The comprehensive 3-0 dismantling of Derby County on Monday will have sent a jolt of delight through the Norwich City boardroom after the recent grim run of defeats.
The Board have stuck with Alex Neil and no doubt will feel that this emphatic win proves them right. It doesn’t prove anything, of course.
One swallow, blah, blah, blah and it’s nowhere near summer yet. Where the club will be next summer is an unknown variable but even if there is a mercurial rise up the league and a winning of the play-offs, Alex Neil would still be our manager.
It’s now transfer window time and the second most important of the transfer windows. A chance for underperforming teams to try to add some life into a struggling season and a chance for those chasing promotion to add that extra quality to get them over the line.
We of course come into the first category and that Derby win will mean that Alex Neil will preside over this window.
Norwich so comprehensively outplayed Derby, even before Jacob Butterfield was sent off, that the performance will have bought Neil a whole load more time and that will mean his decision making will direct transfer dealings this month.
It’s not ideal, as most of the Canary faithful would agree but we are seemingly stuck with him. Had he lost both the Brentford and Derby games then there would’ve been uproar at this point among the fans but four points from those two games would be seen at Boardroom level as ‘corner turning.’
Don’t get me wrong, I left Carrow Road on Monday having had a great afternoon out. I witnessed the best performance of the season and thoroughly enjoyed the football that my team played. Wes Hoolahan and Nelson Oliveira ensured that we all went home with smiles on our faces.
I truly hope that this is a real corner turning moment and that this sort of performance can become the norm, instead of the stuttering, lacklustre stuff we’ve seen so far.
Clearly, there are still problems within the group and with Alex Neil and assuming all that I hear is correct, with his relationships with his players. It will be a big ask for Neil to replicate this regularly, I suspect, especially with the level of arrogance that he showed after the game when he spoke with the EDP’s Paddy Davitt.
He reminded Paddy that he won the manager of the month award and then has been the ‘victim of a witch hunt’ ever since. That suggests to me that he feels he has been unfairly targeted and criticised, which couldn’t be further than the truth.
If, by some miracle, Norwich City were promoted then we’d have the unpalatable situation of Neil leading us into another Premier League season with his lack of tactical nous and man management skills. You can be sure the board wouldn’t sack the man they’d backed all along and proven them right, so we’d be back in the same routine as last time.
One win isn’t a corner turned but we’re going to have to get used to Neil sticking around because I’ll tell you now – he’s going nowhere.