Norwich City fans get a taste of skepticism after Chief Executive David McNally “resigns” on Twitter

UPDATE: David McNally has now officially resigned, according to the club’s official website


It’s not often that my worlds of skepticism and Norwich City fandom collide, so I’m not going to skip the opportunity to write about them when they do!

Right now, it isn’t the best of times to be a Norwich City fan. Although the victorious trip to Wembley for the Championship play off final was under a year ago, this season they have struggled in the Premier league. They are currently mired in a relegation battle, and barring a major change in fortune look set for a swift return to England’s second tier.

As you might expect, some fans are not at all happy about this situation, with a fair amount of ire being directed at David McNally, the current chief executive of Norwich City Football Club (for the record, I think he’s been great for Norwich and I want to see him stay). After yet another “played quite well but couldn’t score and let in one goal” type of performance in a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United, a disgruntled fan decided to send an angry tweet to McNally and he replied with this (since deleted) tweet:

McNally resigns

Cue social media meltdown. Facebook was full of discussion about the tweet and “McNally resigns” started trending in Norwich. The local press, including the Eastern Daily Press and sports paper The Pinkun ran the story, wondering whether the news was genuine. After several tense hours of fan speculation, McNally tweeted the following (also since deleted):

McNally does not resign

Now, this is a good example of why skepticism is so important. Broadly speaking, skepticism is about questioning and investigating claims rather than just taking them at face value. Traditionally these claims include “alternative medicine works”, “vaccines cause autism” or “ghosts exist”, but it’s a broad church (or at least it should be) so let’s apply some skepticism to McNally’s “resignation” tweet. First of all, let’s look at the possibilities as to why this tweet would appear:

  1. It’s genuine. David McNally has bypassed all official forms of club communication and announced his resignation on Twitter
  2. He’s joking
  3. His Twitter account has been “hacked”

When analysing the possibilities, you have to consider which are the most like and which are the least likely. For me, the possibility of David McNally resigning on Twitter is incredibly unlikely for so many reasons. First of all, the man is a professional, he wouldn’t make such a momentous announcement through his personal social media accounts and without first consulting the rest of the Norwich City board. It would be completely out of character. Also, it’s not unknown for David McNally to be a little tongue in cheek at times, which lends evidence to the idea that his tweet was a bad joke. His account being “hacked” is also a possibility, but again unlikely. Given how unlikely it was that his resignation was genuine, it came as no surprise to hear that he didn’t mean it.

In conclusion, I think McNally deserves a little slap on the wrist for this. It was a bad joke and an unprofessional thing to do. But for everyone else, the lesson is this: don’t take all tweets at face value, and don’t believe something just because it’s in the paper. On the ball city!

Norwich City Twitter racism update

You may remember that a few weeks ago a Norwich City ‘fan’ caused ire with some racist tweets. In my opinion, the club did the right thing and took a zero approach to racism, banning him from the club for life. I thought that would be the end of it, but it turns out that the matter was taken to the police. The twitterer in question was charged with “sending an offensive message by public communication network under the Communications Act 2003”. After pleading guilty, he was sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work.

I’m really not sure what to make of this. While I agree that he needed to be taught a lesson (racism is unacceptable, and broadcasting it on Twitter is just plain stupid), but is this punishment a bit much? After all, he’s already been banned from Carrow Road for life, as a Norwich fan I can safely say that I would personally find that punishment alone to be rather serious. What do others think about this?

Twitter user banned by Norwich City after racist tweets: an overview

I was hoping my first blog post about football would be somewhat more jovial than this, but it’s a subject that I take very seriously and it’s something I feel I need to add my two cents on: a Norwich City ‘fan’ has been banned from Carrow Road for life after making racially offensive comments towards new Norwich signing James Vaughn on Twitter. The story has been covered by both the Pink’un and the BBC. However, I saw the original offensive tweet and I’ve been following this ever since, and I feel I need to clear a few things up and give a few more details. What follows is my account of what happened:

NB This account is based on the proviso that everyone on Twitter is who they say they are, and all reported tweets are accurate. If it’s later shown that anything is inaccurate or that certain Twitter accounts have been hacked or are in a false name, I will of course correct the article.

The Case For the Prosecution

I follow the #ncfc hashtag on Twitter to get the latest news and opinions on the happenings at Norwich City FC, a team I’ve supported from the age of ten. In amongst the transfer rumours and good humoured banter, I was shocked and disgusted to read this tweet from @ODonoughoe, in reference to James Vaughn (beware, it contains some extremely nasty racist language, I’m not sure I feel comfortable repeating it):

@David_Tree He’s a f**king useless chav. Did f**k all at Palace last season and he’s another f**king nigger on the team we don’t need.

This tweet was quickly picked up on by myself and fellow Norwich fans who find racism deplorable. Rather than apologising for his actions, @ODonoughoe deleted the tweet fairly quickly and went on the defensive, tweeting things like “show me where I was racist”, “I’ve been misrepresented” and “it was taken out of context” etc. However, when quizzed about the issue it was pretty clear that he was unrepentant:

@ODonoughoe racist tweetsAgain, rather than apologise or simply stop, @ODonoughoe continued to dig a deeper hole for himself by claiming he was proud of Norwich City because most of the team were ‘White British’. While a few made the point that to be proud of being British is nationalistic, and being proud of being white is racist, @ODonoughoe explained himself thusly on more than one occasion:

black britishSo, according to Luke, there is no such thing as ‘Black British’. And he claims to not be a racist, remember.

Reaching a Wider Audience

I believe that had Luke just deleted the original tweet and left it at that, the whole thing might have blown over. However, former player and current pundit Mark Bright caused a bit of a stir when he seemingly out of nowhere declared that he didn’t want any Norwich fans following him, and that he would block any that did (this reportedly included Dion Dublin). That lead to a lot of head scratching and puzzlement from Bright’s followers, but after a few hours the beans were spilled and it was clear that @MarkBrighty was understandably unhappy at the actions of @ODonoughoe. This brought the matter to the attention of many, and the tweets of @ODonoughoe were shown to a wider audience. Following complaints to Norwich City FC by the fans, the matter was investigated and @ODonoughoe banned for life from Carrow Road.


I’d like to congratulate Norwich City FC for being right on the money with this decision. Racism should have no place within today’s society at all, yet alone football. I rather hoped that the odious attitude of @ODonoughoe had been left in the past with the banana throwing and monkey chanting, and the life time ban is totally appropriate given the nature of his actions. I’d like to congratulate all the true NCFC fans who reported him.

As for Mark Bright, I’ve got mixed feelings. Tarring every Norwich fan with the same brush as one racist fan is completely wrong, and I’d like to know why he took so long to tell people why he was upset with Norwich City fans. Was it to build up a sense of drama and mystery before the big reveal? Who knows.

However, even though the tweets of @ODonoughoe give the impression of an unrepentant racist, he has at least attempted to be laudable. First off, he did try to offer an apology to James Vaughn (tweets are in real time so they are in the order of last to first):

apologyI find this to be a very half-hearted apology. He’s apologising for if he caused offence, yet he doesn’t recognise where or why he caused offence. There is no sign of any lessons learned here. However, here is something that I actually agree with:

mine aloneQuite right. I for one as a Norwich fan do not wish to be associated with the vile attitude of @ODonoughoe, and I’m sure everyone else on the #ncfc hashtag would agree with me.

So, hopefully you’ve now got the full story. You may be wondering “Why bring this up at all? It’s an ugly matter which detracts from the fact that Norwich City is a friendly family club and it just makes us look bad”. I feel it’s important to properly address the actions of @ODonoughoe, to show that he’s not been treated unfairly, this is not a case of ‘PC gone mad’, misrepresentation or any other right wing persecution fantasy. I feel very strongly about this, and if I can do something to keep racists out of the game then I will. There is an amazing atmosphere at Carrow Road, and I don’t want it soured by a few small minded bigots. As we go boldly in the Premier league, let us do so with a positive attitude, safe in the knowledge that our club is doing it’s best to stay a family club. OTBC!

I don’t wish to gloat but…Norwich 4 Scum 1

Today was a fantastic day to be a Norwich City fan. It saw Norwich host local rivals Ipswich Town (affectionately referred to as “the scum” by Norwich fans) in the East Anglian derby (daftly referred to as the “Old Farm” by outsiders). The BBC were generous enough to show it, which was great news for me, seeing as I’m stuck in Liverpool.

The match revolved around Grant Holt, who managed to start a little scrimmage soon after kick off, and gave Norwich the lead soon after. However, Ipswich managed a header equalizer from Damien Delaney shortly after that. Norwich played some lovely passing football, with débutante Henri Lansbury controlling the game from midfield, and putting Holt through for a second goal. The turning point of the match saw Ipswich goalscorer Delaney being sent off for a professional foul on Holt, after he was caught dithering on the ball. After that Norwich were in control, another flowing move seeing Holt get a hat trick in the second half. Sub Wes Hoolahan finished things off a couple of minutes later with a close finish following excellent work from Chris Martin and Holt. There was time for a little more drama when substitute striker Simeon Jackson went down in the box, but the ref booked Jackson for diving instead of awarding a penalty.

The final whistle saw much jubilation in the Skeptic Canary living room, and ensures bragging rights for NCFC, at least until the return match at Ipswich in April. On the ball, City!

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