Norwich City put their Premier League future in the hands of youth-team coach Neil Adams on Sunday after sacking manager Chris Hughton and his backroom staff following Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to fellow relegation strugglers West Bromwich Albion.
Adams, a former Everton and Norwich midfielder who guided the Canaries to the FA Youth Cup last season, will take charge of the first team as they seek to halt a run of six successive away defeats in the six-pointer at Fulham on Saturday. Norwich are just clear of the drop zone, five points ahead of Fulham in 18th, but face a daunting run-in after the visit to Craven Cottage.
Hughton had been in charge since June 2012 and guided Norwich to an 11th-place finish last season but the club decided to act after the manager was booed by sections of the Carrow Road crowd during Saturday’s defeat, with a number of fans chanting: “We want Hughton out”. A yellow paper clapper, one of thousands handed out to improve the atmosphere at the ground, appeared to be thrown at Hughton and several players were involved in altercations with supporters at the final whistle.
In a statement released last night, Norwich paid tribute to Hughton’s dignity in what has been a difficult season but insisted the change was necessary to keep them in the Premier League. Chief executive David McNally said: “Neil is a progressive and successful coach who has served this club as a player and a member of our coaching staff in exemplary fashion over two decades.”
Adams added: “To say that I am delighted to have been offered the opportunity of managing Norwich City would be a massive understatement.
“People know what this club means to me, and so it goes without saying that we will be doing everything possible to ensure that we maintain our top-flight status for next season.”
Hughton has worked under the threat of the sack for the past two months as hopes of a strong challenge for a top-10 place raised by a summer spending spree of £27m rapidly dwindled. The former Newcastle and Birmingham manager’s new expensive strike-force of Ricky van Wolfswinkel, Gary Hooper and Johan Elmander was especially held against him. Between them the trio have scored just seven goals.
Neil Adams has been given five games to keep Norwich in the Premier League:
Saturday v Fulham (a)
20 April v Liverpool (h)
26 April v Man United (a)
4 May v Chelsea (a)
11 May v Arsenal (h)
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