If you’re reading this, it means Dean Smith is still the manager of Norwich City Football Club.
He shouldn’t be, but there you go.
I have made no secret of my dislike for Smith’s style of football. It bores me so much that the last match I went to at Carrow Road was the Luton game in October.
There had been an undercurrent of displeasure from my fellow fans for some time, but against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday it seemed to reach a crescendo.
Watching it on TV, there were just 14 minutes on the clock when the first boosts came from the home supporters. City were already behind a Ben Gibson own goal and yet there wasn’t a positive response from the team.
They didn’t push forward, there was no sign of urgency, it was just the typical ponderous passing around the back that has been a hallmark of Smith’s miserable reign. As the game went on, ironic cheers rang around the ground whenever the ball was passed back to Angus Gunn – which was a lot.
There were loud chants telling Smith what the fans thought of what they were watching, and the team were booed off at the end of both halves.
When the fans turn, there’s rarely long left for the manager. For the 20 years I’ve been following City, it’s been pretty much a given that Carrow Road would be full. There are an increasing number of empty seats at each game.
Yes, it was freezing on Saturday night and the game was televised, but how much easier was the decision not to go for those fans, knowing what they would be watching? Also, thanks to the efforts of the likes of Barclay End Norwich and AlongCome Norwich, Carrow Road has been a noisy place in the last few years.
On Saturday, it started off quiet and only got louder when the boos started.
After another home defeat – the fourth in seven games – and one in which Blackburn had outplayed us, Smith made a big mistake. He turned on the fans. His post-match comments were quite something. Well, I’m a fan.
I don’t speak for this newspaper and I certainly don’t speak on behalf of my fellow supporters, but these are my own thoughts, the thoughts of an ordinary Norwich fan.
Dean, I don’t want to have to call for your head. I want the team to be successful, and if they were I’d be happy to have you in charge. The fact is, you haven’t done what you were brought in to do. You were hired to keep us in the Premier League – you failed to do that.
Once we’d been relegated, your job was to get us back up straight away. We may somehow still be fifth despite how poor we’ve been, but the gap between us and the top two is getting bigger, not smaller. Having the ‘second or third highest shots in the league’ is no good if those shots hardly ever threaten to result in a goal.
– The Pink Un (@pinkun) December 17, 2022
I doubt we would have had that many shots under Farke, but the quick passing and movement did more for us in creating clearer chances. As you rightly pointed out, a lot of the players in this squad have won the championship title twice before. Two years ago, they essentially walked it. So what’s the main difference between then and now? It’s you, Dean.
Quite why City’s new American investor doesn’t turn to Delia and Michael and say ‘the fans are clearly unhappy – why don’t we do something about that?’ is beyond me.
It won’t be long before our season ticket renewal letters hit our doormats. The atmosphere around the club at the moment is hardly going to get people to come back next season. Come on, something has to be done.
What do I want for Christmas? A new Norwich manager, please.