In that summer of 2014, Norwich sold seven and bought 16. They spent £2.7m more on the new men than they got for the ones who left. They offered handsome incentives to keep players at Carrow Road and entice others to join them.
Ed is formidably bright and disarmingly charming in person — but didn’t earn his reputation as a political bruiser by ducking a fight. I expect the new chairman to be our pugnacious champion in meetings with the Premier League and others.
Brendan Rogers has been able to spend £312.8 million in three years but even before that wantonness, the inequalities of resources had grown and grown, so that Liverpool have won nine of the last 11 meetings with Norwich.
As Malcolm Robertson said in his MyFootballWriter piece ahead of Wembley, you have to experience the crushing lows to value the vaunting highs. And, as Delia told the TV audience, Wembley was particularly rewarding for us because so many of us carry scars from dismal disappointments.
It is certainly true that Neil is willing to change his men and alter how they are deployed. In Scotland he preferred 4-1-4-1. With Norwich, he has had success with 4-2-3-1, the much-loved diamond (4-1-2-1-1) and several variants of the 4-4-1-1 he went with against Forest.
There appeared to be a lot of confusion about how we should reorganise. Alex Neil was in the technical area, but Phelan, Three Lungs and goal-keeping coach Tony Parks were giving instructions too and Russ Martin, the skipper, made at least two return trips to the side of the pitch for clarification.
McNally’s normal modus operandi is to consult senior players. He ignores extreme opinions but seeks to gauge the consensus of the sensible. Then he asks the manager what plans there are to address flaws or failings.
It needs to be remembered that the Barclay and Snake Pit were magnificent during Saturday’s game. The support was loud and stirring. From my season ticket seat in the Community Upper, it provided goose bump moments.
If you think Delia and Michael don’t really care or understand, then you and I will never agree and I can’t be bothered with you. It would be like trying to reason with nutters who swear Elvis is working at the Vauxhall Caravan Park on the Acle New Road. If, however, you know that Delia and Michael have always striven to do the best for the club, then that is a proper starting point to consider the work of Neil Adams.
The first time I heard McNally speak in public – at a meeting of the Capital Canaries days after that 7-1 humbling by Lambert’s Colchester in August 2009 – he banged on about needing to reduce debts. He spoke more about that than anything else.
The light touch of the Wolves stewards – only enforcing the law (and it is a law) where the standers were being deliberately inconsiderate to others – was helpful to the majority of supporters. We all care about the same team. We all give our money, our time and our emotional commitment to the same cause. Surely we can ALL show basic decency and politeness to each other?
One of the enduring myths about last season is that Chris Hughton didn’t play to RVW’s strengths. I am not trying to resurrect the Hughton argument. I lost that one and don’t want to be divisive ahead of a campaign when unity in the stands will be especially important.
Adams only earned one point from those games but the club hierarchy was impressed with the way he tackled a formidable run of fixtures – and also how he dealt with two undisclosed disciplinary issues within the squad.
Only a dark hurt deep in his eyes betrayed the bleakness Hughton was feeling. Only private, whispered conversations revealed Delia’s mood. She was in pieces, but with practised sincerity, she produced smile after smile as countless fans asked her to be in their “selfies”.
Norwich were winning. Bringing Howson on would enable a switch to the 4-2-3-1 system which was so effective in a run of games before it was abandoned with disastrous results to accommodate Wes at Villa Park.
I understand that the only circumstances in which they might be prepared to part with Hoolahan in this transfer window is if they could sign someone better at his sort of role – operating centrally just behind the main striker.
City got the best “value per point” in the entire Premier League last season under Hughton. Finishing 11th cost just over £500,000 per point. Compare that with Chelsea, who blew £5m a point!
The most successful manager of all time, Sir Alex Ferguson, was loathed by fans and very nearly kicked out – before turning things around just a tad. A year ago Arsenal fans were telling Arsene Wenger he didn’t know what he was doing. Now they top the table.
He seemed indestructible, so the news that his brain has been dying, one cell at a time, is crushingly sad. But I am fortune enough to have a personal recollection which has made me smile down the years and which is help at this most mournful of times.
Hughton is not inherently cautious or defensive. How could ten different Tottenham managers have valued his coaching if he does not prize attacking play? Yes, he likes an organised defence. And he believed that was the area which needed improving when he took over at Norwich.