More accountability please
AS THE first season ticket deadline passes this weekend, I suspect many fans have been pondering, in this most dispiriting of years, whether to renew. In the past, The Man has been very much of the Canary fundamentalist view, in that, finances and family permitting, the renewal of a season ticket is an act of unconditional love.
AS THE first season ticket deadline passes this weekend, I suspect many fans have been pondering, in this most dispiriting of years, whether to renew.
In the past, The Man has been very much of the Canary fundamentalist view, in that, finances and family permitting, the renewal of a season ticket is an act of unconditional love.
Like getting the Old Dear a bunch of flowers on Valentine's Day, even when you'd rather spend the �25 on the new Lost DVD box-set. You just do it, no questions asked. It's like a charitable donation.
But, after five consecutive seasons of failure, I have started to ask dark questions...the principle one being: would my life be better without this regular misery on a Saturday afternoon? In essence, should I end this weekly torment and file for a football divorce?
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We've been so poor in the past few years that the good grace with which I used to accept a defeat has given way to a deep-seated feeling of resignation, and a pronounced bitterness.
Sometimes it's around 8.30pm on a Saturday before I can re-establish the good humour to talk with my fellow human beings again. It's no sort of life.
- 1 MATCHDAY RECAP: Huge goals for Hugill as City create daylight at the top
- 2 Farke maps out his risk averse strategy on Pukki and Krul
- 3 Paddy's Pointers: Five observations from the Canaries' 2-0 Championship cruise against Bristol City
- 4 The Greek view on Norwich City new boy Dimitris Giannoulis
- 5 Cherries lose more ground on Canaries in promotion race
- 6 PRESSER LIVE: Norwich City v Bristol City - Pukki still out, Krul set to return
- 7 STARTING XIs: Krul returns for Canaries against Bristol City
- 8 Hot Hugill caps a season's best display for City boss
- 9 Farke is not looking over his shoulder at City
- 10 Norwich City v Bristol City - all you need to know
You are supposed to relax at weekends, I'm told. But I spend it growling at Match of the Day, when I can bring myself to watch it. Does The Man actually enjoy those 90 minutes at Carrow Road anymore?
I have to say, in the vast majority of cases, no. Hell no.
What makes it worse is that I'm sure there was a time when I relished it, childish as that may be.
The Man would literally count down the days to a game; but now I just approach them with a vague sense of nausea about what new depth we may plunge.
Unlike in years gone by, I don't really know who we are playing from one month to the next, only which insurmountable task awaits us each weekend.
Who's next? Preston (a). No chance. Don't want to know who's after that…
Overall, I am sure the startling turnover of players and managers in recent years has played a part in this general disenchantment, as it has had a similarly devastating impact on results.
And what holds me back from renewing this year, as opposed to others, is that I feel there should now finally be some public accountability for our failings.
While the various ills of “modern football” have played a significant part in our decline, to take a club with our support to the brink of League One still takes some doing.
If the worst happens, only the calamitous Manchester City will have gone down to the third tier with bigger crowds, so part of The Man's reluctance stems from not wanting to be seen to endorse increasingly poor decision-making at boardroom level, by signing up for a season ticket without at least thinking about it first.
The �490,000 bill for agents' fees, revealed this week, was a case in point. The money we have spent absolving ourselves of a full-time squad is frightening…absolutely frightening.
So futile as it may be, I want to let the powers-that-be know that the performance of the club has been wholly unacceptable in recent years and someone needs to carry the can. And I don't just mean sacking another manager after he fails to turn water into wine.
From fellow fans I have spoken to this seems to be a common desire, whether it will be acknowledged remains to be seen. Certainly, there will be pressure for it. So will I renew after all?
Well, despite a few rants to pals last weekend, I have decided to sign up again. Mug.
The tipping point, pathetic as it sounds, was the little reminder card the club sent out this week - where they put your name on the back of the shirt.
It was a cracking little guilt trip, and it worked. When it comes to the crunch, that sheer bond between supporter and club - not supporter and players - or supporter and board - is hard to break. That desire for accountability remains though, regardless of how many fans sign up.
TUESDAY, 4.29am GMT: The Man - loser that he is - lay wide awake in bed worrying about our current
It must be serious this time. Football has never caused me to lose sleep before…except for that time my late dash for a train from Blackburn to Leeds after a night game at Ewood Park failed, and I was forced to wait to catch a series of trains that only got me back to my then Yorkshire bed as the sun rose.
The fact a couple of the journeys involved sharing a carriage with drunken heavy metal fans only added to the romance that night.
But this week's insomnia was different, and something of a novelty for someone who enjoys sleep as much as I do. In fact, after football, it's probably my favourite hobby.
So I lay staring at the ceiling wondering just how bad League One would be, and was there any way we could avoid it?
Two images from the previous game against Burnley kept popping into my mind.
One was the sight of Delia and the hawkish Alistair Campbell smoozing before the game. What on earth do they talk about I mused? Maybe AC and Neil D just exchange New Labour notes at half-time?
“In reality, going forward, it would be helpful, in terms of off-field activity, if you passed me the milk and sugar Alistair.”
The second image I had etched in my mind was of Jon Otsemobor, standing limply on the touchline with five minutes to go, waiting to take a throw-in, showing about as much urgency as an OAP with a prostrate problem hovering over a urinal. Move! Do something! Agghhhh!
To be fair, his yellow compatriots were hardly busting a gut to get the ball either. It was partly a lack of effort, but mainly a sheer bankruptcy of ideas.