Is it time for Norwich City manager Alex Neil to go?
PUBLISHED: 17:46 26 December 2016 | UPDATED: 09:11 27 December 2016
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Is Alex Neil on the verge of an exit from the Norwich City hot seat - again - or did referee Andy Davies give him a "helping hand"?
City’s 3-1 defeat at Reading was their eighth Championship defeat in the last 10 games and saw the Canaries slip down to 12th in the table.
It has been a crashing descent to mid-table obscurity for City, especially given they were top of the table in September and Neil was named manager of the month.
That form was followed by a bizarre late defeat at Newcastle, then a brace of wins, at Wolves and at home to Rotherham – but then the rot set in. One point from a possible 18 followed and even the respite of a 5-0 home thrashing of a poor Brentford side was short-lived. A home win over Aston Villa hardly papered over the cracks and the only consistency in recent weeks has been the calls for Neil to either walk, or be pushed.
The manager himself is, unsurprisingly, not one for budging while the owners have expressed a desire to keep him.
Ultimately, it may well be the fans whose voice will make the decision.
No matter what the hierarchy says, if the fans really want Neil out, then he has to go – and at the moment, many of them have come to the end of their tether.
Neil himself will argue that events conspired against him at Reading – Graham Dorrans had to be substituted because of injury, which meant Neil had to reshuffle his pack on the field. Then the influential Jonny Howson was red-carded in conceding a penalty which led to Reading’s second goal.
The fans will argue that the problems run deeper, that form on the pitch is a reflection of issues off it.
And if those fans argue long enough and loud enough, it may be time for change.
If Alex Neil is given time to get things right, the results have to be immediate – the fans will stand for nothing less.