Tempers flare after Norwich City FC suffer home defeat and creep closer to relegation zone
07:58 06 April 2014
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There were angry scenes at full-time at Carrow Road today, as Norwich City Football Club suffered a major blow to their relegation fight.
The Canaries lost by one goal to fellow Premier League strugglers West Bromwich Albion, prompting chants of “we want Hughton out” at the end of the game.
Once again the club had provided fans with yellow cardboard clappers in a bid to whip up vocal support for the team.
But the dismal performance on the pitch left some supporters feeling angry enough to toss the clappers onto the grass during the last 10 minutes of the game.
After four minutes of extra time, the boos rang out around the ground and the ugly scenes continued as goalkeeper John Ruddy climbed over the barrier into the Lower Barclay to remonstrate with one fan.
The fan in question later rang BBC Norfolk’s Canary Call, using the name Nick, to apologise and said both he and Ruddy were obviously passionate about the team. He said his criticism had not been aimed at Ruddy, but at the 10 players in front of him.
As the crowd poured outside the ground, a handful of supporters gathered outside the main entrance to the Geoffrey Watling City Stand to call for manager Chris Hughton to get the sack.
Robin Sainty, who is on the board of the Norwich City Supporters Trust, said in his opinion this afternoon’s events were “massively disappointing” in every way.
He said: “It was massively disappointing not just the fact that we lost but the nature of it. I just never thought we gave ourselves a chance of winning.”
In terms of the angry scenes at the end which saw fans throw clappers onto the pitch in disgust and goalkeeper John Ruddy confront one fan after the game, Mr Sainty said it was a sign of the frustration of being a football fan in that you cannot change anything from the stands – although he did not condone it.
He said: “To be honest a few people aren’t going to be too proud of themselves when they think of what happened at the end. When you see John Ruddy diving into the crowd because of what’s been said it’s not good and people throwing stuff onto the pitch will probably get us a fine. I think the reality of relagation has finally hit home today. I think we’re probably going to go down.”
And with calls for manager Chris Hughton to go following the game Mr Sainty said that although he thought the board had “left it to late to make any meaningful change ” with just five games left to play he thought maybe a change of manager might give the club a “bit of a bounce”.
He said: “I think we’re running out of ideas.”
Neville Townsend, from Forces 2 Canaries supporters group, described today’s game as a “shocking display” and said the scenes at the end were as a result of the frustration fans felt.
He said: “They played alright up until the West Brom goal and then heads dropped. The fans got frustrated towards the end – we were never going to score. “We didn’t have a plan B and don’t have a plan B with Chris Hughton and the fans reacted.”
Mr Townsend said although it was not excusable that things were thrown onto the pitch he said it was borne out of frustration and thought the remarks which angered John Ruddy were probably aimed at the team and not at the City number one.
He said: “John Ruddy was one of the few that did okay today and he showed a bit of passion – it’s a pity the other 10 didn’t.”
In terms of sacking the City boss after today’s display, Mr Townsend said he thought it was “too late.”
He said: “It’s too late for him to go but the writing was on the wall since Hull away at the beginning of the season. We’re stuck with him now until the end of the season but he’s not for Norwich.”
Upper Barclay season ticket holder Mel Lacey said: “I have been a supporter for about 50 years and I have never ever felt this frustrated. I got frustrated with Nigel Worthington’s reign at the end but not as bad as this.
“Chris Hughton is hanging on to his job because everyone says he’e a nice guy. He might be a nice guy, but he’s not performing to the level he should be performing at in the Premier League.
“I think we are going to be relegated because I can’t see us winning the matches we have got left.
“I can’t imagine that players wouldn’t want to win a game but looking at the way they played, what were they thinking?
“They weren’t concentrating, there was no commitment and no energy.”