Mrs P and I own two terriers. I am well aware that several MFW regulars have dogs too and quite a few of you might relate to what is to follow.
One of ours is a four-year-old Patterdale named Geezer after Black Sabbath bass player and rabid Villa fan Geezer Butler. The other is Minnie, a two-year-old Jack Russell.
Now Geezer was chosen by us, trained by us and is an understated star of both the park and the beach as in that wherever he goes he is immediately appreciated and accepted by everybody. He is particularly good around other dogs. He’s also as hard as nails, a great little ratter and very much a team player.
Whereas Minnie is Mrs P’s rescue, as mad as a box of frogs and incredibly aggressive to very little effect except to inflate her own ego. She’s an occasionally effective maverick – she did get a mouse once, by default (it was Geezer’s assist and she finished it).
I was talking to a Norwich supporting mate over the park on Tuesday morning and he suggested our dogs had very much in common with Norwich City.
We likened Minnie to Nelson Oliveira, Steven Naismith and Ben Marshall and decided that Geezer would be a great squad player (or pack player to be strictly accurate).
Alex’s own Labrador-cross, Sara, never misses a ball thrown into her jaws so we compared her to Tim Krul.
To put all this sub-Crufts stuff into perspective, we concluded that sociability, fitting in, working hard and truly running with the pack is what has made our team so successful this season.
Daniel Farke quickly decided that Oliveira, Naismith, Marshall and Yanick Wildschut were basically the human equivalent of rescue dogs and let them all go to good temporary lodgings in order to eventually find a permanent home.
Farke and Stuart Webber also identified that all of ours who were “home-trained” from youth such as Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis were a much better bet and oh boy are we seeing the results – literally “on the park”.
And soon this squad will deservedly be on the beach. Sorry Geezer it won’t be Trimingham where we go, although with Onel Hernandez you never know for sure.
One of the major joys of this approach to me is that when in the future we are in competition to sign a few promising youngsters or “rough diamonds”, we will win the battle for those signatures because these lads know that if they join us they will get their chance if they prove themselves.
We already have fine players such as Adam Idah and Tristan Abrahams coming back from loan and Carlton Morris will be back to full fitness by the time we kick off the new season. Whichever League we are in.
Will any of those young strikers be part of next term’s squad? I cannot answer that. But Farke and his coaching team can and undoubtedly will as pre-season concludes.
The very, very best thing about “Farkeball” has been the established and well-observed team ethic. That is demonstrated so much during and after games that surely all of us are as one in getting behind and appreciating the concept.
We have nothing to fear in the next seven matches (okay, maybe Villa away – they’re on a roll – but it surely won’t matter by then).
One of the most important things I did when he was a puppy was to encourage Geezer to growl with disgust every time I said “1p5wich”.
Even Minnie has cottoned on to it and growls in higher-pitched unison with him.