Is it time for Norwich City manager Chris Hughton to go? Fans have their say
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Should he stay or should he go? That is the question on the lips of Norwich City fans, as pressure mounts on boss Chris Hughton after an FA Cup exit to Fulham made it eight games without a win.
And a poll on the PinkUn website gave a definitive answer, with 85% of 3,800 voters saying that the manager’s time was up.
Canaries chief executive David McNally claimed he would “prefer death than relegation”, but stopped short of giving Hughton his full and long-term backing.
He said: “He is preparing the team for Saturday’s game. The brief is to keep out of the bottom three and that is what we are doing.
“We will not contemplate relegation – in a sporting sense it is worse than death.”
Odds on Chris Hughton being the next manager to leave his job were shortening yesterday, though Southampton’s Mauro Pochettino remained the favourite.
6/5 – Mauro Pochettino
2/1 – Chris Hughton
8/1 – Sam Allardyce
12/1 – Paul Lambert
20/1 – Alan Pardew
The Next Norwich City manager
Evens – Malky MacKay
8/1 – Gianfranco Zola
9/1 – Mike Phelan
16/1 – Marcelo Bielsa
16/1 – Neil Lennon
The comments appeared to grant the manager a stay of execution until after the visit of Hull City to Carrow Road on Saturday, when attention will turn once more to top-flight survival, but lay out clearly the importance of survival in a league where each season brings an estimated £60m in television revenue.
City currently sit 15th in the Premier League, with 20 points from 21 games, two points above the relegation zone in a in cluster of 11 teams separated by six points.
But with the Canaries’ run-in looking ominous – they face Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in their last four games – fans are growing increasingly restless at the prospect of having to muster 20 points from the next 13 games to reach the 40-point tally that traditionally means safety.
Following the 3-0 defeat on Tuesday, social media was awash with fans calling for the manager’s head to roll.
Kathy Blake, a committee member of the Norwich City Supporters Trust, said she had been on the fence until recently, but that the capitulation at Craven Cottage felt like a tipping point.
She said: “I’m really low as far as being a Norwich City fan at the moment, and I feel that the only way to dispel the gloom is for a change of manager - but I wouldn’t want to do a West Brom and make the change before there was a plan B in place.
“I don’t think the players are performing for the manager, and once it’s got to that stage it’s very difficult to pull it back.”
Mr McNally’s comments on staying out of the relegation zone were a marked change from promise of mid-table security given to fans at the shareholders’ meeting in November, she added.
“It doesn’t look like anything’s going to happen before the weekend, so it looks like they’ve moved the goalposts to respond to a crisis,” said Mrs Blake.
Fans on the streets of Norwich were divided in their views yesterday, with blame for a lacklustre season split almost evenly between the players failing to produce on the pitch and a manager seemingly unable to motivate them.
John Pritchard, 79, retired electrical engineer, Hethersett. “I just think he’s done as much as he can. He’s got a set of players and I don’t think they’ve really gelled, and what’s happening is it’s having a psychological effect on him.”
Roger Chumbley, 67, retired director, Salhouse. “I think his time is up. It’s very troubling to not to see the players particularly motivated. They don’t look as if they are there for each other and I think that’s down to the manager.”
Ross Procter, 25, sales executive, city centre. “Norwich and all the teams down there are going to struggle and they are all going to be in the relegation fight. If they are calling for him to go, then all the other managers down there should go.”
Howard Hughes, 69, retired IT consultant, Riverside. “I think it’s the players’ fault. They are the ones who go out on the pitch, and they should get the results.”
Shawnice Seager, 21, full-time mum, Beccles “I was really happy with him at the start of the season but he’s kind of letting us down now. He’s focusing too much on defence. We need to score more goals.”
Chris Atkins, 52, retired electrician, city centre. “It’s time for him to go. He’s had plenty of time to sort the team out. It seems that they are in disarray at the moment.”