London: Norwich City sacked manager Chris Hughton in a bid to retain their Premier League status, the club announced on Sunday.
A club statement said: “Norwich City can confirm Chris Hughton, Colin Calderwood and Paul Trollope have parted company with the club with immediate effect — and former Canary winger and FA Youth Cup-winning coach Neil Adams has been appointed as first-team manager.”
Saturday’s 1-0 loss at home to West Bromwich Albion left the Canaries just one place above the relegation zone but still five points clear of a bottom three spot that will ensure demotion from the lucrative Premier League to the second-tier Championship at the end of the season.
But, with five league games left to play, Norwich decided to ditch Hughton and promote current Under-18 coach Adams into the manager’s chair at Carrow Road instead.
“The Norwich City Board has taken the decision to give the club the maximum chance to secure the points required between now and the end of the season to ensure retention of our Barclays Premier League status,” the club said.
Hughton took charge at Carrow Road in June 2012 and last season guided the East Anglian club to an impressive 11th-placed finish in the Premier League.
However, recent results have gone against the 55-year-old former Tottenham and Republic of Ireland full-back, previously in charge of Newcastle.
Norwich thanked Hughton for his service but their statement added: “The recent run of four defeats in our last six Premier League games and six consecutive away league defeats, left the club with no choice but to act, with five games still to play in the current campaign.”
The Canaries have an awkward run-in, starting with a match away to relegation-threatened Fulham before Premier League leaders Liverpool come to Carrow Road.
Norwich then have tough away games against a resurgent Manchester United and title contenders Chelsea before finishing the season at home to Arsenal, who could come to Carrow Road needing a victory to secure Champions League football next season.
The Norwich statement said Adams’s “long experience as a player, coach and as a media analyst for BBC local radio means Neil understands the club and its fans extremely well”.
Adams, a title-winner with Everton in 1987, made 206 appearances in all competitions as a wide player for Norwich between 1993 and 1999.
The 48-year-old joined the club’s coaching set-up and last year guided Norwich to their first FA Youth Cup triumph in 30 years, after they beat Chelsea in both legs of the final.
“To say that I am delighted to have been offered the opportunity of managing Norwich City Football Club would be a massive understatement,” Adams said.
“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.
“These final five games will be a huge test for us, and everyone must step up to the mark.
“But with the full backing of these magnificent Norwich supporters we will have every chance of achieving our objective.”
Norwich’s biggest problem this season has been scoring goals — their tally of 26 in 33 games is only above that of Crystal Palace, who have at least tightened up defensively since Tony Pulis took charge at Selhurst Park.
In pre-season, Hughton spent a reported £8.5 million to sign Ricky van Wolfswinkel from Sporting Lisbon and £5million to bring Gary Hooper from Celtic, while also adding Johan Elmander on loan.
But between them the three strikers have managed just seven goals this season, with Hooper scoring five and van Wolfswinkel and Elmander a mere one apiece.