Norwich City chief executive David McNally has told Chris Hughton that he must improve the fortunes of the struggling Premier League club.
The 55-year-old was appointed as Paul Lambert’s successor at Carrow Road in June 2012, and he led them to a comfortable 11th place finish in his debut season. This was a slight improvement on the previous campaign, when they finish 12th, although the margin of safety was just eight points compared to 11 in 2011-12.
This time round the Canaries have found life a real struggle, and with just 12 matches remaining, they are in 16th place and just a single point above the relegation zone. This has sparked concern amongst fans that they could drop out of the elite and return to the Championship, unless there is a marked improvement in results.
Norwich have won just one of their last 11 outings in the league, a period in which they have suffered defeat on five occasions. And although Hughton, formerly of Newcastle United and Birmingham City, still has another season on his contract after this one, McNally has made it clear they he will be shown the door if performances continue to slide.
“Chris is the first to accept the buck stops with him,” he told EPD24. “He has been told in no uncertain terms to get us out of the current position and get our club moving up the football table and quickly. Right across the board from (joint majority shareholder) Delia (Smith) and everybody else we are as disappointed as those supporters.
“As far as giving any certainty in terms of Chris and his position here all I would say is it is a results business – whether that is Chris Hughton, myself as the chief executive or anyone else. For as long as we achieve what is required of us we will stay in work. It would be wrong to give any further guarantees. We would be delinquent almost to do that.”
Norwich resume their Premier League campaign in front of the Sky television cameras on Sunday afternoon, when a resurgent Tottenham Hotspur, gunning for a top-four finish, visit East Anglia. Fans will no doubt be aware that there are more tricky games ahead, not least a run-in which consists of Liverpool at home and successive trips to Manchester United and Chelsea, before they end the season with the visit of Arsenal.