With my editorial hat on, I loathe international breaks. Generally, for obvious reasons, there’s a paucity of Norwich City news and so a limited number of topics for the team to mull over – not that they ever let me down.
But this one’s been a little bit different.
First of all, we had the club drip-feeding us titbits about some ‘contract news’, which ended up being not one, not two, but three of our bright young things extending their contracts, and then the shock news that Steve Stone had departed his role as managing director.
All of which triggered conspiracy theories abound – doubly understandable with no games to talk about – most of which were probably way off the mark but amusing nonetheless.
The contract extensions were of the win-win variety, with the club, in theory, tieing down Jamal Lewis, Louis Thompson and Max Aarons for at least three more years. I say in theory because we all know how football works and, of course what they have actually done is insure themselves against losing one or more of these assets to the bigger boys.
In a perfect world, all three will see out these contracts during which time the club will have taken significant strides toward a return to the Premier League – and we’d all love that – but the rate of progression, especially of the two teenagers, means it’s nigh on certain that those with deeper pockets and loftier ambitions will come calling at some stage.
At least the club’s hand is now strengthened.
It’s worth noting too that while some are quick to throw in the ‘we’ll always be a selling club’ line, sometimes it’s a simple question of opportunity knocking for the player.
The sale of James Maddison over the summer had always been earmarked as a financial-black-hole-filler – the club made no secret of that – but regardless, the likelihood is Maddison would have departed anyway. As much as he loved his time here, he’s a lad with massive talent and ambition to match and he’d outgrown us.
The football food chain can be cruel but it is what it is. The trick obviously is ensuring the loss of any player doesn’t leave a massive hole in the team and also insuring that the club is properly compensated for that loss.
That said, I’d love nothing more than Messrs Lewis, Thompson and Aarons to become the finished articles while still wearing the yellow and green, and if they do then we’re almost guaranteed to be in a good place.
I never met Steve Stone – Stewart Lewis was MFW’s man-on-the-inside for the Stone interview – but everyone tells me he was a nice bloke who did a fine job for the club. In fact, I never heard a bad word uttered about the man.
All of which suggests the parting of the ways was nothing more than your average ‘talented employee departs for new pastures’ scenario. But I’m guessing.
Equally, almost every workplace has tensions, and working behind the scenes at a Championship football club, with all the inevitable stresses and strains it brings, is certainly no Joyland. We don’t require them all to be best buddies, so if any departure is rooted in a personality clash then that too is normal.
And as for the ‘odd’ timing… I’m not sure too much can be read into a managing director departing a couple of weeks before the AGM, even if it has offered the conspiracy theorists a simple tap in.
What really matters is how the club addresses the departure, and they certainly acted swiftly with a mini-restructure and promotion of Ben Kensell and Zoe Ward (aka Mrs Webber); something that suggests it wasn’t a matter that was sprung upon them.
David McNally, who despite his stormy departure knows a thing or two about running a football club, was quick to sing the praises of Kensell, which in itself is a thing of comfort.
All we ask is that the club, from an administrative level, operates professionally and efficiently, and enhances rather than hinders the footballing side of the business. Quite who does the operating matters not one jot.
Finally, some of you will be aware of a fine Twitter account called @RewindNorwich, which has recently spawned an equally fine website of the same name (funnily enough). For those who are not, you’re missing a treat.
In its own words it ‘celebrates classic and trivial Norwich City moments from the past. Lest we forget those cult figures, yellow nets and Jonatan Johansson’. Get the gist?
Well, an already high bar was usurped this week when its creator, Jamie Marrison, put together a montage of eight of the $hittest Norwich City goals you’re ever likely to see. And it’s glorious, absolutely glorious.
Not only does it include Dean Coney’s infamous derriere moment, but also the world’s best/worst goal celebration from Mike Milligan in response to a Jon Newsome special.
If international breaks are the trigger for Jamie to come up with gems like these, then maybe they’re not so bad after all.
It’s here. Please enjoy.