I can see into the future (I can’t really…). But let’s imagine for just a few minutes that I really can. So… here’s the story of 2017-18:
Anticipation among supporters for the 2017-18 campaign was rife. Up and down the land, the summer months had been spent either overhyping or lambasting each and every signing on social media. There was much bemoaning of the new kit and season ticket prices, before going ahead and purchasing both anyway.
But as the calendars turned to reveal August, suddenly punters’ pint glasses were overflowing. Optimism. ‘This is going to OUR season’.
Relegated Middlesbrough were the bookies’ favourites having spent heavily on proven Championship players. Aston Villa had bought big-name experience but would two games in a week prove too much for their wrinklies?
At the other end, could plucky Burton Albion maintain their second-tier status for a third lap in spite of having Jez Moxey behind the wheel? Could Ipswich Town stave off both relegation AND promotion yet again?
It had been a summer of monumental change in Norfolk. The Northern Distributor Road was coming along nicely and at Carrow Road a rebuild was taking place. Finally, at long last, somebody had decided urgent change was needed.
Personally I’d have added a little bit of yellow and green into the brickwork, but the new footpaths surrounding the River End did look vastly improved.
Meanwhile, Stuart was having his Webberlution at Colney.
High earners and low performers were finally pushed out. And in strutted numerous signings who most people had never heard of but knew loads about by searching their name on Google.
German beast Daniel Farke arrived as Head Coach. Not Manager, Head Coach. It’s important to get it right – they are different roles and it is frustrating when people get it wrong.
Labelled as a hugely flexible tactician and people person, fans grew excited by the softly spoken gaffer. Farkemania immediately swept across the Broads and beyond. You couldn’t walk through Spooner Row without seeing someone in a Farke T-shirt. What could possibly go wrong?
Traditionally, opening day takes place in temperatures hot enough for Delia to cook an egg, but the weather was stormy as 3,000+ Canaries migrated to bogey ground, Craven Cottage.
Manager Daniel Farke picked a 4-1-4-1 system.
Twitter was awash with fans screaming at one inclusion in particular: “Why isn’t Robert Zimmermann playing instead of Russell Martin?” “We are definitely going down if Martin plays.”
In truth, the weather should have given a clue as to what to expect, as City were felled by a late penalty after a Fulham player was tugged down in the area by the ghost of Ryan Bennett.
So the new season began with a disappointing defeat – but all was not lost. At least City had avoided their annual spanking in the West End. Most remained optimistic of a good season. However, some fans began to sharpen their pitchforks and saved their #webberout #farkeout #deliaout hashtags to ‘draft’.
During the week, City eased through against the mighty Swindon Town in the first round of the Cowabunga Cup in front of a packed South Stand.
Sunderland were the visitors for Norwich’s opening home league match. There was an emotional tribute before the match to Bradley Lowery, who sadly died just a few weeks earlier, and the Friendly Cup was renamed in his honour.
Farke picked a 3-4-3 system. His side dominated possession and although there were loud boos from the Snakepit each time captain Martin chose to pass the ball sideways rather than hoof it long, it was all forgotten when he netted the winner. City had their first three points in the bag.
QPR were next to head to The Fine City. Farke picked a 3-1-4-2 system.
Rangers were duly despatched by a classy, confident Yellows performance, embodied by Mario Vrancic’s splendid rabona free kick in front of the Barclay.
Villa Park Retirement Home was the setting for a hard-fought score draw against Aston Villa. Farke picked a 2-1-5-2 system.
The hilarity of seeing John Terry put through his own net was too much for some people who took to Photoshop, creating a series of funny memes about ‘scoring somewhere he shouldn’t have’.
August was a hectic month. Norwich were drawn away to West Ham United in the next round of the Cowabunga Cup. Thousands boarded replacement bus services and headed to the capital for a first visit to the Olympic Park. It ended in defeat.
The exciting cup run was over – time to concentrate on the league. Despite the cup exit, it had been a promising start to the campaign.
The final day of the transfer window arrived. Harry Redknapp hadn’t even stuck his head out of his car window and Jim White had barely ironed his yellow tie when news broke of an unexpected transfer. Matt Jarvis had left Norwich City and signed a 3-year deal with Injury Lawyers 4 U.
End of August: Played 5, Won 2, Drawn 2, Lost 1. Out in 2nd Round Cowabunga Cup
Thoughts of fans on social media: #webberin #farkein #deliain #ihatefulham #ripbradley #lolterry
Following the conclusion of the international break City claimed back-to-back home victories over Redknapp’s Brummies and Clough’s Burties.
The fans excitement increased. There was now a real confidence, almost a swagger – everyone was getting behind the new regime.
Days later, Norwich were promptly cut to smithereens at newly promoted Sheffield United, losing 4-0. The newly-promoted Blades were the surprise package of the season so far.
The Canaries then failed to win any of the next three games, including a late-night, smog-filled defeat to a Jonny Howson-inspired Middlesbrough. Howson himself was quick to charismatically express himself in his usual, inimitable manner after the game: “Errr, yeah, err… I hit it and it err, it went in. Err… do you like fishing?”
The early season excitement and expectancy levels that had increased to fever pitch were now in tatters and fans began questioning the new regime. “Pass, pass, pass. How boring! It was more fun when that Chrissy Houghton was in charge.”
Meanwhile, ex-bench warmer Kyle Lafferty launched his own range of gent’s fragrances called ‘Dench Bench’. It bombed and he blocked everyone on Twitter who made fun of it.
End of September: Played 11, Won 4, Drawn 3, Lost 4.
#webberout #farkeout #deliaout #sheffieldmassacre #ffshowson #laffertysmells
October began with the first managerial casualty. Bottom-of-the-table QPR fired Ian Holloway and their parting statement read: “Unfortunately it just hasn’t worked out. Ollie was much funnier first time around and that covered up his inabilities as a manager. He’s lost the dressing room, the fans and his joke book.” He was replaced by Peter Kay.
Norwich meanwhile recorded an excellent victory over Hull City of Culture before a trip to deepest, darkest Suffolk to face the evil Ipswich Town.
Nelson Oliveira had been City’s star man this season. His goal column read 8 goals in 12 games, a statistic which had seen him given super hero status amongst the banners and flags in the Barclay. He even had a song that wasn’t simply his name being sung to a different tune. It had actual words – that’s how much he was adored.
Ipswich, meanwhile, were languishing in mid table as usual. There’d been more balls land on the roof of the Cobbold Stand than had been nestled in their opponents’ onion bag. 10,000 blue plastic seats greeted the teams as they exited the tunnel.
Manager Daniel Farke picked a 3-1-1-3-1-1 system.
An astonishing opening 20-minute burst from the Yellows saw them net three times, Oliveira grabbing two of them. City controlled the game but second half substitute Tom ‘Cristiano Ronaldo if you listen to their fans banging on about him’ Adeyemi grabbed an inevitable goal against his former employers.
City wobbled briefly under an intense aerial bombardment but ten minutes later the super hero Oliveira got the ball 30 yards from goal and KA-POW! Left foot. Postage stamp. Hat-trick! That was liquid football. Make that man a Lord.
For both remaining Ipswich fans, Angus Gunn’s hilarious air kick in stoppage time offered nothing more than a little light relief as their classier rivals ran out 4-2 winners.
John Ruddy and Ryan Bennett returned to Carrow Road late in the month with their expensively assembled Wolverhampton Wanderers side in dire relegation trouble. Ruddy is still yet to make a save this season while Bennett, following howls of derision from supporters, was dropped the week before and replaced with a new born giraffe as they felt it’d be more stable on its feet.
City keep the Wolves at bay and claim a comfortable three points.
End of October: Played 15, Won 7, Drawn 4, Lost 4.
#webberin #farkein #deliain #ollieout #lordnelson #sonofagunn #ruddyhell
The returning Alex Neil brought his Preston North End team to Carrow Road in November on the back of an eight-game winless run. Pressure was mounting on the former City boss – criticised by the Lancashire Evening Post for ‘not having a Plan B’. Could this be his last game in charge?
Manager Daniel Farke picked a 2-1-2-2-1-2 system.
The Scot came back to haunt his former side. His team put in a performance of high-quality defending while all three of his early substitutes were involved in the winning goal during a smash-and-grab victory.
End of November: Played 19, Won 8, Drawn 6, Lost 5.
#webberout #farkeout #deliaout #bringneilhome #formationman
The lead up to Christmas saw more inconsistency from the Canaries with two wins, two draws and two defeats, as they continued to battle to adjust to the various formations and new style of play. But they were fit. Boy were they fit!
Ed Balls headed into the jungle for ‘I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’ but was kicked out early on after rowing off-camera with presenters Ant and Dec over which was the better Murphy twin.
On the pitch, Sergi Canos made his first appearance at Carrow Road to a hero’s welcome from the Snakepit as his impressive Brentford team went away with a share of the spoils.
Meanwhile, a David Stockdale own-goal handed victory to Norwich against Redknapp FC – his third goal for City in his last two visits to Norfolk, putting him a creditable 250th on their all-time top scorers list – ahead of Ricky van Wolfswinkel but still some way behind Gareth McAuley who is eighth.
On New Year’s Eve, City sat in a respectable seventh position on 38 points –three points outside the play offs.
End of December: Played 25, Won 10, Drawn 8, Lost 7.
#webberout #farkeout #deliaout #stockdalegoalmachine #ballsout