Hughton Out - Canaries Cut Chris, Appoint Adams

Published: Apr 07, 2014 12:41pm EDT
By Jason Bardwell, Sports Writer for Konsume Sports

Please Note: This article was updated Apr 07, 2014 @ 12:41pm EDT


At this stage of the season the fans are pretty much resigned to two contrasting emotions. Either they are really happy as their team fights for the title, Europe or are just punching above their weight in the League or, utter disappointment as relegation looms or early season expectations are far from being fulfilled.


It is now that Chairmen start looking towards the future and making the relevant decisions they feel are best suited to their particular clubs situation. At Cardiff, Fulham, Swansea, West Brom and even Sunderland, the dice has been rolled. The Manager has been changed and now they live or die by their decisions. Unfortunately it looks as though at least two of those will not have done enough to save themselves from relegation. The other contender, Norwich City, just relieved their manager of his duties less than 24 hours to go. With five games left Neil Adams will step up from the Youth side, the ones who beat Chelsea in the FA Youth Cup last season, and try to salvage the Canaries season.


It was clear that a change needed to be made, the fans had been saying so for many months now. The timing of the change though does seem a little too late. The club statement said that ‘The decision was made to give the club maximum chance of survival’ but with five games to go will it really make that much of a difference?


It isn’t that Norwich have been playing well but now find themselves in a slump, the whole season has been bad with just a few sprinkles of hope. As far back as December this decision could have been made. Defeat to Fulham and draws against Swansea and Sunderland meant Norwich were going to head into the New Year in trouble. They were only three points from the relegation zone with one of the worst goal differences, only Sunderland and Fulham had worse.


Since then they have scored ten goals but conceded twenty and adding only thirteen points in the process! Even last season, which was considered a good season, looking back you will notice City only had three points more with the same amount of games. Hughton and Norwich would go on to get another nine points though before the end of the season to finish off with 44pts and in 11th position. With Malky Mackay released from his position at Cardiff I think the stars were aligned for Hughton to go and another guy to come in but the board delayed, waited and now it might be too late for the Canaries.


Currently just five points above the last relegation zone place the Canaries face Fulham away next week in what surely is a must win game. Maybe that is what is meant by the statement, a new coach coming in could give them the lift they need for that vital game next week. Lose that and they might very well be heading down again. After the Fulham game they will face Liverpool at home, Manchester United away, Chelsea away before hosting Arsenal at Carrow Road in a game that may see a side fighting for survival against a side fighting for fourth. Not a great scenario for the City fans to find themselves in. In the last five League games, Norwich City have managed four points and, although it doesn’t sound like much it might just be enough to keep them up if they can get another four in their last five games.


A lot will have to do with how many points the teams below and around them get in the run in also though and it would certainly help if ex Norwich player Tim Sherwood could guide Spurs to a win when they meet Sunderland later this afternoon. Currently seven points below Norwich Sunderland need to face five teams in the month of April, including away ties to Chelsea and Manchester City and a home tie with Everton. On Norwich’s side is the fact that Sunderland also have to play relegation rivals Cardiff, West Brom and Swansea with the last two being the last games of the season.


Cardiff are only two wins behind the Canaries but with eight points in the last thirteen games two wins for Cardiff is a big ask. Saturday against relegation rivals Crystal Palace the new manager looked way out of his depth with this side. The team seemed to have no clue from the first whistle and never changed after each goal conceded. Looking at their fixtures I do not see two wins in them with the visits of Stoke and Chelsea between trips to Southampton, Sunderland and Newcastle. I think that puts Cardiff down no matter what and Sunderland barely being able to get above Norwich’s current points total.


Fulham were dead men walking a few weeks ago but have managed to get themselves some kind of boost with Saturdays win. They are the closest to getting Norwich in danger and are only five points back with five games to go. Next weeks game at home to Norwich will not be easy and if Fulham can get the win then you would have to say that they have a good chance of getting out of danger. Tottenham are up next for them before playing mid table, safe sides. Hull City, come the end of April may have thoughts of an FA Cup Final and may have their attention diverted from the League. Similar could be said of Stoke and Palace, providing Palace do not slip up before this last game of the season. I can see them getting a good, solid, seven points not including the Norwich game.


West Brom could get dragged into the relegation zone with three of their next four games being home to Spurs and away to Manchester City and Arsenal. Vital points can be picked up at home to West Ham in the last game of April and the last game of the season, home to a safe Stoke City. The penultimate game sees the Baggies travel to Sunderland in what could be a six pointer.


Swansea are the last team in the group I would consider relegation threatened because although they are a point above West Brom, they have played a game more and so to consider West Brom you also need to consider the Swans. Only two wins ahead of Fulham this side has quite a challenging run in also. Chelsea visit next week before a trip to Newcastle. Villa ends the month of April before they host Southampton. If they are anywhere in danger of relegation in the last game the visit to Sunderland may not be a pleasant one, especially if it is between the two of them as to which one goes down.


From that point of view then next weeks game against Fulham is like a Cup Final. It is a must win and Neil Adams and the Canaries must leave the Cottage having given everything. A tied game may not be great but a loss would be devastating for the people of Norfolk.


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Jason Bardwell
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