Things are never dull around these parts. I’ll say that much.
From consecutive 0-0 draws to seven-goal thrillers, even if we did end up on the wrong end… and were pretty rubbish.
Typically there was a heavy fall-out from the latest setback – and there’s no disguising the paucity of performance for long spells of yesterday’s game – but against a background of Hull fighting for their Championship lives and us drifting to an Ipswich Town style season end, this was always a possibility.
That’s not an excuse, but in such circumstances – one team operating at 100 percent and the opposition at, say, 98 percent – the small differences end up making a huge difference.
That, of course, is no consolation to anyone who witnessed such an ordinary offering but let’s not write off the project and declare the decline terminal off the back of City’s first defeat in eight games.
Right now we are the epitome of an average Championship side – one that includes one exceptional player who sometimes takes us beyond the average and into the ‘good’. But in the greater scheme of things we are mid-table fodder.
Whether you see us as a mid-table club with a plan that has forward momentum or a club on the slide with dwindling resources depends on your glass being half full or half empty. Me? I honestly still can’t decide. Maybe we’re neither.
I, naturally, desperately want this to work and I admire both the vision and determination of Stuart Webber and the method and manner of Daniel Farke, but I genuinely can’t decide if the limitations within which they are working are just too restrictive for them to achieve their ultimate goal. What I do believe is it will require, at times, slices of good fortune and a prevailing wind.
In terms of what occurred on the rugby pitch of the KCOM, it was below par stuff and that we could easily have been 4-0 down in the first ten minutes says it all. In fairness, to find the wherewithal to rally at 1-0 down and, largely thanks to the brilliance of hat-trick man James Maddison, turn 1-0 into 1-3 says something about the character of this group, but at no stage was it a lead of any comfort.
Jamal Lewis – who for almost the first time, looked like someone still learning his trade – gave Hull a lifeline with that clumsy challenge just before half-time, and the scene was unfortunately set. City were, for once, unequipped defensively to repel Hull’s vibrancy and high tempo attacking thrust.
The equaliser straight after half-time was, by general consensus, a bit of a joke – even Nigel Adkins agreed – and quite how or why Tim Robinson awarded a penalty only he knows, but it shouldn’t be used as mitigation. Hull were well worth the win, and the winner was a counter-attack and finish right out of the top drawer.
So, no complaints. City weren’t at it. Hull were. The beauty of that well-drilled back three looks ever more beautiful when compared to yesterday’s bedraggled back-four, for whom even Alex Tettey struggled to offer an effective shield.
The shape didn’t look or feel right, and there were echoes of defensive horror shows of months gone by. I think we all know what needs to happen from here on in, even if that means blooding Sean Raggett into a back-three.
Let’s just hope Daniel has watched the video of last season’s trip to Barnsley ahead of Tuesday night. Another one of those and things will get tetchy.
For someone who writes about Norwich City for (part of) my living, I consider myself to have escaped fairly lightly in terms of online stick and verbals. Part of that comes with the thick skin you develop and the other part because I’ve just been simply lucky, especially when compared to colleagues who have been subject to particularly malicious forms of trolling.
But my initial reaction to the club’s announcement this week on the future funding of the Academy – through an issue of £3.5 million worth of bonds – has, I guess, dragged me into the real world of online aggro.
‘Uneducated’ … ‘professional moaner’ … ‘a hater’ … ‘baldie’ (couldn’t argue with that one) … were a few that I could repeat on a family website. I was also accused of not knowing the difference between a loan and a donation; quite a charge to level against someone who worked as an accountant for over a quarter of a century.
And the daft thing? I have no problem with the route that Stuart Webber and Steve Stone have taken with regard to the raising of this funding. None whatsoever. In the circumstances, I’d even go as far as to say both have played a blinder, based, apparently, on the premise of an idea from Tom Smith.
It offers those with the will and the ability to contribute to something worthwhile while earning themselves what looks a very decent return on their investment. I won’t, unfortunately, have said ability but in different circumstances, I’d have been happy to be a part.
Where I fell foul of some loud, vociferous and sometimes sweary online voices was when I expressed disappointment at the club having to undertake this bond issue in the first place.
Since 2011/12 the club has been in receipt of some form of Premier League funding – sometimes the full whack, other years parachute payments – supported throughout by a massive wedge of Murdoch (and BT Sport) millions. Am sure there’s someone out there who’ll tell me an exact number, but whatever it is it will make £3.5 million seem like small change.
Along the way, the club has haemorrhaged money at an alarming rate – as is the wont of every Premier League or wannabee Premier League club – all while Colney was falling into varying stages of disrepair. Worse still, through no fault of Messrs Webber and Stone, it continues to do so, albeit now at a diminishing rate thanks to some radical pruning.
So, I can see why £3.5 million is now beyond the reach of the club but given the money that has slipped through its fingers in the last few years, and squandered in several cases, I also feel a tad peeved that it has come to this. And all against the backdrop of that Times interview.
That was my point… I just was shouted down before I even had the chance to make it.
A ridiculous suggestion, but maybe we should just try and be a bit nicer to each other, and respect those whose opinions differ.