New City boss Glenn Roeder is clearly a man that pays careful attention to his balls.
Please, it's a family website…
The ones that Town legend Kevin Beattie was playing with yesterday. At FA Headquaters; in Soho Square.
And while Watford at home to Crystal Palace might not have got many a punter's pulse racing, you kind of suspect that in the Roeder household one or two hearts were starting to quicken as the Canaries' number refused to come up.
I have to admit, I didn't watch it. But on previous occasions I remained blissfully unaware of what numbers, what teams have yet to be drawn from the FA's magic bowl.
North of the border and I suspect that a few people would have recognised the fact that Ipswich's number was still in the pot somewhere. After that, however, and I doubt anyone would have twigged that the Canaries could still draw the Shakers at home.
But Roeder clearly did. And he clearly knew who else he could have drawn with four balls and three potential FA Cup third round opponents left. And, boy, wouldn't they have been fun…
?It was interesting,? said the new City boss at Colney this morning. ?I've never been involved in a third round draw where there are only two balls left in the hat – or whatever it is these days. A bowl.
?Kevin Beattie did us a favour,? added Roeder, which in every likelihood was a first for the Portman Road legend.
?Pulling us out first rather than pulling Bury out.?
What was interesting, however, was not the fact that Beattie spared everyone a trip to Gigg Lane. Rather how he managed to avoid pairing the Canaries with the two other balls that were left – both of whose numbers Roeder had clocked.
?I think the last four balls out, was it not Stoke, Newcastle, us and Bury??
Given events at the Britannia Ground on Saturday – in particular, the way the respective managers viewed the game and their comments thereafter – a re-match with Tony 'Talking Rubbish' Pulis would have been just Norwich's traditional luck.
That's the one that everyone would have gone 'Uuuughhhh….' – well, almost everyone. Some FA Cup fireworks are always good news for the ladies and gentlemen of us, the Fourth Estate.
And then there was Newcastle. Roeder's reaction to that possibility was fascinating and, for me, revealed just a little bit more of the nature of the man at the helm at Colney.
?I was pretty aware that Newcastle were still in there, but that's for another day,? he said.
For all the world, it gave the impression that Roeder had a little point to prove back in the North-East. Maybe it was nothing of the sort; maybe as an 'honorary Geordie', he, Lee Clark and Paul Stephenson simply fancy a return to the Toon; just to soak up that Gallowgate atmosphere again…
But, if I were in his shoes, I think I'd quite relish the opportunity of returning in a bid to put the record straight on one or two matters – of, perhaps, adding to the club's current discomfort by gunning for an early FA Cup exit for the Magpies.
Because there is little doubt that in certain quarters – just as he has been at West Ham United – the new City boss has been slaughtered over his managerial record at St James'. As he would be at Upton Park.
It doesn't exactly take Sherlock Homes to work out where many a road leads back to in the current, alleged corruption scandal – at which point it is worth stressing that Amdy Faye arrived at Newcastle under Graeme Souness' watch, not Roeder's.
The chairman, however, was still the same.
Nor was Roeder in charge when Jean-Alain Boumsong arrived for ?8 million in January, 2005. That it was Souness who brought Willie McKay's man in from Rangers.
Roeder was, however, in charge when Newcastle finished seventh in the Premier League a year or so later – a position that you suspect most of the Toon Army would take now as their season heads for another crisis under Sam Allardyce.
Say what they want about Roeder – and they said plenty – few ever questioned the way that he set out his stall to play football. He just never had enough fit players to do it, was the Roeder defence. 'Big Sam' and his unique philosophy on the game is currently one of the hotter topics of debate in the North-East.
That and whether he'll survive much longer after the mid-week game with Arsenal.
Of course, said chairman is now long gone – last spotted looking to take a chunk of Leeds United and join Ken Bates on the board there.
But he must have been an interesting man to work for.
As for the whole Hammers scenario, the judgement that is laid at Roeder's door is that he dismantled potentially the greatest team in the club's history as he flogged the family silver off to the highest bidder. Chelsea, usually.
Clearly the board had no say in the matter; that it was Roeder who decided – having brought most of them up through the club's Youth Academy – that he had no further use for the likes of Jermain Defoe, Joe Cole, Glen Johnson and Co. What right-minded manager would want them in their team? Obviously you'd want to get shot of them, wouldn't you?
It wasn't, of course, a process that someone had started with the decision to flog Rio Ferdinand to Leeds United for ?18 million in November, 2000, when Harry Redknapp was actually manager. Roeder hadn't taken charge of a first team game before someone decided to accept Chelsea's ?11 million offer for Frank Lampard in June, 2001.
Roeder had also long gone before someone decided to befriend Kia Joorabchian of Media Sports Investment – the result of which was the arrival of Argentinian World Cup stars Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano.
On a rule-breaking deal that almost cost the Hammers their coveted place in the Premiership. It did as much as anything else to lose Alan Pardew his job.
Still at least by then ex-Hammers chairman Terry Brown – the man behind the MSI relationship – had moved on. The shares that in 1992 he bought for ?2 million, he had sold to the Icelandic investors Eggert Magnusson and Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson. For ?31 million.
Back on Tyneside this summer and it was equally all change in the boardroom as ex-Magpies chairman Freddy Shepherd, and his brother Bruce, who paid around ?2.4 million for their 28% shareholding, received ?37.3 million for their shares from reclusive sports retail millionaire Mike Ashley.
In both cases, you get the distinct impression that it was Roeder who was left out front, minding the shop, carrying the can.
History needs to view those seventh-placed finishes in a better light. After all, neither club have hit such heights since.
And if Roeder has a burning point to prove to people on the banks of the Tyne and the Thames, it could all be to Norwich's distinct advantage. He's a man with a motive and a mission. And that's no bad thing at all.
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