“Is it dull at Arsenal now? Painfully so. It’s not the fourth place finish itself, it’s the manner we end up there, it’s the nature of the Round of Sixteen exits in the Champions League. Good or average, we will lose the home leg with an irretrievable deficit for the second leg.”
Archives for April 2016
Bly, forever etched on the minds of many a Canary fan as one of the clubs all time greats and a player synonymous with the 1959 FA Cup run, went into the fixture against Manchester United as a relative unknown. An unknown amongst many Norwich fans, let alone anyone else.
The coming weekend may be difficult for us. The season climax always brings unexpected results, but in theory our rivals’ games are easier than ours this time, and we may find ourselves deep in the bottom three by Saturday night.
In a previous column, I made the claim that we had been on the wrong end of all manner of decisions and inferred that we were the victims of a conspiracy theory that would grace any grassy knoll in Dallas. But again, is that bad luck or yet more examples of individual errors?
As ever when in the Prem, the highs are very high but few and far between while the lows are more plentiful and range between moderately disappointing to gut-wrenching. If it has to be a roller-coaster then it’s more Vegas than Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach.
I took a rare weekend off from BBC Football to come to Norfolk from London with my wife, spend quality time with my old mucker, and generally get a midwinter break. I feared the worst when some of our fans started to gloat at 4-1.
Liverpool gathered a head of steam for the inevitable reprisals yet Norwich not only weathered the storm, they struck again. Sullivan on the ball, as good a full back as the club has ever had, his perfectly timed ball behind the Liverpool back line finding Peters, always Peters, ghosting into position from nowhere to make it 2-0.
Listening to Canary Call on the way back from the game on Saturday I found myself thinking more and more about the board’s admission that they did indeed try to sign players in the summer window but for undisclosed reasons those signings didn’t come to fruition.
Our performance was variously described by fans on Saturday night as a “no-show”, “capitulation” and “disgrace”. I’ve checked back over the action and match figures, and they back up my recall. It was none of those things.
We also suffer a thumping dent in our goal difference on a day when Newcastle improved their own by three. We started the day with a seven goal advantage over them but ended it just a solitary goal better off.
Allardyce has overseen the odd successful relegation fight, has been around a bit and has a very loud voice but let’s not carried away. He’s no Pep Guardiloa or Jose Mourinho or even Rafa Benitez. Pound for pound I’d take Alex Neil any day.
Norwich manager John Bond knew that Peters, ever the professional, needed little to no supervision or management. As far as he was concerned, his new acquisition could have the run of the place, live where he liked, train as hard or as often as he liked and say what he liked.
I thought that seven points from three games might create sufficient composure that we wouldn’t panic at a setback. Apparently not. Saturday night saw gloom-and-doom set in with a vengeance; on social media fans queued up to express their despair.
Despite the outpouring of Twitter grief and the volley of dummies that accompanied Oliver’s final whistle, Palace have not inflicted a final, fatal blow to City’s chances of survival. They’ve just given our forward momentum a nasty jolt.
Indeed, as the advert treacled its way to a conclusion, the viewer might have been confused as to quite who the football coverage is being aimed at, such was the proliferation of scenes in the gym, the changing room, and the shower.
It would take a far braver man than me to argue the point with him but from my vantage point in the stands, some of our displays (the no-shows at Bournemouth and Villa for example) were suggestive of a team bereft of confidence and littered with personal mistakes and self-doubt.
While Jeff Stelling announced our winner as “the goal that could keep one club up and send another down”, the Sunday Telegraph billed it as a goal that “set Norwich on course for Premier League safety”.
At Norwich, the Canaries Trust worked with Forces2Canaries, Proud Canaries and the Barclay End Projekt to get the views of a wider set of fans across in our regular and always constructive discussions with the club, but debate and canvassing was never going to be enough in itself.
As a unit the Toon were a different proposition after the interval – it was inconceivable that they could be as ordinary as they were before the break – and the introduction Mitrovic certainly added an attacking presence that was simply not there before.
Across the back four, fitness permitting, fans’ favourite Timm Klose appears a shoo-in at centre-back and it looks likely that Russell Martin and Martin Olsson – Sweden’s official man of the match in their midweek draw with the Czech Republic – will join him.