Worthy surrenders to inevitable pressure

Norwich City fans were today urged to pull together as the club begins its search for a new manager. After weeks of turmoil and disharmony among supporters, chief executive Neil Doncaster has called for a “united front” saying the club can now “look to the future with fresh hope”.

Norwich City fans were today urged to pull together as the club begins its search for a new manager.

After weeks of turmoil and disharmony among supporters, chief executive Neil Doncaster has called for a “united front” saying the club can now “look to the future with fresh hope”.

His calls come after under-fire manager Nigel Worthington was sacked following yesterday's 4-1 defeat at the hands of Burnley.

Mr Doncaster revealed that he had already received a number of enquiries about the vacant job and that work was now beginning to fill the position ahead of the next game away to QPR in two weeks' time.

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Speaking exclusively to the Evening News, he said: “It is absolutely vital that everyone pulls together and shows the unity which was such a part of what we achieved in previous seasons. We have got some important games coming up after a shot break and it is vital we go into these with a sense of purpose and community.

“I think the board did what needed to be done and now it is time for everybody to pull together and look to the future with fresh hope.

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“Today we are going to focus on what has happened. I have said that the process of finding a new manager now begins but I am not going to speculate as to who that might be.

“I have already received a large number of enquiries and expressions of interest.

“The club enjoys a fantastic level of support and the number of season tickets we have is the envy of a number of other clubs in the football league. It is important that we now move forward, get the right man in the job and get on with the business of turning this season around.

“I would like to pay tribute to what Nigel achieved, which will, in the fullness of time, be considered as magnificent achievements.”

Worthington was sacked two-and-a-half hours after yesterday's defeat, following six years at the helm, in which he took the club to the Premiership only to be relegated the next season.

The decision followed weeks of speculation about his future after a decent start to the season was marred by a run of five league games without victory.

Last week the board of directors, including joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, issued a warning that the manager had two games in which to turn the club's fortunes around following a 3-1 defeat away to Plymouth.

However, following yesterday's defeat, which was proceeded by a demonstration against Worthington attended by around 500 supporters, the board held a meeting and issued the statement confirming his departure. Meanwhile, an Evening News poll held last week found that 71pc of the 3,308 people who voted, agreed that it was time for Worthington to go.

Today, fans and former players agreed that Worthington's dismissal was the right move. They also gave their thoughts as to whom they would like to see installed in the vacant position.

Roy Blower, chairman of the Norwich City Independent Supporters Association, said: “We acknowledge all Nigel has achieved but unfortunately he is past his sell-by date. No one person is bigger than a football club. We had to get it right and release Nigel from his duties so the club can go forward.

“Hopefully the board will make the right appointment. It is difficult to know who would be a suitable replacement. One consideration is Alan Curbishley (the former Charlton manager) and there are others out there. Aidy Boothroyd took Watford up to the Premiership and no one would have thought that.”

Steve Cooke, from the Northern Canaries, said: “I am disappointed for Nigel as a person but we cannot carry on like this. In my opinion it should have happened last season.

“It was an awful game. I have no doubt we need to go to Blackburn Rovers and approach Mark Bowen. He played 399 times for Norwich in the halcyon days and he was assistant manager for Birmingham when they were at their best.”

Alex Warren from Waveney Yellows said: “It is a sad day but it is inevitable. It had to be done for all the right reasons. We have to move on. Only the board will know the right man. Alan Curbishley is the obvious one.”

Norwich South MP and Canaries season ticket holder Charles Clarke said: “I think this was the right decision but it is a sad day and I hope that everyone will recall the tremendous contribution that Nigel Worthington made to the club and the city.”

Ian Gibson, Norwich North MP, said: “He has had a warning for some time and it was going to be hard for Norwich to achieve premiership status without a new manager. I welcome the fact it represents Norwich wanting to be in the Premiership. I see Alan Curbishley as suitable replacement.”

Mark Burrows, season ticket holder from Norwich, said: “It is quite sad it has come to this and the way it happened wasn't very nice. Worthy was unable to motivate the players and so it was going to be difficult for him.

“I have still got a lot of time for him but to be honest he should have gone a year ago.

“I would like to see Mike Newell, the current Luton manager or Martin Allen, currently at MK Dons or Alex McLeish, the ex-Rangers manager.”

Chris Higgins, Canaries fan and landlord of the Trafford pub in Norwich, said: “It was inevitable after the performance today. With the ultimatum he was given I thought he might have walked. But I think this is more of a financial decision. Everyone is calling for Curbishley and my personal view is we really just need a breath of fresh air.”

Even Worthington himself said his sacking would be good for the club.

He said: “A fresh face for the football club and a fresh challenge for me will be good for both parties.”

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