Long and winding Roed to survival

DAVID CUFFLEY New boss Glenn Roeder must turn round Norwich City's worst start to a season in living memory to secure Championship survival.And the former manager who engineered one of the Canaries' most successful escape acts today made an emotional plea to everyone with the club's interests at heart to get 100 per cent behind Roeder and his beleaguered players in the weeks ahead.

DAVID CUFFLEY

New boss Glenn Roeder must turn round Norwich City's worst start to a season in living memory to secure Championship survival.

And the former manager who engineered one of the Canaries' most successful escape acts today made an emotional plea to everyone with the club's interests at heart to get 100 per cent behind Roeder and his beleaguered players in the weeks ahead.

City's current total of just nine points is their lowest from the first 16 league games of any season in an unbroken run in the top two divisions that stretches back to 1960.


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As an indication of the Canaries' desperate position, even Bryan Hamilton's struggling team of seven years ago took 20 points from their first 16 games, before a slump in form cost Hamilton his job and ushered in Nigel Worthington's rescue operation.

But another ex-Carrow Road boss who steered the club out of a relegation crisis today backed Roeder to do the same.

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Dave Stringer, who presided over City's dramatic recovery in the old Division One 20 seasons ago, said the new manager was ideally qualified for the task.

Stringer, manager from 1987 to 1992, said: “Everybody recognises the position we're in and the need to turn it round. As a manager, you are looking for that first win. We need a drastic change in results soon.

“When you start losing games, it is difficult to turn it round. It becomes a downward spiral and there is no magic formula.

“We need someone level-headed and experienced who has been through the situation before, as Glenn has.

“He's not been kidded by one result against Ipswich and he has a strong resolve and a pride in what he does. He will not allow anybody to slip and slide.

“He will want to bring new players in and he will be determined to get a response from the players because the whole future of the club is in their hands.”

For that reason, it was essential to back them, said Stringer.

He said: “We have to take a positive view and get behind the manager and the players.

“My own feeling is that it hurts to think we are in this position. Everybody who's been at the club, is still involved at the club and the older players who live in this area and are involved in hosting matches, is hurt to think that what they helped to achieve could be taken away from them.

“It hurts everybody but the fans have been brilliant and the players are guaranteed their support provided they give 100 per cent effort. It's only if there is a lack of application that people start to point the finger.”

As a City player, Stringer found himself at the wrong end of the table more than once. Only once, in 1974, did he suffer relegation with Norwich.

As manager, he took over a team with just 11 points from their first 15 games in Division One in 1987-88, and steered them to safety, bringing in new players and, along with coach David Williams, restoring the confidence of the existing ones.

He said: “It was recognised at the time that things needed to change and after several meetings I was given the backing to go out and get players.

“In fact, the first two I brought in, John O'Neill and Robert Fleck, were injured early on, but having new players made the others in the squad want to go out and prove they were just as good. We won three games in a row at Christmas and that was when it really took off.

“The advantage I had was that I had players who had experience of playing in the first division and finishing high up.”

One mitigating factor for the current City side was the lack of a settled line-up, said Stringer.

“You need your big characters, but looking at it, I don't think we have had everybody available for the same period of time because of suspensions and injuries,” he said.

City's bad starts

SeasonLeague PPtsOutcome

*1963-64Div Two1610Survived

*1966-67Div Two1611Survived

*1973-74Div One1610Relegated

*1980-81Div One1612Relegated

1987-88Div One1611Survived

2004-05Premier1612Relegated

2007-08Champ16 9????????

*Two points for a win

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