David McNally knows the cost of Premier League failure for Norwich City
08:10 08 April 2014
David McNally knows the cost of failure but Norwich City’s chief executive is in no doubt Neil Adams can finish the job Chris Hughton started and keep the Canaries in the Premier League.
McNally is adamant the club’s board have made the right call to dismiss Hughton and put their faith in City’s former player and FA Youth Cup winning coach. Norwich have five games to seal their top flight status ahead of this weekend’s trip to Fulham and McNally knows he and the rest of the club hierarchy will be judged on the final outcome.
“You have to accept if you are in a business and you are having a difficult spell you must take responsibility, whether you are the chief executive, the owner or the manager,” he said. “I accept my responsibility and I take it seriously. If we go down, and let me make it clear we are not going down, will I take my share of responsibility? Will I resign? That would be a matter for me to discuss with the board, but I am well aware of my own responsibility.
“The reaction has been interesting. If you look at the national media they say we are bonkers. Local media are broadly supportive and a lot of Norwich City supporters have been urging us to make this decision sooner. We’re only here for two things, the football club and the supporters, and we are here to serve them. We will do everything we can as often as we can with our supporters at the very forefront of any decisions we take.”
McNally confirmed at Colney on Monday Adams is in pole position to succeed Hughton beyond this season should he successfully guide the Canaries to safety.
“First things first we need to get through to the end of the season and cement our position in the Premier League. We need to do that above all other things,” he said. “Really it is up to Neil now to make sure he is the manager for the long term. We know results will dictate whether that happens or not. Let’s get through to May 12 and take things from there. I am sure Neil has a role and a significant one here for many years to come. If it is the big job in the longer term that is entirely up to Neil and the results.
“We believe with Neil in charge of the next five games we have a greater chance. Yes, we know our run-in is tough but we are confident that we have enough here to improve our league position. Neil is an excellent coach, he has been around this club for a long time and he is very good technically and tactically. We believe that this change gives us the best opportunity of what we all want to achieve.”
McNally was also quick to downplay fears over Adams’ lack of professional management experience, drawing a parallel with the man he has replaced.
“Chris did not have a lot of Premier League experience as a manager prior to joining us. He had half a season,” he said. “I don’t think we had much choice because of our relegation form. That needed to be addressed. There were no discussions with any other managers. I said earlier this season we would have a succession plan in place for any key appointment within the business. That includes the football manager and perhaps in isolation Neil was not that manager, but he was certainly part of the plan.
“Recent results and performances have been disappointing. We have lost four of the last six games. We have lost seven consecutive away games so we felt unfortunately although it is sad to see Chris leave we were left with no choice to ensure we have the best possible chance of staying in this league.
“As a football club we are very supportive of our football managers and we give them every chance to get things right. Clearly it is a results business and against our peer group rivals it has not been good enough.”
City’s chief executive revealed Hughton’s dismissal had been an unanimous board decision after a desperate 1-0 Carrow Road defeat to West Brom and the ugly aftermath that result triggered at the final whistle. Hughton was struck by a stray clap banner whilst both John Ruddy and Russell Martin become embroiled in heated exchanges with fans.
“I don’t think you can ever react immediately after a game. We had to sleep on it and then took the decision through discussions on Sunday,” he said. “It was a unanimous decision by the board. We had a meeting with Chris post-game and we took into account his views. Through Sunday we had to have discussions with a lot of stakeholders and the decision-making process happens from there. We don’t often see that type of atmosphere at Carrow Road. We are very lucky we have supporters who follow us through thick and thin and at the moment we are having a wobble.”