Norwich City will be thrust into another circus against Manchester United but they must earn top billing
06:30 24 April 2014
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Norwich City find themselves thrust into another circus entirely out of their control after Manchester United’s decision to dismiss David Moyes.
City’s on-going fight for Premier League survival will now be packaged as Ryan Giggs’ first game in charge of a club he has served with distinction.
Much in the same way Neil Adams’ squad were viewed perhaps beyond their heartlands as an obstacle for Liverpool to overcome in their quest for a first Premier League crown.
The national media and global broadcasters descended on Carrow Road last weekend to see if the Reds could live up to the hype in the immediate aftermath of a raucous win over title rivals Manchester City allied to Chelsea’s stumble the previous day at home to Sunderland.
Brendan Rodgers held court beneath the City Stand in front of the asembled throng of cameras, microphones and inquisitive scribes for twice as long as the great and the good wanted to hear Adams salute his own side’s bravery and declare they still believe they can upset the escalating odds.
City’s survival matters little to a constituency who see them as just one participant in a dogfight that appears likely to endure until the final moments of a season which took another unexpected twist yesterday when the Old Trafford hierarchy opted to call time on Sir Alex Ferguson’s anointed successor.
It is the same reason why Chris Hughton’s exit was greeted with incredulity far beyond Norfolk; presumably the same conclusions will be drawn now the most successful club in the Premier League era have followed City’s lead and opted to promote an internal candidate to replace an unpopular manager. One who increasingly had lost the faith and support of the reasoned majority.
Adams’ influence has produced two vibrant displays but no tangible rewards for his club. That alone underlines why one must temper the inevitable sense Giggs’ elevation is desperately poor timing for the Canaries; it simply increases the degree of difficulty.
The Welshman will be a unifying force for a disaffected fan base but there are no guarantees he can engineer an immediate uplift for a squad who have largely failed to deliver since Ferguson’s departure.
Adams has made plenty of big calls in his relatively abbreviated spell. Leaving out Sebastien Bassong was a statement of intent, deploying Nathan Redmond up top and Robert Snodgrass at the tip of a diamond has come at the continuing expense of Wes Hoolahan; a man who perhaps would have felt Hughton’s departure could only improve his own prospects of greater involvement. Giggs’ will now have to grapple with similar dilemmas to integrate team-mates who will have felt on the periphery under Moyes.
Axing the Scot at this stage of a season listing to an aimless conclusion is nothing more than a token gesture. Norwich’s managerial change was designed to avert a headlong descent to the Championship.
That is why Adams and his players still have more to play for than their counterparts this weekend. Regime change at Old Trafford has robbed the visitors of a chance to increase Moyes’ discomfort after that damaging defeat on his first return to Everton.
West Brom cashed in to full effect on an ugly afternoon at Carrow Road earlier this month which signalled the end for Hughton and triggered a sequence of events that turned Adams’ professional life upside down. Giggs will know exactly how that feels at present, but this is not all about the most decorated player in the modern era.
Norwich simply have to do whatever it takes to make sure they are the headline act.