After Norwich City’s humiliating 5-0 thumping to Brighton and old boss Chris Hughton, many Canaries fans have hit the panic button, some even calling for Alex Neil’s head. So what exactly is going on at Carrow Road?
Alex Neil received the manager of the month award after an impressive four league wins from five in September. Crucially though that one defeat came in a dramatic late collapse to league leaders Newcastle, who trailed 3-1 only to snatch victory with two very late goals.
However any problems appeared to be fixed with back to back wins against Wolves and Rotherham. No win in four since has caused unrest amongst the fanbase, with many criticising the manner of performances as opposed to the results themselves, which came to a boil in the quite frankly embarrassing defeat to promotion rivals Brighton.
Canaries captain Russell Martin gave an honest and depressing interview after, “Too many lads gave up,” which begs the question whether the dressing room has been split?
Upon his arrival from Hamilton Academical just under two years ago Neil could do no wrong, leading City up through the playoffs, however it was in the Premier League where his tactical nous and experience first began to be questioned.
The continued reliance on long serving defensive squad players such as Ryan Bennett, Sebastian Bassong, Stephen Whittaker and even captain Russell Martin is something that should have been addressed this summer, despite attacking talent in abundance there is always a sense that there is a mistake waiting to happen at the back.
This in particular is one failing which the club needs to address, failing to back their manager, leaving it too late in the transfer market or splashing on expensive unproven flops have been regular trends in recent transfer windows.
Norwich fans should however not forget where they have been in more recent times, from the toxic atmosphere under Glenn Roeder ultimately leading to relegation to League One in 2009. Spoilt with success and regular seasons in the Premier League the club is finally in a position where the fans are demanding smart investment to secure a regular top flight spot.
Saturday’s home match against Leeds is huge in terms of Neil regaining the support of some doubters or losing the remaining backers. Perhaps some perspective is needed with the Canaries still very much in contention for an automatic promotion spot and with what has only been a seemingly short blip in an otherwise succesful start to the season.