Family love is messy, clinging, and of an annoying and repetitive pattern – like bad wallpaper
Norwich City forums, even ours, fit the description painfully well. A visiting Martian coming to MFW (as he no doubt would) might be forgiven for missing that we’re drawn together by a powerful, shared passion – in this case a love of our club and a burning desire to see it do well.
To describe a club like ours as a family can be a lazy cliché. But in many ways the comparison is apt. For the most part, we haven’t come together through friendship and choice; we’ve been thrown together by a common bond, and sometimes make uncomfortable bedfellows.
The MFW community – our regular writers and commenters – behave uncannily like a family. Our focus is that shared bond, but we have different views on how it’s functioning, whether it’s giving us a fair share, how it should develop. We take umbrage at real or imagined slights and lose perspective in our dealings with each other. We fall out when we never should.
I deliberately say “we” in that paragraph. I’m as guilty as anyone, and worse than many. I’ll come back to a New Season Resolution I’m going to try to make.
It’s always worth trying to find common ground in our common passion. Though much is up in the air at this stage of a key transfer window, I wonder if we can ascertain some patterns.
Whether or not we think Stuart Webber should be in the position he is, we know he’s trying to pull off some fancy footwork. We want a better-performing team next season, at the same time as keeping the club afloat by a sharp reduction in the playing budget (transfers and wages).
Even the more sceptical might see some cause for encouragement. From what we’ve seen and read of his performances in Scotland, Kenny McLean should make a positive impact; we know Moritz Leitner will. I’m looking forward to seeing a fit and prepared Onel Hernandez making his mark.
Ben Marshall looks to me a really good signing (if/when it’s confirmed). In terms of innate ability, he’s not on a par with the departed Josh Murphy; in terms of week in–week out effectiveness, he looks an improvement; and the trade has added substantially to our coffers.
We’ve lost some substantial talent, of course, especially James Maddison – the team set-up will inevitably be different in his absence. And of course, as Robin Sainty said here last week, the acid test will be our dealing in strikers.
One point perhaps not as highlighted as it might have been is the nature of our selling. We’ve sold some good players, for good prices; some of those players (Alex Pritchard, Josh Murphy) had made clear they wanted to be elsewhere. That’s enabled our selling to be selective. Far from the ‘fire sale’ predicted by some, we’ve been able to rebuff bids for players we’ve cultivated and who want to ply their trade for Norwich City – notably Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis.
Some reasons for a positive view; some for a negative one; some important factors in the mix still to come. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how it all comes together on the pitch – the only sensible yardstick, along with keeping the club financially viable, to judge by.
Let’s hope we’ll have more of a consensus view when we see the new team in action.
Returning to the nature of MFW for a minute. We love comments, both supportive and critical, on the articles we produce. It’s been observed, though, that sometimes the comments take us on a different path from the original articles. In particular, we get sucked into repetitive discussion of ownership and finances. No desire to censor that, but there are plenty of articles on those topics which provide ample opportunity to discuss them.
Again, I’m as guilty as anyone. Specifically, I’ve done a lot of (surely tedious to most readers) sparring with Dave Bowers. I resolve to cut that back. Happily, we have a real-life measure to judge between my views and Dave’s.
Back when we were discussing the Academy Bond, Dave stated his view that “barring a miracle, the club is headed for insolvency”. I don’t share that view. Now, there’s been no miracle – just Stuart Webber and Steve Stone doing the job they started last May. So we’ll see what happens. If the club goes insolvent, I’ll lose a small investment in the Academy – and I’ll publicly apologise to Dave here.
Meanwhile, it’s worth remembering the good (actually, great) of being part of the Norwich City family. It doesn’t mean criticism isn’t valid; sometimes it’s the best thing we can do for each other. Ultimately, we all want the same thing.
I’m not a habitual quoter of Les Dawson, but sometimes you can’t quibble:
Families are like fudge. Mostly sweet, with a few nuts