Somewhere in our house we`ve still got that kids` game called ‘Frustration`. You know it`s the one where you ‘pop` the plastic dome in the middle of the board to flip the dice before moving your coloured pieces round the track. With my children now grown up it`s a while since we played it and, to be completely honest, I can`t remember how frustrated it ever actually made me feel.
What I do know, though, is that supporting my beloved Norwich City is currently making me frustrated, very frustrated indeed. I think more than anything this is caused by the repetitive nature of the club`s on-field failings and, I suppose, my complete inability to do anything about it, other than to moan and write the odd angry article. The fact that my complete powerlessness seems to be matched by that of the manager only worsens the situation which, of course, is further exacerbated by the Board having apparently also been rendered impotent.
I have used the phrase ‘sleepwalking to relegation` several times recently and it does just about sum up what I feel is happening at the club. I am genuinely surprised that the Board has not acted; results have been unacceptable for several months and even though there have been a couple of improved recent performances we all know it`s only points that matter in David McNally`s ‘relegation worse than death` world.
So why has there been no action from the Board, nor even any comment from McNally until this evening (14th February) since he chose BBC Radio Norfolk on Wednesday January 15th to tell us how seriously the club viewed its plight?
Since then we have seen City score 2 goals in 5 games and manage 5 points, despite 3 of those games being against other relegation ‘rivals` and 1 against the freefalling Newcastle United. We have signed two thirtysomething players, one a defensive midfielder, the other a centre back yet look to be on course for an all-time low scoring Premier League record.
Yet despite happily using Twitter aggressively to make his point on occasion in the past, most notably after the away game at Stoke, the Chief Executive has ‘disappeared` from social media. The silence has been deafening.
One can only surmise that the Board has decided simply to sit back and hope for the best, suggesting that perhaps their tactics are dictated by Chris Hughton, too. In my view it`s a pretty dismal way to treat the fans who have stuck by the club in their thousands whether they`ve been playing in the top flight or League 1. How horribly insincere sound those Board members now with their ‘We`ve got the best supporters in the land` soundbites? If that`s what they think how can they sit back and do nothing whilst subjecting us to what many consider to be the worst football we`ve seen at Carrow Road for decades?
If Mr. McNally considers relegation ‘worse than death` then the Board`s inactivity can only be construed as some sort of ‘vote of confidence` in the manager. If it really is just about points, just about survival, then the Board must be of the opinion that Hughton and his staff are on the right track.
For my part, I just can`t see it. I`ve been calling for a change of manager for over 12 months now and if frustration is partly born, as I suggested earlier, out of powerlessness to change a situation, then it`s also a consequence of seeing the same mistakes repeated. Attacking players have been stifled until their confidence is undermined, wingers` crosses rarely find a target, one player seems ‘undroppable` despite having had more than the occasional ‘stinker` and, more importantly, the manager has demonstrated almost weekly that his ability positively to influence a game from the touchline is non-existent. That his substitutions in the most recent game against West Ham seemed to contribute decidedly to the opposition`s eventual success make the heartache even more difficult to endure.
Mr. McNally`s latest comments hint that Hughton could still be replaced this season since he has been told ‘the buck stops with him` but many of us think the Board should have acted weeks if not months ago. It is thus, I`m afraid, hard to believe McNally`s claim that those that run our club really are ‘aware of the strength of feeling amongst the club`s support`.
Those of us who pay our money week after week to follow the club deserve more.