For much of that inaugural Premier League season, Norwich topped the table. At one point we were, and read this slowly, EIGHT points clear at the top. Of the Premier League. Extraordinary. One bloke’s even written a book about that crazy season, that one of Fantasy Football when we could, maybe should, have won it.
The celebrity fan is a must spot for any photographer or TV company covering the game. It seems to be a matter of professional pride for them as to how swiftly they can seek out, focus on and display them for all the world to see. We’re all used, of course, to the obligatory shot of Delia that accompanies any televising of a Norwich match-live or highlights-but she’s an easy target, especially at Carrow Road.
Confronted with the twice annual transfer window madness and inevitably fielding questions about who Norwich might be signing this month, Chris Hughton has been his usual calm, considered and thoroughly professional self. No prospects for any Sky news teams of intercepting, a’la Harry Redknapp, our Manager in his Range Rover, interviewing him about the latest Venezuelan striking sensation linked with the club.
You can only sympathise with the brief seasonal hardships that some of these wealthy, privileged and hugely popular young professionals have to go through at Christmas. It can’t be easy when the entire population, rather than just you and your mates, are living to excess and enjoying the fruits of their labours.
Norwich fans have always hung their hats on a hero. The larger than life personality, one who fitted the shirt better than we ever could-and revels in wearing it. Goss, Fleck, Gunn, Roberts-all recent examples.
Kevin Keelan in the year 2012 would have been a footballing superstar. Ability-unquestionable. And personality? In an age where players have evolved into a stooped walk, eyes down, ridiculously oversized headphones attached to their ears, Keelan would have stood out by more than a country mile.
But what about someone like John Bond? He ticks all of the boxes. A memorable seven year tenure at the club in which he dragged us into the twentieth century, introducing the legacy of our reputation for attractive football.
Some of the games noisier pundits even claimed a moral victory as the season opened and the first few rounds of matches were played, with someone called Adrian Durham stating on TalkSport that Norwich City were the “worse side in Premier League history.”
Grant Holt is just nine months younger than Keane-is anyone going to face up to Holty and tell him his legs have gone? It’s all a moot point of course. The prospect of Keane coming here may be entirely academic and there have never been any plans to sign him. But what if he did?
Johnson is being a realist; his assertion seems completely fair and reasonable. How can we expect to compete? The riches in football now – TV deals, sponsorships and the relative wealth of club owners are all figures measured with nine, not six noughts at the end. Norwich City have to run flat out just to have a chance of standing still….