C is for clappers. Once again their presence failed to save us. In the hands of Leicester fans, they are seen as a wonderful expression of passionate fandom; in our hands, a source of great mirth to radio/TV commentators and pundits. Please let’s consign them to the bin of history.
Archives for May 2016
The Murphys have proved relatively successful in Leagues One and Two but neither were ready to cut it in the Champ last time round and it’s hard to see Carlton Morris’s spell at Hamilton Accies being sufficient to fast-track him into City’s forward line of one.
One thing is for certain and that is, unlike the season just gone, you couldn’t necessarily point a finger at deficiencies in the Canaries defence. We conceded just 76 goals in that campaign.
The bonus ball going into our Championship campaign is that things have changed at the top. The staff at Norwich City can now enjoy a club run on purely on yellow and green passion as opposed to fear. This should create a real feel good factor.
Behind the scenes there were problems brewing, even as we partied at Wembley, but they were so far in the background it was impossible to tell. And besides, in moments of elation no-one cares a jot if everything isn’t perfect.
Britain was still a nation where the notion of ‘Derring-do’ was still in vogue, and, having talked the talk, Pilch set about walking the not inconsiderable walk required to make things happen.
Miss a good chance; make a mistake; concede a goal; and watch the opponents play keep ball until you ultimately go home feeling deflated. No Leicester fairy tale for us; just week after week of hard grind and ultimate disappointment.
I’ve seen suggestions from fans about our summer business, including some who want to keep all our top earners and most valuable assets, then add some. Unless Bournemouth’s billionaire suddenly feels an irresistible urge to relocate to Norfolk, that’s not happening.
The club’s DNA is currently entwined with a self-funding model, a seemingly old fashioned model of simply spending what we can afford. Many are questioning, as commendable though that is, whether it is actually now sufficient to survive in the Premier League beyond the odd season or three? Whatever your view, it raises two recurring themes, which seem to be “in vogue” throughout football at the moment: club ownership and additional investment.
I think we know we have got what it takes to be a bigger club. Colney will be undergoing a refurbishment in the summer and we have now appointed a head of recruitment, which I feel is where our failure to strengthen lies.
Away defeats at Aston Villa, Newcastle, Swansea and Bournemouth have had the most damaging ramifications, whilst the hammering at the hands of Sunderland last month was the most visible manifestation of City’s absence of quality.
Alex Neil and Gary O’Neil both spoke of their surprise at the crowd reaction; each expecting rather more in the way of pointed-fingers and questions being asked. But the players and management were given a standing ovation at they walked on their lap of… something, their names being sung passionately and defiantly into the Norwich night sky.
£25 million next season, with some judicious transfer business, will put the relegated clubs at a tremendous advantage again. A club like Ipswich – just to give you a cheery example – can only dream of having that sort of money at their disposal.
Do we go all out to get back there by the end of next season? Do we throw money at the objective and do it whatever the cost (like QPR back in 2014), which brings short-term delight at the cost of long term pain?
David McNally’s rise to fame and considerable fortune came on the back of a spell as Commercial Director at Celtic. Where, one presumes, his awareness of Paul Lambert started. Celtic Park and Glasgow’s tribal divides is a School of Hard Knocks.
Faced with the inevitability of City’s relegation, he will have turned in on his own role. The clear shortcomings of player recruitment, especially in the summer, are at his door. He’ll have felt, I suspect, that he let us down.
Under McNally, and with Alan Bowkett riding shotgun, we dodged the bullets of numerous financial institutions and all that League One and the Championship could throw at us and emerged, four seasons later, as a debt-free, efficiently run, Premier League football club.
There evidently are to be none of the ‘twists’ that we have been promised. Just four defeats on the bounce during which we have not scored a single goal. In a second-half yesterday where we were ‘fighting for our lives’, de Gea didn’t have a single shot to save.
The mentality that existed amongst that 2011 promotion-winning side was what achieved the astounding feat that season. Yes, we had a talented squad…but it was City’s relentless tenacity, psychological strength and fundamental perseverance that saw us promoted.
No-one could see past the comfortable victory that was being predicted for United who, in response to the Norwich triumvirate of Bryceland, Bolland and Heath offered up Charlton, Law and Best.