For some City fans this afternoon’s result came as a crushing blow. No sooner have Adams’ men has rediscovered what it feels like to win again, than some of our number appear to have already forgotten how it feels not to win. There were even a few boos ringing around the River End at the final whistle.
Archives for August 2014
And the stock of Neil Adams continues to rise. Four wins in a row is impressive by any standards, but with the fourth of those being achieved by an XI that comprised youth with a smattering of experience was doubly pleasing.
For their part the home side were a huge disappointment. The passing principles of years gone by have been abandoned in favour of an approach that is more Wimbledon Crazy Gang than Barcelona’esque tiki-taka.
His inswinging corner was initially headed clear from the Ipswich six-yard box but Tettey’s header back into the danger area was met by the unmarked Grabban, who steered his close range header beyond keeper Dean Gerken.
Seeing John Ruddy launch the ball to Josh Murphy and then watch him hare towards the goal was more Roy of the Rovers than Blackburn Rovers. And that’s exactly why most of us go and watch football – sheer entertainment!
Many City fans will already know that we are the proud owners of the first football chant ever recorded in the form of ‘On the Ball City’, and whilst far from perfect (more of which later), I think we can rightly claim to be some of the better fans in terms of number, volume and inventiveness when it comes to chanting.
The half-time arrival of Ryan Bennett helped to shore things up at the back, even though it was a forced change – due to Javier Garrido’s injury – as opposed to the managerial masterstroke I hailed it at the time. But it will have been duly noted by those who matter.
“After the first 15 minutes, I couldn’t fault the performance of the players,” said Adams afterwards. “They were outstanding.”
As ever, the trick when playing with an extra man is to shift the ball at pace and to make the pitch as big as possible. City did both well, and at the heart of it was the unlikely figure of Bradley Johnson.
“We needed to get the first win on the board as quickly as possible,” he told BBC Radio Norfolk. “We needed to come here and put on a show and we more than did that.”
“This isn’t a book about victory, FA Cup Final wins or trophies on the mantelpiece because I have none of those. It’s a book about determination, commitment and, as I said, a genuine love of the game. And it was about me wanting to show the Norwich City fans, who have always shown faith in me, that I was a good player who could contribute to their team”
Since that glorious glancing header, which had Anders Lindegaard clutching at thin air, we’ve seen very little of that tormentor of top-six full-backs. He disappeared, with a succession of injuries doing little to propel his career in a forward direction.
“We did, we certainly didn’t go down 4-0 every time. We won 2-0 at Old Trafford on the night Gary Pallister made his debut, which was in 1989. We also won 2-1 there the previous season, Micky Phelan and Andy Townsend scored.”
With Kyle Lafferty’s cameo catching the eye, will – or perhaps should – the Irishman be let loose on Beppe Sannino’s high-flyers? And should Adams persist with the Martin/Turner combo? Or has Ryan Bennett done more than enough to earn a shot?
“I didn’t really know where Norwich was at first! I was travelling down here with Ken Brown and Nigel Pleasants (club secretary at the time), we were going along the A47, and, well, that road – it just goes on forever, doesn’t it?”
The light touch of the Wolves stewards – only enforcing the law (and it is a law) where the standers were being deliberately inconsiderate to others – was helpful to the majority of supporters. We all care about the same team. We all give our money, our time and our emotional commitment to the same cause. Surely we can ALL show basic decency and politeness to each other?
Getting back into the Land of Milk and Honey at the first time of asking was never going to be easy and, to my mind, today’s events might serve as a ‘welcome’ reality check for anyone who thought otherwise.
When in possession City shifted the ball too slowly. Their passing was laboured, and lacked precision and zip. And, in truth, the home side looked to have a greater appetite for the battle. For City there will be better days ahead but the ghosts of the Chris Hughton era still remain.
That City haven’t managed a win on opening day for eleven consecutive seasons will hopefully mean nothing to Neil Adams’ chosen XI and the aforementioned clean sheet of paper applies equally to unwanted records and bogey grounds.
You want someone suitably qualified for the job, and I feel that as a First Division winner with Everton, experience of playing in the Premier League, and more recently taking a then largely unknown quantity to Stamford Bridge and winning the FA Youth Cup, Neil Adams certainly doesn’t have a bad CV.