Our players have done no wrong

The Man In The Stands THE Man has to admit he was rather indifferent to news of an investigation into the alleged match-fixing 'scandal' involving a Norwich City fixture. I would just point out; my devil-may-care attitude is underpinned by the fact I firmly believe our players have done nothing wrong.

The Man In The Stands

THE Man has to admit he was rather indifferent to news of an investigation into the alleged match-fixing 'scandal' involving a Norwich City fixture.

I would just point out; my devil-may-care attitude is underpinned by the fact I firmly believe our players have done nothing wrong.

I wouldn't back our lot to organise a celebration in a brewery, so thoughts that any of them could be linked to an Asian betting syndicate are a total non-starter.

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The closest our players will get to that is bumping into Hong Kong Canary David Lee on his latest jaunt to Colney.

If one of our players is found to have done something wrong I will eat my hat.

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In fact, in one sense, The Man rather enjoyed the nonsense which surrounded the betting news being made public.

My amusement was mainly based on listening to Neil Doncaster's exasperated reaction to the story.

Our austere chief executive was raging inside when he spoke to The Scrimmage on Thursday evening, bemoaning the fact Gibbo and Lamb had not come to the club first.

But what good would have come from the MPs coming to you first Neil, as you said the club had not been contacted by the Football Association, so you didn't know anything about it?

Furthermore, isn't our chief executive on a board at the FA? You'd have thought they'd have tipped him the wink earlier? So much for our new influence in the corridors of power…

It was all great theatre, and will ultimately result in a lame FA investigation that will find no evidence. It will be downgraded to a storm in a tea cup very quickly.

I know mud sticks, but right now The Man is more concerned about Norwich's chances of staying in the Championship; as opposed to the esteem with which we are currently held in the football fraternity. If opposition fans give us a bit of stick, then good. It might get some atmosphere going for once.

It is truly perverse, but I almost took pleasure from seeing 'little old' Norwich in the national news again. I'd given up on us ever making a return to the national sport pages, aside from Delia swaggering on the pitch and demanding more noise from the best fussball supporters in the world.

I had texts from friends who had forgotten Norwich City existed.

Yes, we are still here my friends! You couldn't get rid of us that easily.

What a hoot it is too that the three local MPs who keenly support the club - Ian Gibson, Norman Lamb and Charles Clarke - have all now seemingly fallen foul of the club's siege mentality.

The former two for daring to ask a question about something their constituents care about, and Clarke's boardroom standing has doubtless fallen for having the temerity to ask a billionaire Norwich fan to get involved with the club. How dare they the rascals? Don't they know unelected and unquestioned leadership is the rage these days?

On a serious note, The Man does rather tire of the club's touchy attitude towards the media.

When the times were good Delia was quite happy to dance on to the pitch to unveil Huckerby, but now the brown stuff keeps hitting the fan we never hear from her, aside from an obligatory sponsorship junket or the AGM.

I love the old gal but it's a bit like the Queen after Diana died (apologies Diana fans). Where are you?

The bottom line is the club will get a good Press if we are winning a few games, and a mixed one when we are losing.

Deal with it. Sulking and extolling a “them and us” attitude does no-one any favours.

Derby chairman Adam Pearson let the cat out the bag when he said - along with other ill-advised comments: “I was chatting to the chief executive at Norwich (Neil Doncaster) and it seems they (Gibson and Lamb) might have one or two issues with the club board.”

The club was thus forced into a quick PR salvage to job to say actually, everything is fine with the MPs, Mr Pearson must have got the wrong end of the stick (spin gone bad)...I wonder how that happened Mr Doncaster? All good fun though. OTBC


THE Man will confess he takes little pleasure in seeing Hull City doing so well.

Of course, my innate preference for the underdog meant I took amusement from their North London double, but that's as far as my compassion extended.

Radicalised miserabalist that I am, I take Hull's achievements more as a sharp example of our own failings, rather than as offering hope for the future.

And there is one particular aspect of the Hull Fairytale that is really starting to annoy me, and has done for a while.

It is the misconception, repeated by the BBC again this week, that Hull have achieved their evolution from fourth tier also-rans to world-beaters on a meagre budget.

Now doubtless, they have worked their way through the divisions on a modest and sensible transfer budget, but they have not been without a hugely significant helping hand.

This is the oft-ignored fact that Hull's new stadium - the development that sparked their success - was funded by a £42m cheque from their local council.

The club did not have to stump up a penny. I dare say Hull's balance sheets would look a damn sight less healthy if they'd had to pay for it themselves.

Sure, I don't think Hull own the stadium as an 'asset' - but it's not as if their local authority would ever kick them out.

The Man would wager that if our local council had paid for the development of the Barclay and Jarrold stands, as well as the infill, we'd be in a lot better shape than we are now. To think, we used to have to sweat blood just to get a safety certificate out of our lot.

I'm certainly not saying that taxpayers' cash should be used in this way, but the £42m handout is worth bearing in mind next time Hull are held up of a beacon of prudence.

While on the subject of things that have annoyed me this week, The Man noted that Wigan supremo Dave Whelan chirped up about debt in football, saying it had got out of control.

I'm sorry Mr Whelan, but if any clubs are responsible for the piecemeal escalation of wages (and therefore debt) in the Football League, it is cheque book ego-clubs like Wigan.

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