“Writing is on the wall” – Should Norwich City stick with Dean Smith amid growing pressure? The verdict
This article is part of Football League World’s The Verdict series, which features the FLW writers’ personal take on the latest news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Norwich City manager Dean Smith is under increasing pressure after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat by Blackburn Rovers at Carrow Road.
Rovers took the lead in the fourth minute through Ben Gibson’s own goal and the Canaries underperformed, rarely threatening. Tyrhys Dolan’s 86th-minute strike sealed all three points for the visitors.
Norwich could have finished third in the table with a win, but they are now six points behind second-placed Sheffield United ahead of Monday’s Blades game at Wigan Athletic and 12 points behind leaders Burnley, while they are just a point clear of seventh- placed Preston North End.
The loss to Blackburn also leaves them four points behind their opponents, with Jon Dahl Tomasson’s men maintaining their position in third place.
It was poor form for Smith’s side, with a win from seven home games a cause for concern.
The final whistle was greeted by boos and there were chants calling for Smith’s sacking throughout the game, with recent performances and results falling short of expectations for a club that had and was expected to win the league title at this level for the last two seasons to challenge to the top again.
We asked some of our FLW writers for their thoughts on Smith’s future…
It feels like it’s becoming increasingly inevitable that Smith will leave.
The atmosphere at Carrow Road is turning toxic and with chants against Smith during Saturday’s game his position looks untenable.
However, City fans should be careful what they wish for as there are few attractive managerial options and the club sit fifth in the table.
Smith shouldn’t take all the blame for the results, this is a group of players who are capable of much more than they currently show and need to take some of the responsibility.
But when the fan base has turned, it’s difficult to bounce back and Smith himself seemed increasingly frustrated, criticizing fans after the game.
It won’t do him any favors and at this point it could be best for both the club and Smith if they part ways.
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The reaction of the fans after Saturday’s defeat could prove to be a clear signal that Smith’s time at Norwich could be over very soon.
While the team is still 5th in the table and fighting for promotion, performances and results have been quite mixed given the talent at the club’s disposal.
Norwich are looking well below the level of Burnley and Sheffield United and were outclassed by Blackburn Rovers at the weekend.
With a number of potential substitutes currently available, there would be no shortage of options for Norwich should they decide to rotate rather than stick.
But this is a difficult time of the season to make a change given how busy the schedule is.
At this point, it feels like he should go, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he got a few more games to turn things around.
It seems like the writing for the ex-Aston Villa manager is on the wall.
And it would be almost irresponsible to stick with Smith at this point even though they’re still in the promotional mix – because the fans aren’t happy and the atmosphere will only get more toxic if he stays.
It wasn’t just the atmosphere during the game that was poisoned – his post-game comments couldn’t have helped either and it almost feels like he wants to leave too.
The Canaries just aren’t playing well enough at the moment and fan anger alone should be enough for shareholders to take action.
If they don’t, they might slide down the table because the atmosphere will continue to deteriorate.