New City first team coach Paul Stephenson finally stepped out of the shadows at Colney this morning – even if the final details of his switch south from Hartlepool had yet to be finally agreed.
“Obviously it was something that I was hoping would get cleaned up pretty quickly,” said Paul Gascoigne's one-time youth team pal, who clearly hasn't been stood by the side of Glenn Roeder and Lee Clark for the last ten days. At all.
“There's still one or two little things that need to be brushed up and sorted, but hopefully the two clubs can sort them in the next couple of days.”
Roeder muttered last week about the possibility of City agreeing to send on or two of their younger players north to Victoria Park on a loan basis; likewise the Canary boss also made it clear that Stephenson's arrival could also find the Norfolk club rifling through the Pools' dressing room for the best of the club's teenage talent – James Brown being one name to already do the rounds.
In the meantime, however, Stephenson was just delighted to have made his own step up the league ladder and to be able to step out of the closet as a fully-fledged member of 'Team Glenn'. Well, almost.
“It's good level of player to take,” said Stephenson, as he moves from working with the Hartlepool youth team to putting the likes of a Dion Dublin and a Darren Huckerby through their paces.
True to Roeder's word, a ready smile never seemed to far from his face as Norwich's Geordie contingent grew in number.
“It's obviously a step up from what I've been doing, but it's a great challenge for me to really push these lads and get them up to the standard that we require to move upwards in the table,” said the 39-year-old.
“It's a tough job, but we've really got to make sure that we push for high standards all the time.”
Roeder provided a few more details of the Stephenson story last week; of Gazza's midfield side-kick and England Youth pal breaking into the newcastle first team together; of Stephenson being asked to play in a meaningless, end of season ressie game that, inevitably amost, ended in a serious ankle injury that would bligt the rest of his professional playing career.
He was, said Roeder, a natural footballing talent cruelly denied the stage and the career he deserved. The fact that he smiled his way through it was why, 22 years later, the one-time Newcastle United skipper had bolted the one-time 17-year-old prospect onto his Carrow Road management team.
“I had a sniff of a managerial job at Hartlepool, but obviously that was under difficult circumstances,” said Stephenson, who enjoyed a brief, caretaker spell at Victoria Park.
“But it gave us a real insight into what it is all about and I really enjoyed my time there – gave me a real taste for what its like at the next level.
“And so I knew that coming here would be the next challenge that I was looking for,” said the new City coach, arriving at a club then five points adrift at the foot of the Championship table.
Not so much going nowhere, but heading south fast. Stephenson believes that 'Team Glenn' have started to turn a long corner; spirits have been lifted; a few smiles restored.
“We know that we've got to add probably a few more in January, but we know that we've got the lads bubbling again and now we've got to keep them on the boil.
“Obviously it was a disappointment on Saturday to lose so late, but we've got to put that behind us and look forward – look forward to the next game and that's on Tuesday.”
That is a re-match with Plymouth; on Saturday comes the second home clash of the week against a Sheffield United side that might, finally, be getting into its Championship stride.
If the Canaries can just repeat last week's form of six points from nine, then they could yet find themselves off the bottom this time next week – if not yet wholly out of the bottom three.
“As we've said from the start, if we can win two out of every three games – or something like that. Pick five points up out of every nine then we've got a chance of moving up the table.
“That's what we've got to do – that's our requirement to start moving in the right direction.”
The fact that he is reunited with a certain individual that was probably either kicking lumps out of him one minute or trying to run rings around him the next merely adds to Stephenson's delight at his new Norfolk surroundings.
“I've known Lee (Clark) since we were kids. I think I played against Lee when he was seven and I was ten – and he was a mental little fella then!” said Stephenson, giving the first hint of bringing that lighter touch to the previous, religious-like intensity that prevailed at City's training HQ.
“You're either a fun person or your not – and I know Lee and Glenn are and I certainly am. But it's not just about fun – it's about high standards as well. And we're trying to instill all that.
“But it's like anybody – if they enjoy their job, then they're going to do it better.”
The last time Stephenson and Roeder teamed up together was back in Kent where Gillingham faced the prospect of disappearing out of the league altogether as the former arrived on-loan from neighbours Millwall to give the latter, then a rookie manager, a helping hand.
If the pair can perform the same rescue act again in Norfolk, then they will be the toast of the city next May. If not, ideally, sometime before.
“I think they were six points adrift of that division and we ended up halfway up the table, so I said to him: 'Done it once, let's do it again…'