 16th, 17th - and currently 20th.

Now does that tell a story about Roeder or about our club?

If there is any genuine angst I feel it is towards things such as Jolly Roger Munby picking up �25,000 a year in "reimbursement" from a club losing money hand over fist, rather than Roeder.

It is towards Delia and Michael, great people though they are, for not biting Cullum's hand off when he offered to take control of the club for the inflated price of nothing two years ago.

And it is towards our chief executive for having taken �3,442 out of the club a week while preaching about high wages and touting himself for a job at the FA, as we sit on the brink of disaster.

I just hope "so why are Norwich so crap these days?" and "remind me again, what league are you in?" were some of the interview questions, if he did get short-listed. The fact Dave Sheepshanks was also in the running for it says it all.

But most of all I feel anger towards football in general, in that a grand old club like Norwich City can be brought to its knees by a game that was once called beautiful. OTBC.


WANTED: Experienced football manager to transform struggling side, to replace man who did the same job very well last season but is now unpopular.

No real money for new players, very small squad, but big crowds and nice restaurants.

Given the current climate, the ideal candidate would be prepared to work for nothing, and be immune to criticism.

Applications should be made in writing to the man named after the team you have got to try and finish above to be successful.