I’ll make no bones about it and no apologies for it – I was a casual sports sub-editor on The Sun in the 1980s, which was a fine way to supplement the “average” wages from my then day job with a well-known East London newspaper group, which is somehow still going to this very day.
While I have little time for the political stance adopted by The Sun and even less for one R. Murdoch, their sports team was good then and is now. So I continue to buy the paper religiously, even if I always read it from the back page and tend to give up after “Dear Deidre” and the telly section in order to avoid the rants in the front section of the paper.
But the Sun on Sunday came up with something yesterday that I have never previously seen. They always feature a team of the day slot and it included four – yes, four – Norwich City players. Marco Stiepermann, Jamal Lewis, Emiliano Buendia and Teemu Pukki.
Four players from the same side is unknown under these circumstances, even with limited Championship fixtures on the day. They even had Stieperdude (copyright Spudgunner Canary) down as a holding midfielder in order to squeeze him into their graphic.
One of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s better Sherlock Holmes novels, although it never made it to adaptation on the silver screen to my knowledge, was The Sign of Four.
And four was quite a significant number for us at the Reebok (see Gary, I did read your article) on Saturday.
Jim D, in the first comment to GG’s piece, has already referred to Chris Sutton, Paul Merson and particularly Colin Murray of Quest TV heaping praise upon us. Quest even outroed with all four of our goals.
Each was a thing of beauty.
No point in recounting all four of them as the whole world seemingly already has. But I will pick out my favourite, which was that sublime, truly sublime move involving six passes from within our own box to Pukki. His check to get inside his marker and finish beyond an outwitted (but otherwise excellent) Remi Matthews was class. Pure class.
Through balls from Stieperdude and Christoph Zimmermann (or even Zimmerdude) were exquisite but topped by Kenny McLean when his exquisite pass left Buendia free in so much space he could have probably turned a back-flip before burying his acrobatic strike.
When Pukki dispatched the last of the four with that delightful lob, the closest player to him was wearing a yellow shirt.
As I said, I wouldn’t mention our four goals. Much.
But let’s collectively relax as we recall our bench from Saturday. Timm Klose, Moritz Leitner, Grant Hanley, Jordan Rhodes, Todd Cantwell, Dennis Srbeny and a seemingly-content with his back-up role Michael McGovern.
If the site of that line-up on the team sheet doesn’t scare the living $hite out of the oppo I don’t know what will.
I’ll conclude with a cautionary tale for all of us who have ever taken a penalty, and indeed those yet to enjoy the experience, if anybody under seven happens to be reading!
It was difficult for me to get a regular starting berth in my very good Sunday League side, but I was “Des” for the Press Gang in the afternoon matches. I had one technique and one only.
I would approach the ball with my head down and firmly stare at the keeper’s right-hand post then at the last second, I’d open my body and side foot it to his left. This worked about four or five times, until one day the keeper read me and in the last split second, I had to put it to his right. It dribbled in off the base of the post by sheer luck. I never took another one – my head for that particular job had gone, even though it crept in.
But I enjoyed the gift of our news editor Andy Simpson as manager and not Daniel Farke as a coach. Go on DF – sort this topic out!
As I’ve been going on about the number four (should have mentioned the wonderful Ben Godfrey earlier in the context of that really) I would suggest the most important numerical for us now is thirteen, as in games to go,
Let’s stay strong for fractionally less than the last quarter of the season. I’m sure we will.
As for Mind the Gap, I really can’t be a$$ed. They cannot finish above us after all.