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Candy Floss Club

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  1. As the fat lady clears her throat we can expect the Chief Executive to pronounce on how important it is for the club to ‘bounce straight back’. Money will be available and everything put in place to enable the club to return to ‘where we belong’. Then next Sunday choruses of ‘I’m City till I die’ will punctuate the fat lady’s song if she hasn’t already left the stage. And many will look forward to the embarrassingly puerile rivalry of the fixtures against Ipswich. The truth is that Norwich is returning to where it belongs. The Championship is packed with clubs of similar size or bigger than Norwich, most operating under the delusion that they also belong in the Premier League. But in an age of the mega rich the top league is increasingly becoming a place where billionaire owners rule. In such an environment a club like Norwich is always going to be struggling against relegation and what is the point of that? Delia was right; we are little Norwich and a correspondingly realistic perspective is required. So look on Millwall at home on a wet Tuesday in November as just a bit of fun or don’t bother at all.
  2. So with 5 games to go Chris Hughton is sacked ostensibly for a series of away defeats and the gaining of only 4 points from the last 6 games.  It is a real shame that Mr McNally wasn''t equally attentive to the facts before.  Then he may have noticed that in all last season only 2 away wins were achieved, that from mid-December to mid-February Norwich took only 4 points from 9 games, and that in the final 21 games there were just 4 wins in total - one a lucky win against Everton and the last two matches of the season when the opposition had nothing to play for.  This season has continued in similar vein.  The truth is we have watched uninspiring, slow, predictable football in all but a handful of matches over two seasons now and the sacking should have been done long ago.  The decision to wield the axe now is as much to do with the position of Mr McNally and the board as it is Chris Hughton.  After Saturday''s defeat against WBA the odds on relegation shortened dramatically and the prospect of supporters turning their anger in McNally''s direction became a real possibility.  With the sacking the water has been muddied and the club''s position can be defended no matter what happens now.  Whatever their games we can only hope that in the games that matter Norwich can pick up enough points to avoid the drop.  Then he can claim what he likes. 
  3. In 2011-2012 Norwich achieved 5 wins and 5 draws away from home collecting a total of 20 points on the road.  In the 35 away matches since then Norwich have won 4 times with a total haul of just 21 points.  The current squad, on paper at least, is the strongest since returning to the Premier League.  So why the abysmal performances away from home, each one it seems plumbing new depths of ineptitude?  Writing off virtually half a season''s fixtures is always going to make surviving in the Premier League problematic.  The players interviewed after each defeat always sound dejected and dispirited and seek safety in the cliche of ''working harder to put things right on the training pitch''.  Their responses and the record point to a deep problem.  Last Saturday in a Match of the Day interview Tony Pulis commented after Palace''s victory over Chelsea - my players, most of whom have never played in the Premier League, buy into what we are trying to do.  Do the Norwich players ''buy into'' the set up away from home?  Clearly the approach has failed consistently despite all the hard work.  Or is it simply that failure begets failure and there is no one to provide the inspiration and belief to break the circle. 
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