Of course there are many other issues that stretch far beyond the stereotypical ‘too many foreigners’ debate’, not least the permanent collision course on which the FA and the Premier League find themselves.
While the visitors took the honours for artistic impression, City edged it where it really mattered, with Nathan Redmond’s splendid strike from 20 yards springing a fairly subdued Carrow Road to life midway through that tense and twitchy second half.
All too often in recent the past we’ve given fringe players a chance to shine in Cup games only for them to confirm their rightful place on the periphery with tepid, unconvincing displays. For the Shakers to be swept aside in such clinical fashion was a little ‘un-Norwich like’.
Yes, City enjoyed huge chunks of possession when faced with ten opponents in the second half, but with the ball shifted so ponderously Steve Bruce’s two massed banks of four simply shifted across ensuring there were no gaping holes and forced City to play in front of them. In the midst of last season’s poor run we bemoaned the lack of quality in the side – no excuses this time round.
A point against a quality side with the top six in their sights is far from a disaster, even if a couple of ‘Canary Callers’ tried to convince us otherwise; likewise the bloke in the River End at half-time who thought Redmond was “virtually playing at left-back!” Hhmm.
As much as I’d like to throw City’s hat into the ring as potential leaders of the ‘peloton’, there are a few who currently have a stronger case. Swansea for example.
The friendly with Real Sociedad – played in front of an excellent crowd of over 14,000 – provided most of those present with their first ‘live’ glimpse of Hughton’s summer purchases and there was little to disappoint; the 1-1 scoreline almost an irrelevance.
A classy midfielder with a left foot that can open a tin of beans, his elegant style was one that fitted perfectly with Lambert’s desire to play the midfield diamond.
In the case of Quagliairella, he now appears to find himself a little way down the Juve pecking order and so one assumes an unlikely move to ‘unfashionable’ Norwich would come with an expectation of regular first-team football.
Given the protracted nature of this saga no-one would have been the slightest bit surprised if there had been a last minute hitch or two, but in the spirit of the Canadian Mounty, McNally and Hughton look to have got their man.
However laudable the Duke of Cambridge’s desire to later remind his new born son ’of his ‘tardiness’, when compared to the Hooper saga the wait for the arrival of HRH Prince George of Cambridge almost pales into insignificance. But as relieved as we’ll all be to see an end to it, how many of us will find the feeling of indifference replaced by one of ambivalence? Chris Hughton clearly wanted Hooper, and is clearly convinced that he could do a job at the top level.
I’m not expecting the Italian’s agent and family to come out and declare the Norwich option still to be a viable one, with Tuesday’s private jet from Turin to Norwich now looking highly unlikely to have contained a swarthy looking Italian goalscorer.
City’s approach hopefully differs because those on the shopping list are there because they fit the City mould. Not because they’re ‘a name’ and they look impressive on paper but because, courtesy of Ewan Chester’s scouting reports, they provide a certain something that Chris Hughton has identified as missing from his current crop.
City legends who feature in the book include Craig Bellamy, Darren Huckerby, Malky MacKay and Robert Green; all of whom have been on the McVeigh radar for a variety of reasons – some good, some not so good. The story of Malky giving a young McVeigh a ‘rough ride’ in the early days will be of particular interest to the Yellow Army.
From the moment Holt arrived in the fine city it was obvious to all that here was a proud man – not someone who would be willing to blend into the background. A warrior; a fighter; someone who – courtesy of his footballing roots – would attempt to squeeze every last drop out of the opportunity afforded him by Bryan Gunn.
In conversation with BBC Radio Norfolk, van Wolfswinkel explained that when the chance of a move to Norwich City (or perhaps more significantly to the Premier League) arose he was offered some sound advice by a Dutch legend of yesteryear; none other in fact than Johan Neeskens.
Having always been a firm ‘it matters little what the bookies and pundits say’ advocate, I’m now a little curious as to whether their condescending attitude towards ‘little Norwich’ does have in fact an impact when it comes to the transfer free-for-all.
It goes without saying it doesn’t sit comfortably to agree with Alan Hansen, but his incessant assertion that ‘nothing frightens defenders like pace’ is indeed true; Gabriel Agbonlahor’s match-winning performance at Carrow Road back in early-May a perfect example of how destructive the combination of pace and power can be.
At around this time every year one of the nationals – usually a broadsheet – gives us chapter and verse around the complexities of compiling said list, and sure enough the Guardian hasn’t disappointed. While it apologetically describes the process as ‘laborious’, it’s actually quite interesting (or is it just me?) and offers one or two little nuggets I was unaware of.
The thought of a ‘big unit’ with a top-notch strike-rate (59 goals in 125 appearances since moving to Holland) linking up with Ricky van Wolfswinkel indeed sounds an edifying prospect, but before we get too carried away we should perhaps cast our minds back nine short years.