The national media reaction to Norwich City sacking Chris Hughton
14:03 08 April 2014
It’s fair to say the national media reaction to Chris Hughton’s departure was somewhat different to the one here at the coal face.
Norwich City supporters, by and large, did little to mourn the passing of the managerial baton – a decision which didn’t have the same reverberations as it did in Manchester and London.
Gary Lineker described it as “utterly bonkers” and “deluded” – given Match of the Day’s propensity to ignore perhaps more vital issues in the Premier League in preference to big-names-but-nothing-important games, his comments might fall on stony ground in these parts. Did someone say troll?
Delia was never going to be far away from the scene, hence “A recipe that Delia might have concocted” headlined Oliver Kay piece in The Times in which he described the decision as about “panic”. “To push the button now seems to suggest regret at earlier indecision.” he writes.
The Guardian played it pretty straight, suggesting chief executive David McNally has chosen “to twist rather than stick before it is too late”. Ditto The Independent.
It’s usually the red tops who have some fun, with The Sun leading the way. Their local edition splashed with “Hughton Sacked – Axed to give Canaries ‘max hope’ of survival. They quoted a Delia “previously” saying “I love Neil.” On their back page was a headline “A-ha! It’s Norwich’s new boss”, describing Neil Adams as football’s Alan Partridge, which is a tad unfair. As far as we are aware, he has never lived in a budget hotel, never been kidnapped by a crazed fan and never hosted his own TV show.
The Daily Mirror used Lineker’s “Bonkers and Deluded” line on their story and described City’s statement as “fatuous”, saying Hughton remained popular in the dressing room.
The Daily Mail failed to mention global warming or members of the royal family in their piece, but did make mention of the fact, as did others, that Hughton had been the only black manager in the top four divisions of English football.
The colour of Hughton’s skin has never been an issue in Norwich – it was all about the football. Those close to the action – the fans, the directors, the local media – saw it all week in, week out. It was analysed to the nth degree, opinions sought and given. If truth be know, we had all been on a stand-by-your-beds brief for some time.
What happened on Sunday was perhaps a delayed reaction, given it could have happened at several junctures over the past few months, but it came a day after the biggest public showing of discontent by those who sit yards, not hundreds of miles, away from the action.