'Fans are either apathetic or apoplectic': Why relegation is dividing Norwich City's supporter base

Kenny McLean looks dejected after Leeds United's late winner.
Kenny McLean looks dejected after Leeds United's late winner. Credit: PA

It's a sinking feeling Norwich City fans have almost become used to.

As the ball hit the back of the net at Elland Road, Canaries fans must have known that the game was up.

As Leeds supporters wildly celebrated Joe Gelhardt's stoppage time winner, in the away end it would have been a complete contrast in emotions.

Barring a miracle of the raising of Lazarus proportions, Norwich are heading back to the Championship once again.

This will be their sixth relegation - a stat that will see them become the most-relegated team in Premier League history.

  • Watch an extended interview with Michael Bailey

"I think those running the club, if there's one thing they have proven it's that they have been able to create a squad that can win the Championship, so to throw that away off the back of a Premier League relegation is too soon," Michael Bailey, Norwich City correspondent for The Athletic, told ITV News Anglia.

"Only they (the owners) can answer if they've got the hunger for it. They've got to prove that they want it and they've got to bring everyone along with them, because at the moment I think the supporter's base are either apathetic or apoplectic."

The most difficult thing for many Norwich fans to swallow is that this time was meant to be different.

The Canaries were the 11th highest spenders in Europe last summer, albeit much of that spending was funded by the £38 million sale of star player Emi Buendía to Aston Villa - a huge contrast to the last time they were promoted when Sam Bryam was their most expensive buy at just £750,000.

It raises big question marks about the club's recruitment, with Norwich four points worse off this season than they were at the same stage two years ago in their last relegation campaign.

Norwich have struggled to replace Emi Buendía. Credit: PA

"Losing Oliver Skipp and Emi Buendía last year, and not replacing them to an adequate level, has cost them," Michael said.

"It's made them a worse side than the one that came up and I think that's what it's looked like on the pitch.

"Norwich have got limited finances and they have to get it right. And they haven't."

That's led to many frustrated fans calling for majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones to sell the club, but that could be easier said than done.

"I think Delia and Michael feel they're custodians of the club and I feel like they're open to something if they felt it was right," said Michael.

"But, it's very difficult to sit here and talk about changing the ownership, because it's a bit like selling a player - you can't sell a player if no one wants to buy it.

"It's by no means solely down to the ownership, but in a way it's a bit like shouting at the wind - there's not really much you can do about it unless something is going to instigate a change or someone is going to take it on."