Spring has sprung, things are stirring, it’s warm, sunny and bright. There are shoots of recovery showing for Norwich too, though they’re hard to see at the moment. Clare Thomas and Richard Jeffery look forward to a possible warm, bright and hopeful future.
RJ: Well, Norwich lost away, again. We lost to an organised, well-coached, vibrant, spirited and hungry Huddersfield team (team being the operative word). They were driven by the tempting promise of promotion. That was us not so long ago, which is probably why it hurts so much now. Our visitors on Saturday (Reading) will be as motivated as Huddersfield. I fully expect a repeat result too.
According to the reaction to the game on social media, and the worries about our old failings that it brought up again, we’ve never had it so bad. But we have, haven’t we, and indeed much worse?
CT: We have indeed. Far, far worse. However, I think people are reacting like this because that we haven't had it this bad in over ten years. Some of our fans were barely out of nappies then. And others' memories are not as sharp as they used to be.
All football clubs go through highs and lows; it is impossible to stay at the top forever. Look at Man Utd. Of course, we would swap with them in a heartbeat, but it is all relative. Getting relegated to League One with a team of loanees who couldn't care less, was the lowest point I can recall. Mind you, we now have a team of permanent players who don't seem to care less, and they are harder to get rid of...
RJ: I do understand those concerns though (and share them). After all, we have been poorly run for some time now, on and off the pitch, we have been wasteful in the process and are in danger of not having much to show for our Premier League money. But… Despite this season being an utter embarrassment/disaster/shambles* we still aren’t that far off the play-offs, not that I’m suggesting we’ll make them this season. So we do have something to build on, all is not lost.
*delete as applicable
CT: I am very keen on keeping a sense of perspective in life. And in football. Yes, things have gone a bit awry behind the scenes, but poorly run, when you see clubs like Coventry and Blackburn and Leyton Orient? We don't compare.
There is no disputing this season is an utter embarrassment/disaster/shambles*. But the Board are showing positive signs of getting things back on track. The easy option would have been just getting a new manager in. But they have clearly identified bigger issues; they had the Balls to get rid of Jez Moxey early, and undertake a massive restructuring. We headhunted and got Stuart Webber. I like that, seeing someone doing a great job and getting them. It's got a whiff of McNally about it. I hope they follow suit with the new head coach, which is why there is no point in rushing the decision. Good managers will already be employed and doing a good job; and probably won't want to move clubs with only a month to go. But come the end of the season...who knows who might suddenly be more available? Our season is over, but hope is on hold, not lost. A summer of ins and outs, and a new man in charge...bring on August.
*all currently applicable
RJ: Yes. And really the big, glaring and urgent issue is our defence. We are one of the top scorers in the division but also have one of the most porous defences. Sort that out, and we’re on the right track. I’d like to think Webber has seen enough from last night so if he wasn’t already aware, the big defensive worry klaxon in his head will have been going off. The only one of our defence I’d keep is Pinto, I’d try and get Dijks to sign, but he’s not ours at the moment. So that’s where the bulk of the ins and outs need to be as far as I’m concerned.
CT: I think the kit man at Rotherham could figure out we need a new defence, let alone Webber. Even that pigeon Jonny rescued probably knows. I would agree, keep Pinto and desperately try and convince Big Mitch that his future lies in Norfolk (good luck with that one Mr Webber). But the rest of the sorry lot of them need to go, and regretfully that includes Timm. I don't think our woes are solely isolated to the defence; we need a bit of a shake up in the middle of the park too, bar Jonny. But we certainly have attacking players capable of having a successful campaign next season who we should build the rest of the team around.
RJ: Ah, Timm. Sobs. Maybe, just maybe… What I’ve heard about Webber and what he’s said gives me huge encouragement that we’ve made a good decision about the new structure, and have made a good choice in appointing him as Sports Director (Footballs), or whatever his title is. He makes the point about those structures working in Germany and how well it worked with Huddersfield on a smaller budget than we have. We have no choice but to try and do things by a different model if we want to be competitive. There will be lots of teams with more money than us in this division next season and more coming down from the Premier League as well. Our recruitment has been poor for several seasons now and we’re now really starting to suffer from it. Also, watching Huddersfield’s team against our collection of individuals lacking direction and purpose shows what can be done.
CT: To be fair I think most teams seem to be lacking decent defenders, it appears to be a dying profession. So we are all hunting for the same players, and while we all know our own issues lie in needing a new defence, actually getting one might prove complicated. I am not concerned about having no money. We seem to do better when we have to work within a tight budget. Give us loads of cash and we are like Michael Carroll spending his lottery winnings. Terrible at it.
If Webber can help guide us away from this nadir in the same way that McNally did, then we are looking forward to a rosy future. For a few years at least. I think we may have reacted to this downward spiral just in time, before it became terminal.
RJ: Yes, we may just have done. Certainly, the Board have come in for a lot of criticism, a great deal of it justified. There has, however, been a lot of ill thought-out criticism from people who should know better and from blowhards who don’t know better and are just seeking attention. I think this change is the result of the Board recognising that they’ve been getting it wrong and don’t know what else to do apart from admitting that things have to change and that they need help. That’s admirable, so many people in all walks of life will soldier on refusing to accept that they could possibly be wrong or need help and just keep making things worse. Hopefully, having given Webber ‘free rein’, they will just leave him to it. I’m excited to see who the new head coach will be, who do you reckon? Shall we put our CVs in?
CT: I'm not sure my CV would impress them much. I haven't played Football Manager. You go for it though, Rich.
The Board did a lot wrong. But as you say, they have realised they were at fault and they are now doing a lot right. It takes a lot of guts to remove a well-known CEO after just six months and then to restructure the club. If this doesn't work out then no one can fault them for trying to be forward-thinking and doing something new. The problem is, people want instant changes and results, and life just isn't like that.
Let Webber do his job now. Which is bringing in a brilliant manager who wins us the league by 20 points next season. Anything less and it's a failure.
No pressure Stuey.