Charlton, too, continue to push on – but things look fragile at The Valley. A couple of injuries and it could all get rather sticky for Parky. Indeed, Stan fears that Hoofroyd’s Colchester and the MK Dons may prove more long-term competitors for the second promotion spot than our former London role model.
Lambert is certainly one to do the unexpected and you sensed that there is a lot of real-politik driving many of his decisions. He’s not going to let pride stop him from bringing a player back if he deems he’s the best option available, and credit to both Lambert and the Doc, it worked a treat.
Lambert’s team look organised, and well drilled and they sure aren’t going to roll over and die when they go behind. In fact, all he needs to do to prove he’s the real deal is spot the defensive link between Saturday’s opposition goals!
Well, that's another footballing first for Stan to cross off his 'Things to do…' list: attend a Johnstone's Paint Trophy match.
True, it wasn't listed as high as 'Watch Norwich play in (and win) the FA Cup Final…', but there you go.
It was, moreover, a pretty enjoyable experience.
The game petered out after about 65 minutes, but the first half was played at a decent tempo and saw both teams – mainly us, thankfully – …
Unable to find writing inspiration in the usual ways, Stan has decided that the answer to his impotence lays somewhere within the bottles of Carlsberg Export that were/are chilling in the fridge.
Thus, prepare for an increasingly incoherent waffle through the NCFC week just gone!
Somehow two games, 12e goals, a new manager and even the return of 'the curse of hooliganism' have failed to set Stan's creative juices flowing.
This Stan …
Please excuse the slightly weary prose style that follows, for Stan was one of those who found himself stranded on the 'Train From Hell' last night.
Having had a nice day in the capital, Stan's fortunes took a nose-dive the minute Cody blasted over a relative sitter after 30 seconds of yet another NCFC away-day debacle.
From thereon, Stan watched his city's representatives huff and puff but – as is now the Norwich 'way' – get out-muscled and …
Right then, just back. Fantastic ten days in the Black Forest. Great beer, great sausages?. What else could a man ask for? So then, has anything happened in my absence?
We lost by how much??. Mmm, not quite to plan was it?!
We then won by how much??. OK, bit of an improvement!
The board then did… WHAT?!
Pretty normal few days all in all then!
Right then, it's confession time. Now, over the last three years it may have become …
Stan has to admit it: he's feeling optimistic.
Try as he might not to get his expectations up, to keep Norwich's immediate future in the context of the debacle that has been our recent past, Stan's looking forward to Saturday with both hope and belief.
Not surprisingly, such feelings were bolstered by City's victory over Wigan. But they were encroaching before then.
Stan gets a sense that things are beginning to change at Carrow Road, from …
First things first: Norwich City are in the Third Division – get over it, deal with it, accept it.
No Canary fairy is going to turn up and wish away or make right all the mistakes made by players, management and board alike over the past five years; the swine flu pandemic is not going to wipe out the entire board and boot room, as some e-mail warriors and NCISA spokespeople seem to desire.
We have no money; we have to bring young players through; we have to sell …
At the moment of putting first finger to keyboard it is precisely two weeks since Stan witnessed one of the most pathetic capitulations he's had the misfortune to witness in all his years as City fan? and let's face it we've all watched a few. Ultimately it was a fittingly wretched end to a hideous, and at times, very dark season
Such was the nature of our ultimate slump into the bowels of the Third Division that a sort of fuggy disbelief has hung in the air since that …
Well, Stan was not expecting that. Defeat, yes; relegation, yes. But a wholesale capitulation to rank alongside the Fulham debacle of 2005? No.
As it was, 3 May 2009 will go down in history not just as the day that Norwich City were relegated to Division Three (aka League One), but as the day in which our footballing representatives brought shame on the club and our Fine City.
Korey, Cody and Lee aside, the players fell to new lows.
Some appeared …
Apologies for the delay, Stan had drifted off into some sort of football supporter's purgatory, trapped in a world somewhere between Exeter and Newcastle.
In the last few days he has gnashed and wailed, cried and trembled, raged and spat fire?and then drifted back into that dreadful numbed state that refuses to quite believe that we are teetering above the trap door that we have dreaded reaching for so long.
Our last stay of execution has come to an end, the State …
No one warns you of days like this when they first set you on the road to football fanaticism.
Your Dad doesn't put his arm around you at the age of six as you settle into your seat, come clean and declare that you're far more likely to get grief out of this pastime than pleasure.
You'll be sustained by sepia-tinted memories of Jimmy Neighbour on the wing and Steve Bruce headers, but by and large it's one long painful slog with intermittent heartbreak …
One of the things that Stan finds most annoying about football pundits – on TV and in print – is their tendency to judge every team by its last result.
Manchester United can lose one game having been unbeaten for some ten, 12 or more, and the 'experts' talk – in all seriousness – about a wobble; even about a 'crisis'.
Mark my words, if Newcastle win their next game then the pundits will be talking of recovery and the 'Shearer effect'.
Stan was worried last week. Worried because he was mildly confident!
'There's no way a team as average as Sheffield Wednesday was going to roll us over for an eighth consecutive time…' went the thinking.
We'd performed with guts and guile at Birmingham and seemed to have a bit of wind in our tails. The arrival of Alan Lee had given us much more balance and at least half the squad was well rested after a fortnight off? and then?.
And then? …
So the great escape continues.
A point at Brum is no mean feat in anybody's estimation; to have deserved more and put in such a hard-fought and committed performance is promising indeed.
As it is, Gunn has now carved out a points tally worthy of a mid-table outfit with aspirations for the future.
Maybe, and just maybe, this year's Colditz-esque venture may even be such that it puts last year's break-out in the shade.
Stan's always fancied being a lawyer. He went out with one for a few years, way back when, (yes, it was a she!) but that is as close to Lincoln's Inn as Stan ever got.
Thus the idea of being stood before a packed and awestruck court room whist cleverly weaving an indestructible case for the prosecution, has continued to appeal somewhat.
Sometimes Stan still imagines himself, Rumpole of the Bailey-like, shuffling papers, sipping a single malt and drawing …
Strikers who move … don't you just love 'em…
For in a season when the lithe and clever running of Arturo Lupoli was deemed unsuitable to the Championship by the man who brought him over here, and when the signing of a certain Alan Gow was ditched in order for old 'Arry Redknapp to off-load the raw without-that-much-talent OJ onto our squad of lightweight loanees, it seems somehow ironic that the introduction of three quick (in mind and feet…) front men …
Stan made the trip to QPR last Tuesday, more out of habit than anything, and witnessed a scrappy one nil against the odds victory.
Fair enough, we scrapped and battled and ultimately emerged victorious, but on the balance of play, three times out of four, we'd have lost that game. Indeed had a first minute chance been buried by the Hoops, as it should have been, City would have been beaten comfortably.
Post match celebrations were tempered with large doses of …
The thing is, of course, there are 11 games left and 33 points to play for.
And yet no-one who was at Carrow Road on Saturday will really believe that City have the quality, spirit or fight to get out of the mess they find themselves in.
The team look like dead men walking; the management looks out of its depth; and the board evidently lack ideas, money and options.
Our great club stands on the edge of the abyss and there appears little …