I can take James Bond films with the proverbial pinch of salt, particularly those that have been made without Sean Connery or Roger Moore.
But if the Championship’s Manager of the Year runner-up walked into a hotel lounge, announced: “the name is Farke. Daniel Farke”, and asked for his Martini cocktail “shaken, not stirred”, it would not surprise me one jot.
When faced with full-on Pulisball, we might have been shaken – certainly up until we scored – but were definitely not stirred.
We could have been two up at half-time with Teemu Pukki having two decent chances – ironically one from a long punt from Tim Krul that was messed up by the ball-drying, long throw merchant Ryan Shotton only for the excellent Darren Randolph to deny our Finnish finisher. Randolph also denied Pukki again with a close-range save.
Despite the Boro pressure, Randolph had more meaningful work to do than Krul in the first-half and that general pattern would continue in the second.
Everyone’s favourite pigeon fancier Jonny Howson tried to dribble his way out of a Boro defensive bodge-up and the man from Argos burst across the box to fire past a wrong-footed and probably unsighted Randolph.
The predictable bombardment came at the end when the Pulis boys loaded the mortars and fired them when they could.
But our guys deep in the trenches did not yield an inch.
I’m not sure exactly where six minutes of time added on came from – 30 seconds per sub and a little bit of time-wasting (I mean game-management) can add up though I guess.
Anyway, we weren’t at our flowing best – we couldn’t be in a fixture like that – but we were ready to rumble from the start and toughed it out until the finish in admirable fashion.
I’m not superstitious as such but I do believe in omens. Last week I asked Gary G to change my “favourite current player” from Ivo Pinto to Christoph Zimmermann in MFW’s columnists’ biog section. And I was well rewarded.
But my favourite Zimbo moment occurred after the final whistle. There he was, holding his Sky man-of-the-match plaque behind his back in his left hand while shaking hands with our wonderful travelling support with his right. What a geezer.
Tony Pulis said afterwards that his lads simply failed to take their chances and it cost them dearly. But we had more chances of the clear-cut variety. But no sour grapes from him so respect for that.
Now we have a full week of recovery and training before the arrivals of a down-at-heel QPR and a minorly resurgent Reading at the Carra.
I find it difficult to see anything other than those fixtures being won by the form horse (not the one Daniel Farke was pictured on at Lippstad). Then a trip to Wigan accompanied by an incredible travelling contingent of 5,000 Canaries. That could see us on 90 points but 88 would do for me from that trio of matches.
With Stoke away and the ineffective hard men of Blackburn (ask Mo and Timm) at home to follow.
I doubt the final two games against Wednesday and Villa will be of much consequence to us.
Sorry Yorkshire, but we won’t blow it from here.
I know he claims not to care about awards, but if Farke doesn’t get Manager of the Month for March It will be a travesty. What more can you do but win every match you contest within 31 days?
James Bond, of course, was known as 007. As in seven points clear and seven wins on the bounce, I’m sure.
And as for Scaramander down the road, it’s erm, now 57, which is quite a gap to mind.