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Friday, August 14, 2009

Knee-jerk Norwich fire Gunn

They say in football you're only as good as your last game, but not even that was enough to save Norwich's Bryan Gunn from becoming the first manager to lose his job this season.

After the humilation of a record 7-1 home defeat to Colchester last weekend, the Canaries thumped Yeovil 4-0 in the League Cup.

Reputation partly restored, Gunn was looking forward to leading his side into tomorrow's game at Exeter. Now, he'll be collecting his P45 instead - Norwich have bitten the bullet.

It's another embarrassing episode for a club whose image of being well-run, along with their standing in the Football League, has slipped. Dispensing of Gunn, a playing legend at Carrow Road, sees them looking for their fourth manager in under two years.

It all raises many questions.

Why was a rookie appointed in the first place, and then kept on after relegation from the Championship? Why was the manager allowed to bring in new players but not given the time for the side to gel? And why sack a manager after winning a game 4-0, but not after losing one 7-1?

Gunn failed to save Norwich from relegation last season

The last one of these seems immaterial with a statement from the board indicating that their minds had been so swayed by the Colchester defeat that victory in Somerset was purely academic.

However, just why Gunn was appointed permanently by a board who were still looking to bring in a new chairman and chief executive seems more pertinent.

The role of the latter, filled by the hardline David McNally, appears to have been crucial in today's development. Having worked hard at re-engaging supporters with the club during the summer, the Colchester debacle was a shattering blow.

And, after two fans encroached onto the pitch on Saturday to throw their season tickets at Gunn, now it's the manager who has been tossed aside.

The Scot was not McNally's choice of boss, and now he will have the job of finding somebody who can lead the Canaries to an instant return to the second tier.

The current chaos apart, Norwich remains an attractive job for any potential new manager. With crowds of at least 20,000 at every home game, the size and potential of Norfolk's only senior club is clear to see.

On the pitch too, despite a disastrous spell at the helm,
a prosperous summer in the transfer market means Gunn's legacy is a team that looks easily capable of restoring Championship status at the first time of asking.

For a man who has a club at Carrow Road named after him, he will only be sorry he isn't at the helm to achieve it.

His replacement must be given the time and backing though if Norwich, the club once thought as well-run, aren't to become simply also-rans.


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