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We stand on the brink . . . .

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What I find very strange is the situation we now find ourselves in. Again things are not going smoothly with the club and the message board fills with people who have never posted before or posted once or twice when City have had a ban run or two.

What have they crept out of the woodwork for? Because the results are not going our way? Or because they are unhappy with something else?

I don''t think the manager is solely to blame.

We knew at the end of last season that whether up or down the playing staff would have to be changed considerably if we were going to progress as a football club.

For example we knew that some players would jump ship, others were simply not up to the job anymore and the whole team would need re-working.

The squad has changed drastically in the last two seasons when before only minor tweaks had been made.

I think the changes this summer, although essential and unavoidable have shaken the squad up to the point that it may take a season for them all to settle in - and this is not unusual. West Ham were exactly the same.

And there is the other issue. Two seasons ago people came to this board to say how unhappy they were with the Hammers'' supporters attitude that suggested that they had some undying right to be promoted as champions and that they were a big fish in a small pond.

Perhaps their fans learnt that lesson, to me it seems some of ours are just about to . . . .

Am I blind in support of my club? No. I am not saying that everything is good and I am happy with the results - because I am not. But the first thing I want to do is have a look at the whole beast and see if there is more than the obvious wrong with it.

We currently sit six or seven points off the play-offs. Thats not exactly a mountain to climb. It is totally possible for things to be turned around.

For people to question Worthingtons ability as a manager is just ridiculous - he turned a repeatedly inconsistant and underperforming team into play-off finalists in one season. That speaks for itself.

I don''t think people can say that Worthington was that far off the mark in the premiership either - we were in command on the last day of the season and the players did not turn up to fight for the fans - as it turns out half of them had their eye on a get-away.

The club at the moment, in my mind is suffering a hang-over. The fans feel that the world owes them a trip straight back up to the premiership (or at least some of them do). Maybe some of the players do too. The team is finding it hard to work as a team and to scrap out those points that are indeed hard fought.

Thats the difference - two seasons we did not have the footballing team we have today but we had players more than capable of rolling their shirts up and digging in. Mackay, Fleming and Edworthy may not have been the quickist or most able defence but little seemed to squeeze past them. And for all of the complaints about his passing Holt was always solid.

My advice to Worthington would be to look to that season for inspiration, play Hux upfront with Ashton - Brennan out on the left and make sure Hughes sits tight and breaks up play like we know he can. I would be tempted to play Jarrett out on the right too just to add weight to the side or possible play Louis-Jean or Colins there when both are fit.

I still think things can be turned around whether that be by Worthington or a new manager - the problem is that Worthington must be given the chance because in theory he can turn it around much quicker than a new manager who would need time to get to know the players and the staff and the club.

What the team needs now is patience - not pressure.

After all Rome was not built in a day!

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A nice post with some good points, but I have to disagree with the team selection. Hux and Ashton doesn''t work up front, we know that, and Brennan is just awful anywhere in midfield.

I''m not saying that Worthy is a bad manager, I simply feel that it is time for a change. He has taken us as far as possible, and has possibly lost the dressing room (Megson last year.) After every win, I become a stupidly optimistic fan, and you''re right, we can definitely make up 6-7 points, IF we play anywhere near our potential.

That is where the problem lies. Can you really see us turning it round? We just don''t seem to care. I thank Worthy for his services, and ask him to step down.


Worthy OUT

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Beautiful Chicken (two words I NEVER thought to put together!)

Well argued and clearly stated opinions. Nice to see the pro side put as eloquently as the anti, for once.

I suspect you''ll be pulled up by people who''ll, rightly, point out their long-standing opposition to Worthy. This shouldn''t, however, detract from the remainder of the post, which echoes many of my own thoughts on the topic.

I feel the players are not being criticised enough for their shambolic performances. Whilst some may argue that the manager is responsible for how we approach each game, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the players are suffering from a bad case of Hamiltonitis (ie talking a good game). Had the players been prepared to lay their bodies on the line - or at least tried to get to the line - against many of our recent opponents, we would not have had nearly as many complaints, IMO.

I watched a rare MOTD last Sunday morning (rare as in I usually sleep through it!) and was struck by the desire and aggression, the raw will to win, on display in the Premiership. Never mind the quality of the footy, the thing that shone through, for me, was the complete opposite of what''s being served up by our team at present. They fail to convince me that there is a real desire to compete, at present. You have a couple up front, Hughes and Safri in midfield and the Ginger Pele in defence. Whenever any of these are missing, like at Molineux, the heart seems to be non-existent.

I don''t believe the team are being sent out after being told ''just try to enjoy yourselves, lads!'', they look like a team of Mulrynes when we need a team of Holts (attitude-wise, lets not get side-tracked by ability). Footballers should be largely self-motivating people, if they can''t be bothered to try then they should be dropped. I''m sure some would be bench-warming at present, if it weren''t for injuries.

For those who think it''s Worthington''s fault that we have such a small squad, I disagree. Recent threads have shown what his targets were, in numbers if not by name, and I doubt he''s changed his views on how many players he''d like to work with. The only explanation is that he''s been baulked in his pursuit of players. This may be because of outside influences, such as agents, or other clubs refusing to play ball. It may also be because the Board wouldn''t release the necessary funds. We all know that Worthy has to work with the budget he''s allocated and that he''ll not rebuke the Board publicly, because of our ''togetherness''. If we don''t all start showing a bit more togetherness, then we can''t complain if cracks appear elsewhere in the network. A blame culture is not a nice place to live.

I''ve rambled on more than I meant to, sorry. I''m off for a pint.

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Good points made here, where a balanced view - rather than jumping on the bandwagon - has been taken.

In addition to the above, if local press reports are true, Francis gave up his interest in the club as early as February (we all witnessed the poor games he had in the latter part of the season and he might as well have not been at Fulham). Then to point blank refuse to play for the club 10 days before the new season must in itself have been disruptive to all concerned. Of the other exits - most with the exception of Svennson didn''t really set the world alight did they? - and they should have done given their pedigree.

Yes we know the squad is thin and has been decimated by injuries, but who knows the exact financial constraints put on the Managers shoulders re the possible purchase of players? The difference between what he would have liked as opposed to what he had to settle for re additional/replacement resources only Worthy and his coaching team will know. If such conditions did exist and exist now then the same would apply to any other manager put in as a replacement.

Of course the club could have spent money regardless and added to that large but managable debt. Our friends down the A140 at Portman Road have had their accounts published today with even worse financial figures and some people are talking of a takeover. They run the risk of someone buying into the club from Eastern Europe etc. and then what happens? So far as NCFC is concerned give me Michael and Delia any day and we should not forget the superb work both of them have done for the club and what a sensible chap Roger Munby has always seemed to be.


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Great thread chicken. You''re clearly not one of the headless variety that seems to have been flapping round these boards of late...

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Chicken - ''He should be given time to turn it around''. He''s won 12 matches in the last 50-odd, how much more time does he want??!!

Canary Nut -  "Our friends down the road" are 4 points above us in the table with a paper-thin squad that boasts no players of the calibre of Green, Hucks, Ashton or Safri (as well as a manager that is regularly described on our Boards as "a complete numpty".) How do you explain that, if it''s not down to Worthington''s ineptitude. 

And don''t talk about financial constraints, given the money that he''s wasted on Jarrett and Hughes. What a joke; a decent manager would have bought more wisely with the same money. Football agents must love us.    

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Found my way into this particular thread fearing a pro/anti-Worthington rant but was pleasantly surprised at the measured and clearly well thought out comments by all - ensuring that the theme of the thread didn''t come across as either anti or pro Worthers but more concerned with the facts for the current situation with our beloved Club. A credit to all the posters concerned and a jolly good and balanced read.

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I don''t think that you can under-estimate the disruption & frustration that was caused by Francis being ''unwilling'' to play in the latter games & then striking during the pre-season games - what effect did that have on the rest of the players? It was extremely frustrating for the supporters (clearly not going un-noticed, as I''m sure was what he wanted).

This obviosly took its toll on all concerned and although he is laughing and making all sorts of detrimental comments about NCFC now, I believe he is more than an insignificant contributor to the fact that the team did not come out all-guns-blazing this season and the subsequent down-ward spiral.

It''s amazing how a small virus can spread into a full-blown case of canary-flu!

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Some very sensible stuff here, it really reinforces how its a combination of sometimes subtle factors which contribute to a situation.

However I can''t get away from the fact that its the manager who has to live up to his job title and actually manage properly. If Francis was unsettled in Feb then was it really wise to let him play a key role in the run-in? If others wanted to go by the time of the Fulham game should they have made the team?

Maintaining morale and integrating the team is the greatest skill a manager could possess. Sadly ours is found lacking in these key competencies.

The attitude of the Board didn''t help either- frankly I found it embarrassing when Delia did her giggly little girl lost act whenever she was interviewed and we looked like small time charlies, like a non-league team in the third round of the FA Cup. Contrast this with Karen Gold of Birmingham who when they got promoted said they would do everything they could to stay up. They are still there while our Board adopts the little Norwich persona and lead us to the wilderness.

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Why is it that when someone call for patience or KTF it is a "balanced view" or jumping on the bandwagon?

In response to the original post frankly its another example of the kind of head in the sand attitude that has allowed Worthy to remain at the club so long despite almost a season and a half now of persistent failure. Having seen your team selection I have to question whether you have actually watched us this season?

Hucks up front with Ashton - DOES NOT WORK!!!!!!

Brennan on the left - Brennan is awful - he has been a reserve for the last few seasons so why is he suddenly good enough now?

Jarrett on the right - did you not see the Millwall game?

Few other points:

West Ham never sunk to the depths we have at the start of this season. They also lost a lot more big name players than we have.

I don''t think any Norwich fans are saying we have a right to automatic promotion but we do have a right to see our team play with some semblance of nous and ability. We should be challenging for top six at the very least and if our squad is not good enough for that then that in itself is inexcusable!

Why did we need wholesale changes to the staff? Jonson did not want to go. All we needed was a couple of CMs, a RW and CB in my view and we would have had a very strong side. We could have kept Eddy who did not want to go and would have done a job. We should have kept Crowe as back up to the strikers.

Yes Worthy did well in the playoff season and the promotion season (although we were rather lucky in both and in the playoff season still lost 19 games). However he has demonstrated a total lack of ability ever since we got to the premiership from which point we have been rather shambolic.

If you think we are now a "footballing team" as opposed to our playoff or promotion team then I would again question whether you have watched us recently.

How many more chances do you give a manager before its too late and we are stuck down the bottom with no chance of making a surge for the playoffs?

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I note chicken you stated worthy can''t be questioned because
he turned a struggling and inconsistent side into the play
offs in one year.

Struggling and inconsistent last time I checked the league table
we were just that a struggling and inconsistent side, that''s five
years in charge and no long term sense of progress. You
talk about restructuring over the summer but if we were that
good as you said last season we wouldn''t have had to do that
much re-shaping. What about the players brought in have we
really strengthened the squad over the summer.
And at what point is the manager not to blame for this, does
he not buy the players, pick the team, you can''t credit him
for turning the team around and then saying he''s blameless
for the current situation. These are worthy''s players, he''s invested
more money than any other manager in club history, and has over the last eighteen months one of the worst serious of results of managers in the

we can''t live in the past, we have to look at the now, under what circumstances
do look like turning it around, the players, the tactics and the
give us no encouragement whatsoever. We don''t stand on any brink we are
all ready past it,I admire your posts but fail to see what
evidence of anything this season has given you encouragement. There is a
fine line between faith and being blind.

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Tumbleweed - " If Francis was unsettled in Feb then was it really wise to let him play a key role in the run-in? If others wanted to go by the time of the Fulham game should they have made the team?"
I have to take issue with this part of an otherwise faultless post. I can just imagine what the response would have been to dropping Francis - our best central midfielder, scores goals, gets forward in support, wins important tackles. What does that idiot think he''s doing not playing Francis?

Who would have believed (pre-Fulham) that a professional footballer would be capable of such a crass attitude, one that allowed him to almost ensure our defeat at Fulham, merely to advance his chances of getting a move. If we''d stayed up he would still have been looking to go as his agent convinced him we were just too small-time for his ''talent''.

We had few options during that run-in, most agreed we''d finally got our best line-up performing to the required standard. To drop players who''ve since moved, on the off-chance that the subs would improve the team, would have been even more suicidal than relying on Francis'' commitment proved to be.

Rich - I don''t believe the manager has been allowed to replace the departed players as he would''ve wished to. Aside from the Francis money coming too late to be reinvested, he said he wanted to increase his squad size by 5 players in August. We ended up with fewer than before - surely not by his choice, or design? Perhaps the blame should be spread a little wider than just Worthy''s shoulders?

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Ahhh,Rich my old adversary and seasoned anti Worthington supporter.

I think you will find that I left the door open as to whether Worthington should go or not and also that the period that I suggested was unquestionable being the season he took over to the season of promotion.

Personally I would not say that Worthington is a bad manager.

Yes he was forced to make whole-sale changes in the summer. The season we went up we had more, lets say, experienced players than we do now.

The summer was always going to be about investing in long term solutions - not just the old players that we signed in the hope they had enough left in them to keep us up.

Jonson, Svensson, Helveg, Mackay, Holt and Edworthy just to mention a few, were all 30+ and either wanted instant success or just were not up to the cut of the prem.

Now was the ideal time to switch things around a bit - one because as mentioned some of those players had come to the end of their shelf life in green and yellow and two because we have more stability.

Collins was a good investment, and it does not surprise me that we are signing younger players on loan now that may be more tempted by first team oppertunities and a move away than older players who think that they can get a better club like Helveg etc.

Our squad isnt big - but then neither are many of the other clubs in this division.

I make no excuses, merely suggest that if Worthington is to go it should be for the right reasons and with great respect for how much success he has brought to the club.

To me he has worked miracles where others could not even raise us more than five places in the table. Rioch for all the bad words thrown at him did actually manage to get us to finnish in the top half of the table which is more than I can say about previous managers.

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I refer back to my original post and some of us share the same sentiments and are trying to reason as to what factors have affected the overall situation.

On the subject of Damien Francis, couldn''t he have hidden his real intentions of ''getting away'' until the close season so that most people within the club were unaware? I am suggesting that perhaps this did not come to a head until the close season as already described. Yes, there were ongoing rumours about him going to Charlton, and also about Greeno and Ashton but there will always be rumours won''t there?

I also remember reading that by ''holding'' out for a while longer on his transfer, Worthington actually gained the club some money as the bid from Wigan was greater than the dosh offered by Portsmouth. How much have things like this been shared amongst us? The club were faced with a potential disruptive situation whilst he stayed here and as already said who knows how this affected the preparation for the season.

I am not trying to make excuses for the situation we find ourselves in, nor am I saying that no-one at the club is at fault, but have we taken into account the loss of Steve Foley for most/all of the close season and the lead up to this season? Some of you might say so what? but the loss of the first team coach and whatever ideas/methods he would have contributed to were missing.

Is it at the end of it all bad luck with for example the above instances, new players coming in and taking time to settle, the numerous injuries we have had, a resultant midfield that changes week to week, with an element of (in hindsight) people (including the Manager) at the club admitting one or two things could have been done better? We do not know the full story but from what we do know wouldn''t most clubs have suffered or at least noticed the difference?

I am merely trying to be objective about it all and to try and reason it all out.............difficult I know!   

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Barman- yes you are right there would have been an adverse reaction had Francis been dropped. However a manager needs to be strong and if there is someone underperforming because he is interested in going elsewhere seems to me the manager should either (a) drop him to the bench as back up only or (b) use his motivational skills to show that player that by playing BETTER he might actually gain himself an even bigger slice of transfer cash or a bigger club. I can''t recall who we had as a fill-in back then (old age I guess) as there have been so many changes, but it shows the scale of the problem that we were hamstrung by one bad egg.

It just goes to show how the little things all added together and left unresolved make a big problem. The point about Steve Foley is also valid, but its still a mystery to me what they do at Colney so its hard to judge the effect.

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hey chicken,
this is good reasoned arguement which we probably didn''t do enough in the past, which was primarily my fault. I agree with a lot of the points canarynut makes about other circumstances,the loss of foley has had an impact as has the weak coaching staff we have in place and the loss of players.
The thing I would say about the summer is that worthy had the chance to turn it around and never did, I like the buys of Colin and Hughes, but also worry about the buys we didn''t make, quality players like KOumas were available and we never seemed to even be in the market for them. I think were paying for a badly planned summer in which players were bought to late and coaching and fitness prep seemed to be bad or misguided. I would lay this blame at worthy as I don''t really accept injuries as an excuse as everyone gets them and it''s all about how you make and manage a squad,something I feel Nigel is failing on.
We''ll wait and see if we can turn it around, just wish we were playing this saturday and not a stupid friendly week.

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