BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Saturday, 15 August 2009 13:50 UK

The Scrimmage: Norwich City talk

Chris Goreham
By Chris Goreham
Norwich City commentator, BBC Radio Norfolk

Bryan Gunn
Former goalkeeper Gunn spent almost 12 years at Norwich as a player

It is 1645 BST on a Friday. I'm on the train with Neil Adams, my BBC Radio Norfolk co-commentator, on our way to St. James Park.

My phone starts ringing. It's work. "Bryan Gunn's just been sacked." Wow. No-one had seen that coming!

Last Saturday after the 7-1 mauling by Colchester, or even Monday morning and I could have understood it - since then though there's been a 4-0 away win.

I spoke to Gunn on the phone on Thursday afternoon. With the team having stayed in the South West after the Yeovil game it was a call arranged through the club's media department and our only chance for the usual pre-match chat.

He was in good form, talking both on and off tape, about the players' fitness ahead of the Exeter game and how the extended stay down south had helped the squad bond.

He is either the greatest Scottish actor since Sean Connery or he had no idea this was coming.

Fans react as Norwich fire Gunn

You cannot help but feel for Bryan Gunn. A man who cared deeply about Norwich City Football Club and found the unexpected opportunity to manage the club just too good to resist.

The fairytale version would have had him keeping the Canaries in the Championship but football has always been more Viv Anderson than Hans Christian Andersen and down they went.

He was not everybody's choice for the job after that but having been given it on a full-time basis in mid-May and then allowed to spend freely enough to sign 12 players, he cannot have expected he would have been out of a job before the Premier League boys had even got underway.

One of his problems was always going to be the fact he got the job before changes were made at boardroom level.

Norwich City started the season with a chairman and chief executive who had played no part in him getting the job.

Experience tells us that the sort of people who take those jobs at football clubs have got where they are because they like to make an impact and show who is in control. I'm not a conspiracy theorist however.

First and foremost it always comes down to results. Without the 7-1 defeat to Colchester, nobody would have had any need to make such a ruthless decision, even if they were waiting for an excuse.

Fan throw their season tickets at Bryan Gunn
Two Norwich fans ran onto the pitch and threw their season tickets at Gunn

The angry Carrow Road reaction last weekend, not to mention Gunn having a season ticket thrown at him, were powerful scenes even for those of us used to Norwich City upheaval, not to mention for those experiencing the place for the first time from the Director's Box.

The worry was that by taking the Norwich City manager's job Bryan Gunn was placing his legendary status with the club's supporters under threat.

I would like to think that the best part of 500 appearances, not to mention countless hours of work within the community will always keep him in the hearts of the City faithful. That's where he deserves to be.

Football though will always be brutal and not sentimental. Relegation, record home defeats and revenue - the three R's that were, in the end, too big for even a legend to overcome.

Hear The Scrimmage with Chris Goreham, the Norwich City radio fanzine show, Thursday's at 1800 BST on BBC Radio Norfolk.

Print Sponsor