See big pictures and you see the big numbers this summer; little wonder that is caution first once your nose is in front…Mon 11 Feb 13 by Rick Waghorn
I don’t do Canary Call. And despite building that #ncfc Twitter feed into MyFootballWriter way back in December, 2008, I tend to avoid Twitter in the hour or so after any game in which Norwich hasn’t crushed yet another Premier League rival underfoot.
By a four-goal margin. Playing the kind of open, expansive football that only a Real Madrid can aspire to.
Because, by and large, there is always someone who isn’t happy.
And – so I’m told – there were plenty after Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Fulham. There were – I’m led to believe – those that were calling for the dismissal of Chris Hughton. Enough, apparently was enough. He had to go.
OK. I think there is a big point here that people tend to miss. Or a bigger picture that in
the heat of the post-match moment, tends to be forgotten.
At the end of this season, a new Premier League TV deal kicks in. One that, when combined with mobile video clip and foreign TV rights, dwarfs anything that has gone before.
If you thought that Norwich had been playing in the land of milk and honey of late, next year it is double cream and Queen Bee jelly. It is a near-bottom-less trough of TV and Internet cash being sluiced in this direction.
If, of course, City don’t throw away their five-point advantage in the course of the next three months and find themselves dumped in the Championship.
Personally, I think there are too many teams cluttered beneath Norwich for that to happen; teams with more to worry about form-wise. As ever it is glass half-full or half-empty time, but it is now three games unbeaten. Which is no mean feat at this moment of the season.
The point, however, is that given the prize that lies at the end of the rainbow, you just get there. However you can. Dig in and throw nine behind the ball for the remainder of the season and get to 40 points, one point at a time, and suddenly your world changes completely.
So, the trick is to keep one eye on the big prize; like the really big prize.
But the other point about the Premier League is the constrictions placed upon a manager in terms of what, exactly, he can do mid-season in terms of shaking a squad up.
That chance has been and gone now with the closure of the January transfer window.
If you’re QPR, you give ol’ H millions to throw at the problem; and you lose… Or ‘merely’ draw against Norwich.
But otherwise, if you stick with the manager through the transfer window then if you change boss now, he has no opportunity to work with anything new. He could loan an ‘emergency’ keeper, but that is as far as it gets.
He will be left to play with the same cards that Hughton currently holds in his hands. Minus the kid from Spurs, who proved more a three of clubs than a queen of spades.
And there is nothing that I’ve seen from City’s performances of late to suggest that the current squad of players are not digging in for their manager; putting in big shifts.
You know when a dressing room goes bad; it stinks.
This one doesn’t. And what is even more telling is the fact that Hughton hasn’t steered away from the ‘leaders’ that Lambert placed his faith in – Grant Holt (back and hamstrings permitting), and then Russell Martin.
Nothing has changed on that score.
All that has is the stakes – they have never been higher.
Which is probably why every manager in the bottom half of this division – at this moment in time – will take a point every weekend.
It was the Lambert mantra; if you can’t win a game, make damn sure you don’t lose it. That way you still get one point. And one point can make all the difference.
Is Hughton unduly negative? No; he might be more cautious – but then he has every reason to be. And arguably until now he didn’t have the right tools to do the 4-4-2 job.
In the little that anyone has seen of him, Mr Kamara does not look like a ‘negative’ player; he looks full of positives – on and off the field.
Is it likely to get any prettier over the course of the next two or three months? Probably not.
Hughton banked his big points in the autumn with huge and unexpected home wins that will, eventually, go down in folklore. Digs out a couple more and Norwich will be home and dry.
And up to their necks in Premier League cash – mission firmly accomplished.