Mixed emotions over new bosses

The Man In The Stands THE APPOINTMENT of Bryan Gunn and Ian Crook (and to a lesser extent John Deehan) has placed a unique stress on The Man. On the one hand, sentiment urges me to embrace this new managerial team with the same zeal as a Yank who voted for Obama.

The Man In The Stands

THE APPOINTMENT of Bryan Gunn and Ian Crook (and to a lesser extent John Deehan) has placed a unique stress on The Man.

On the one hand, sentiment urges me to embrace this new managerial team with the same zeal as a Yank who voted for Obama.

This part of me wants to crack open the facepaint and smother my ugly mug in yellow and green ahead of the game on Tuesday, before skipping down Carrow Road singing “we beat Bayern Moonich” and “are you watching Manchester?”

But on the other, it feels a bit like getting a home-made go-cart for Christmas when you were hoping for a quad bike. You'll play on it, but you can't help but feel your parents have fobbed you off with a cheap present they knocked up in the garage in half an hour on Christmas Eve. Let me repeat the mantra that all Norwich fans will be reciting in the coming weeks: I love Gunny and Chippy, they are Norwich legends, they always will be…certainly two of the best players The Man will ever see in a City shirt.

But the simple fact is that at one of the most crucial points of the club's recent history we have appointed a guy who has only managed a Championship team for one game, the former coach of American Samoa, and a man we sacked, albeit amid mitigating circumstances, 14 years ago. I honestly thought that after the Peter Grant debacle we would never appoint an inexperienced manager in these hugely-challenging circumstances again. But little more than a year on; we have repeated the trick. Is this really the time for a novice?

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Money talks of course, and it may be this yellow-tinted trio was all we could afford. Necessitated by a lack of cash or not, it is a monumental gamble. The writing, it seemed, was on the wall right from the moment Jolly Roger started saying the new manager had to “bleed yellow and green” in comments made long before the 4-0 win over Barnsley. That ruled out 90 per cent of the potential shortlist from the word go. Neil Doncaster has followed it up with by saying there is a feeling that “supporters have got there club back”. Damn, if this is back, where the hell have we been? Good luck to Bryan and Ian as they attempt to steer us to safety; only a couple of weeks ago that seemed a lofty ambition, but after one uplifting win suddenly everyone seems to think it's within reach.

After that, who knows? I hope they upset the odds and are here for 10 happy years. We will back them to the absolute hilt. It should be rocking on Tuesday, and at Doncaster on Friday. However, one thing is for sure, there is a vast body of Norwich fans who would never turn on Gunny and Crook, so the next time the excreta hits the fan the boardroom and its assorted hangers-on might find the brown stuff flies directly over the manager's head and in their direction. OTBC.


THE AREAS of the UK where Craig Bellamy is not reviled as a rotten such-and-such are shrinking faster than an investment banker's bonuses.

Many is the time The Man has had to defend this Son of Norwich from abuse from those not fortunate enough to have been reared in Norfolk.

As far as I can tell - aside from the indirect generic hatred that all well-known players suffer - Bellars has now thoroughly upset fans of Liverpool, Newcastle and West Ham. Not to mention his little spat in ****land during a pre-season game last summer.

To be honest, I could not think of four clubs I'd rather he fell out with; all of them odious to the absolute core.

Keep it up Craig, as far as I'm concerned there'll always be a corner of the country that doesn't think you are a so and so. Sort of.


TO COMMEMORATE the return of Ian Crook, The Man would like to draw your attention to Chippy's unofficial online autobiography.

I would like to claim the credit for this fine piece of work, but the outstanding “Too Many Crooks” is sadly nothing to do with me.

Here is an extract: “When you've made it, you've made it.

“That's what I thought as I stood backstage at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, sharing a joke with Noel Edmonds and Anneka Rice after the whole City squad were invited to watch the filming of Gladiators.

“We were still pretty in demand on the celeb circuit a year or so after our famous European exploits, and I had to pinch myself as Edmonds told gag after gag about what really went on behind the scenes in Crinkly Bottom. “Even if you suffer the aggro of relegation to Endsleigh Division One just a couple of years later, it's moments like that which you really treasure.”

Read the autobiography in full at www.the-gaffer.com/columnists/ian-crook-archive.html


NEVER has the chant “can we play you every week?” been sung with more heartfelt venom than when we play Barnsley.

Quite what the Tykes have done in a past life to warrant getting humiliated by us on a regular basis I don't know, but you must assume it's at the genocide end of the spectrum.

The Man does not want to take anything away from Gunny's inaugural win; but I'd back a remedial amoeba to steer us to three points against Barnsley, such is their record against us.

As an American would say; we own them.

It must be how Palace feel when we roll up at Selhurst.

They must be the last team in the land that actually fears playing us. Long may it continue.