Having been appointed as Norwich City’s permanent manager around a fortnight ago, Neil Adams looks set to be joined by fellow former Canary Gary Holt who will become his assistant after leaving his post as manager at Falkirk. The pair will now preside over what is expected to be a very busy summer at the club during which many changes look set to be made. And during this period, Norwich fans are likely to get an indication of whether or not the club chose the right man for the job.
The appointment of Adams underwhelmed, and even infuriated, a significant number of Norwich fans. Many of them were hoping for, and perhaps expecting, the arrival of a big name with more experience and a track record of success at Championship level. Hardly anybody foresaw, after a lengthy search period, that the board would then go back and appoint a man they already had. However, Adams is a Norwich City man through and through, he wants to get the team back to playing the Norwich way and he is looking to give youth more of a chance. For those reasons, he undoubtedly deserves a crack at it. However, the squad needs a fairly major rebuilding job done to it, and for an inexperienced manager this is going to be a huge test.
To be fair to Adams, his team selections at the end of last season reflected who he felt genuinely wanted it and had pride in wearing in the shirt. Those with the biggest reputations in the Norwich squad had failed to deliver for much of the season and Adams had no intent in keeping the faith with any of these. Hughton continually played Ricky Van Wolfswinkle in the hope that one day he’d find the net and he’d start to justify his club record price tag. In truth, it never looked like happening. Adams seemed far less interested in the big names who had been signed for hefty fees in the previous summer and clearly wanted to put out a side with eleven men fully committed to playing for Norwich. And that will undoubtedly be the same next season in the Championship regardless of who is in his squad to pick from. Therefore, in terms of getting rid of the “dead wood”, Adams should have no problems as he knows exactly who he wants and doesn’t want (and also who he deems to be worthy of staying and who doesn’t).
However, it’s the other side of the transfer business which presents the biggest worry. Norwich may have difficulties convincing players to join the club and work for a manager with very little experience. Nowadays, it seems that one of the biggest factors behind most transfers is the manager and the incoming player’s willingness to play for him. That’s also why managers sign their former players from previous clubs they’ve managed. Speaking of which, due to never managing at senior level before, Adams isn’t able to do this either. It really does look a big ask for him to sign as many as seven or eight good Championship standard players which Norwich desperately need as replacements to those who will be leaving the club.
As mentioned above, one of the things all Norwich fans can expect and be excited for is the return of the style of football they expect to see their team playing. Regardless of whether or not Norwich are competing for promotion or not, the team aren’t going to be as boring and infuriating to watch. Already that’s a huge positive. This coming season is guaranteed to be, at the very least, far more enjoyable than the previous two. Not only will Norwich be winning more games but they should be playing a style of football which is more like what all Norwich fans are used to watching. This summer will be key as he, quite understandably, couldn’t introduce many of his own ideas in those last few games last summer. Every effort needs to be made to ensure that the negative, and losing, mentality is well and truly stamped out.
Neil Adams and Gary Holt have got a huge task ahead of them to transfer Norwich’s fortunes heading into the new Championship season. Norwich have to aim for at least a play-off spot as it will only get harder to gain promotion should they fail at the first attempt. It was undoubtedly a brave decision by the Norwich board to appoint Neil Adams at such a critical point in the club’s history. Only time will tell, over the next few months up to the start of the season, whether Adams can rise to the challenge and prove the many doubters wrong.