I wrote a few weeks ago of the effect a World Cup has on your everyday football supporter and how, for a few weeks at least, we feel the need to share the passion normally reserved for ‘our team’ with the national team.
What a load of codswallop.
Little did I realise England’s tournament would last last just five days (almost six if you include the 21 hours when the Italians had England’s fate in their hands) and we’d be effectively out of the tournament before the Germans played their second match.
The much talked about low expectations with which England entered the tournament – which paradoxically raised them – were wholly justified, and the ‘success’ of progression to the second phase was beyond them.
And by the time City’s nemesis extraordinaire, Luis Suarez, entered the fray, much of the promise shown in Manaus had evaporated. The positives were quickly replaced by the age-old English failings: An inability to keep the ball, a lack of invention and a defensive soft centre.
For City supporters it was all too familiar. Many took to Twitter to remind the nation that for the Yellow Army it was just another match and the sinking feeling that accompanied it was, for us, merely par for the course.
As ever, it was the hope that killed us. The despair we can handle… just about.
And which, bringing it back to closer to home, is something to think about when City kick-off at Molineux on August 10.
What are we expecting to unfold between then and Saturday 2 May 2015?
If we anticipate a brief stopover back in the second tier that culminates in promotion back to the land of milk and honey are we just setting ourselves up for a fall?
Or, given a debt-free balance sheet, parachute payments, a good crop of youngsters and a squad full of Premier League experience should we be bracing ourselves for a Lambert-esque charge to glory?
Because, ultimately, it boils down to the ‘expectation’ word again. And it’s that which will go a long way to defining the mood of the Canary Nation over the next eleven months.
With the spectre of ‘little Norwich’ still hovering over Carrow Road following the appointment of Neil Adams, the chances of a united Yellow Army currently seem some way off – and an unconvincing start to the season would do little to help.
Of course the aim should be to bounce back at the first time of asking – and to not do so at the first attempt would quickly see City subsumed amidst the gaggle of clubs fighting to get out of the Championship – but history tells us it’s a big ask.
Because, of the last 85 clubs relegated from the top flight, only 21 have bounced back first time, which – by my usually flawed ex-accountant logic – says 1 in 4. The odds are not in our favour.
We already know to our all-too-painful cost how difficult it is to bounce back and we’re one of a growing number who have not only failed, but headed further southwards in the seasons that followed – usually the result of not realigning finances to Championship levels.
And while I’m not suggesting that as a possibility for City – the club is at least in a good place financially right now – it is a stark reminder of how quickly things can change in football, especially when the parachute payments dry up.
But, regardless, it is going to be something of a slog. If thirty-eight games in the Premier League felt a bit like a sprint, the forty-six games of a Championship season are going to feel more like a 3,000 metre steeplechase. Plenty of hurdles and the odd water jump along the way.
If anyone is anticipating plain sailing they are destined for disappointment. But equally, a squad that last season conjured up – amongst a load of dross – some good performances at home against Spurs and Man City and away at Chelsea, should have enough wherewithal to compete with the best the Championship can throw at it.
While away days in the North-West and London invariably began with trepidation and ended in disappointment, this season there should be nothing outside the city walls to be feared; every game an opportunity to earn three points.
That much I do expect.
If, along the way, Team Adams can embed a style of play that is both pleasing on the eye and effective, then I suspect the Yellow Army will gradually get on board. Better still if we can see a pattern of play emerge that will become a familiar one.
One of the failings of Chris Hughton’s tenure was that, particularly in season two, there was no obvious method to City’s play. No sign of a system – one in which every player knew his job, and those of others – and no obvious way of playing by which the Class of 2014 could have been identified.
While I’m sure it wasn’t all off-the-cuff, that’s how it felt.
If Adams can achieve that much, and his team can play with a desire and intensity that suggests they care, that will be a good start.
And if, amidst some good, progressive football, a serious crack at the top six can emerge, then I suspect we’ll all start to feel a little more united.
All well and good on paper of course. Now just the small matter of delivering it.