I only keep a very, very distant watch on all things MyFootballWriter these days.
Which, in very large part, is testament to Gary’s superb stewardship of the site. This is his baby; the baton has been passed on.
But at times like this there is still this little hankering to throw your two-penneth in the ring after spending nigh-on half your adult life keeping a watching brief on Carrow Road.
And the personalities at the centre of this latest storm do intrigue.
Just as they did when Martin met Robert. And one wanted Dean Windass. And he wanted him before the end of the century.
Football is an ugly business. And, basically, getting ever uglier. Play nice and play by the rules invariably gets you nowhere.
Where was Norwich’s fine for breaking the Financial Fair Play rules? Bournemouth will be playing Premier League football again next season. Leicester City will be playing Champions League football.
Both have been fined. For not playing nice when it came to Financial Fair Play.
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. McNally was a man for back streets and knuckle dusters; just as the more patrician airs of Alan Bowkett was all City boardrooms and Highland shooting parties.
The two were chalk and cheese; oil and water; the club was never going to be big enough for the both of them, long-term.
You can see, therefore, why McNally plumped for an Alex Neil. He was a known quantity.
Where – from a distance – McNally started to put his foot wrong was when he suddenly emerged as the ‘executive chairman of the football department’ – or whatever title that role carried.
It put him too close to Colney; should the worst happen – as it is about to – his finger prints would be all over the club’s recruitment policy. Or lack thereof.
Neil Doncaster may have had his faults, but he knew his place was in Carrow Road, not Colney. He did not presume to know his football.
But there is one other figure that is not getting much of a mention in the pieces I have read. And, I would suspect, must have had his say of late.
Football is on a par with Westminster in terms of the back-street brawls and late night stabbings that go on behind that grand Gothic Victorian facade.
And Balls has never struck me as one to shirk a fight. Particularly in the bear pit of the Commons at Prime Minister’s Questions.
And then there is the heir apparent, Young Tom, Delia’s nephew.
“Most of my experience is about helping people make decisions, often in tough circumstances when there is an awful lot at stake,” said the former MoD civil servant, at the time of his appointment to the Board.
“For much of my career this was in military operations,” he added, for all the world sounding like Our Man in Kabul.
“I have a diversity of experience in a variety of roles. The single strand that runs through all of that, however, is the ability to inform decision making in challenging circumstances.”
Which makes him ideally qualified to deal with this one.
Or maybe it was his ‘informed decision-making’ allied to Balls’ Westminster ways that left McNally feeling left out in the cold as Neil’s first season in the Premier League all went a bit south.
Recruitment policy – be it of the teenage, Academy variety or of the Defoe-esque scoring ability – will be the weapon of choice this summer as the recriminations begin.
Reports are that Leicester will fight a £10m fine for breaching the FFP rules; Bournemouth got whacked £7.5m.
And this, I think, remains Norwich’s biggest moral dilemma given the current owners that they have. And will have for the foreseeable now under Balls and Smith, Jnr.
Are we going to play Premier League games nice – or dirty?
And is the era of relying on Glasgow’s finest coming to a close?
What lessons are we learning from the Southamptons and the Leicester’s, the West Hams and the Tottenhams?
It might not be a dull summer.
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