Halloween horror in store for boss at AGM
Beleagured manager Nigel Worthington will take little comfort from any of the films from the horror genre currently filling the television schedules, even if the nice guy always tends to survive. City fans, meanwhile, have been hiding behind their scarves for weeks.
Abject defeats to surprise early season success story Luton, and then to Championship makeweights Queens Park Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday, have made X-rated viewing for the Carrow Road faithful. A similar showing at home to Cardiff City on Tuesday night may see Worthington getting a rocket all of his own ahead of the weekend's fireworks, or a rash of grey-haired effigies on the bonfires of Norfolk.
The Norwich boss is sticking to his guns during what, relegation from the Premiership last season aside, represents his first genuine low in charge of East Anglia's finest. He continues to cite the fact that the club were in the same sort of position when he took over five years ago, a situation the Ulsterman turned around with a vengeance.
However, the fact that the Canaries find themselves back where they were when Worthington took charge is nothing for the manager to brag about. It could be, and is in many corners, said that the side has come full circle and must be refreshed from the top. The suspicion of this observer is that, were former City defender Steve Bruce to lose his job at Birmingham in the immediate future, the present incumbent at Colney may find himself a victim of bad timing.
Regardless of timing and history, should City slump to a fifth defeat in a row, a fourth in the league, against Cardiff, something must be done. The present run of fixtures should have represented a chance to pile up points as the side motored towards the top of the table. Instead, it has become a spirit-sapping demonstration of the limitations of the squad in the face of an admittedly long injury list.
The fans at Carrow Road have added their voices to those who registered their displeasure at Loftus Road, and now the ball is in the board's court. While it is true that, as Neil Doncaster said yesterday, Alan Pardew was given support to turn things around at West Ham last term, it is also true that other clubs that have risen from he ashes, like Crystal Palace and Leicester City, did so after changing manager around the turn of the year.
The backing given to the management by Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones this week was strong, but would surely have been said with the expectation of three points at home to Sheffield Wednesday. Cardiff City represent a more difficult proposition, and the cliched vote of confidence may come back to haunt the Norwich board as they face a decision of whether to throw out their likeable gaffer with the pumpkins.