Munby meeting for fans' group

CHRIS LAKEY Representatives from Norwich City's largest supporters' organisation will meet with Canaries' chairman Roger Munby on Monday to discuss the ramifications of arguably the biggest show of dissent against a current manager in the club's history.


Representatives from Norwich City's largest supporters' organisation will meet with Canaries' chairman Roger Munby on Monday to discuss the ramifications of arguably the biggest show of dissent against a current manager in the club's history.

More than 500 fans attended a public meeting, called by the Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association (NCISA), at St Andrews' Hall last night with one purpose in mind - to persuade the club that Nigel Worthington's five-year reign must end in the light of this season's dismal performances.

Although the club have stated that the manager will not be sacked, NCISA - who had already issued a statement of their own calling for the axe to fall - decided to call a public meeting to increase the pressure.

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In around two hours of debate, disgruntled fans not only voiced their opinion of the manager and his coaching staff but also put forward a number of ways in which the board of directors could gauge just how strongly they feel - and it is those suggestions that NCISA chairman Roy Blower will take with him on Monday.

“This has proved conclusively that there is a vast dissatisfaction with the management of the football team,” he said.

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“It is very difficult for us but we will certainly find a way and I will be meeting with the chairman on Monday and I want him to embrace all the thoughts of our committee with the chief executive and the board of directors.

“I have no wish to have a slanging match with any directors of the football club.

“We (NCISA) will have a meeting and drive this thing forward. It will show them there is not a small minority out there who want action. There is a very strong feeling that they (the fans) don't wish to see Nigel Worthington continue running this football club.”

With no direct invitation having been issued, there were no Norwich City officials in attendance last night - but chief executive Neil Doncaster confirmed afterwards that the club would be studying the opinions put forward in due course.

“As a club we respect all supporters' opinions,” he said. “We believe very much in consultation with all our supporters all of the time.

“We look forward to hearing more about the points that were put forward at the meeting.”

A show of hands at the end of the meeting produced the inevitable conclusion, with just four people showing support for the manager, with three abstentions - and 500 in favour of his departure.

Complaints of those speaking for the majority included the quality of Worthington's signings; the lack of tactical nous, lack of commitment to the youth set-up and the lack of progress for younger players.

Barry Woodrow produced one of the biggest rounds of applause of the evening when he said the meeting should put on record its appreciation of everything that majority shareholders Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn Jones had done for the club, with the rider: “However, I believe at times their judgment has not been good.

“I believe the only reason Nigel Worthington is in a job is because of the loyalty they feel towards him.

“Nigel Worthington has done good things for this club, but his time has come. I don't think he can do any more good for the club.

“I know Delia and Michael own the club, but it doesn't belong to them. It belongs to us, our fathers and our grandfathers, to the city of Norwich and beyond, to my son and his sons. This club belongs to all of us people and I would say the time has come for chance. We need a new manager. Enough is enough.”

Jason MacDonald said: “I don't think he has ever been a good manager. He has been a lucky manager, and his luck has run out.”

Blower was keen to hear from pro-Worthington supporters and found one in NCISA committee member, Peter Worsley, who said the problem did in fact lie at the top, rather than with the manager.

Mr Worsley defended Worthington's transactions in the transfer market.

“When you haven't got the money to go in for players who are worth £2m or £3m you have to go journeymen who you hope will come off,” he said. “At the moment they are not coming off.

“Nigel Worthington is the manager of Norwich City because of the way this club moves forward. If you have a gripe it is with Delia and Michael Wynn Jones, not Nigel Worthington.”

As well as statements over the ability or otherwise of the manager, there were suggestions as to what exactly fans could do to ensure their discontent did not go unnoticed. There is already a demonstration planned to start at 2pm in Wherry Road, but other ideas included: a petition; not wearing club colours at home games; not buying matchday programmes; boycotting away games; cashing in Preference B shares; waving white handkerchieves at half-time; and refusing to take part in the traditional pre-match rendition of On The Ball, City.

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