Monday, April 07, 2014

Yellow fever

While some of the decisions taken at Newcastle are unfathomably stupid, I don't think even we have done anything quite as "bonkers" (to use Gary Lineker's term of choice on Twitter) as sacking our manager with five games of the season remaining and the team deep in relegation trouble. Hats off, then, to Norwich for dispensing with the services of our old boy Chris Hughton, who might have thought being hit on the head by a canary yellow clapper would be the final ignominy he'd suffer last weekend.

Hughton was sacked from his position on Tyneside in slightly different circumstances, though the decision seemed equally harsh at the time. At Carrow Road, as at St James' Park, he's conducted himself with dignity, avoiding the moaning, mind games and histrionics of other Premier League managers (our own included).

Norwich's home record has been decent of late - prior to Saturday's loss to West Brom, they were unbeaten in six matches, keeping clean sheets in five of those fixtures (against Man City, Spurs, Hull, the Mackems and ourselves). But on their travels they've been wretched, and last avoided defeat at Crystal Palace on New Year's Day.

Clearly all wasn't well, then, but while Hughton can't be absolved of all blame, the players need to have a long, hard look at themselves - especially those brought in for big money in the summer. The club's all-new strikeforce has been a spectacular failure, Ricky van Wolfswinkel in particular, while Toon loanee Spidermag has contributed next to nothing.

Hughton leaves his post with the commiserations of many, including his former 'keeper at St James' Park Steve Harper. Given that Norwich's remaining five fixtures are against arch relegation rivals Fulham and then Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal, and that they'll be guided by youth coach Neil Adams, a man with no managerial experience, the Canaries must now be favourites for the drop alongside Cardiff and the Mackems.

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