Alex Neil sends out the clearest signal top Norwich fans that he is moving nowhere
PUBLISHED: 17:28 10 March 2017 | UPDATED: 17:28 10 March 2017
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If anyone had any lingering questions over the future relationship between Norwich City and Alex Neil, then today's comments by the Canaries boss appear to have answered them.
City’s hierarchy has been criticised by fans for its silence on Neil’s future, given his failure to turn a team of apparently talented Championship players into a promotion-winning team.
They Board have resisted calls for an explanation as to why they have not replaced him, so if anyone thought that course of action was still on the cards, well, think again.
Neil left huge gaps to read between the lines when he spoke to the media, suggesting more than ever that he is here for the duration.
He spoke of a summer clear-out, shifting the dead wood that has previously refused to budge; of the financial position he will be in this summer and of his belief that he is the man to take the club forward.
There are a number of ways of looking at it
He’s in it for the long haul
He has seriously over-estimated his value, or
He has nuts the size of coconuts and is calling the owners’ bluff.
“I have the utmost respect for Delia and Michael, who I have been really close to since I came here, and I will do everything in my power to make sure we turn things around and re-pay them, in particular, to move things forward and make things better.”
Had City got any ordinary owners then you might consider that dangerous territory: as Leicester’s owners proved recently, you can give a manager a vote of confidence one week and a fortnight later give him his cards. Tim Sherwood lasted 10 days between “To say Tim Sherwood has to win those games to survive is pure speculation” and being given the boot at Aston Villa.
Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones are different animals in club ownership terms. Yes, there was a rider in Neil’s comments - “If the board feel I am not the right person to lead it then that is the board’s prerogative” – but if he had been told to buck up or ship out, would he have been so bold in his choice of words? You doubt it.
There was not one word that suggested doubt in his mind. Arrogant or confident?
Neil’s assertion is that he is the best man to lead the club forward. Maybe the owners accept that and have therefore told him to get on with it.
Perhaps holding on to players who have too many relegations on their CV, or others who have a healthy bank account but splinters in their backside from sitting on a bench every week, is what has made the season moribund with 10 games to go.
Solve those issues, bring in new blood and maybe, just maybe, we can start next season in an optimistic mood.
Alex Neil will.