Norwich City fan Ed Seaman’s column: Biggest test yet for Neil

Columnist Edward Seaman
Columnist Edward Seaman

Tomorrow’s visit of Leeds United could prove to be a defining moment in the future of Alex Neil and his quest to lead Norwich City back to the Premier League.

Last weekend’s utter humiliation at Brighton has for the first time led to genuine questions over the Scot’s future as City manager.

It wasn’t so much the 5-0 scoreline, but the embarrassing manner in which Neil’s side capitulated in the last half an hour.

In all honesty, it looked like a team who had stopped playing for its manager.

And that has to be the biggest concern going forward — and a concern that was only heightened by Russell Martin’s post-match comments in which he slammed the desire and hunger of his team-mates.

Question his playing ability all you like, but one thing you can never say about our skipper is that he doesn’t care about this football club.

If we had 11 players with his passion and commitment, defeats like Brighton would simply not happen.

But it’s one thing to lose the dressing room — and I guess we’ll see tomorrow whether that is the case or not — but it’s another to lose the fans.

Nine times out of ten that signals the beginning of the end.

Neil has always had strong backing from the Carrow Road faithful, I think in particular of the Watford game last season, but a four-match winless run, culminating in last week’s horror show, means that support is starting to waver.

For what it’s worth, I am still very much behind Neil, and I genuinely believe he can lead us to promotion this season, but it would be naive to think a defeat tomorrow wouldn’t be the final straw for some.

In the same breath, a win won’t heal last weekend’s wounds, but it may go some way to kick-starting City’s season, and perhaps restoring the fans’ faith in Neil.