Well, what a week that was.
In a way, the comings and goings on the transfer front were just part and parcel of every day life in the Championship.
In the case, say, of Andrew Cole signing up for a season with Nottingham Forest as opposed to teaming up again with his pal Clarkie at Norwich, in normal times that's one where most might shrug their shoulders – half-decent punt; his Mrs is still in the North-West; maybe they bunged him a couple of hundred extra a week; Earnshaw-Cole up front; interesting…
And, likewise, Wolves come a-sniffing around Jason Shackell. Now nine times out of ten most will expect Shacks to stay – if only because as he looks round the dressing room at Colney, Glenn Roeder can count the number of experienced centre-halves at his disposal on one finger. And he took all of the summer to decide that, yes, he did actually want to be here…
So Wolves will be shown the door. Provided, of course, that Shacks himself doesn't fancy a change of scenery. At which point, life starts to get interesting.
But, in a way, there is nothing wholly new about this. The fact that the Canaries have 80% of a spine to build in the next six weeks may be unusual; may concentrate everyone's thoughts on the club's transfer policy that much more… but, basically, we're still in fairly familiar territory. A bulk standard Championship club trying to stick some sort of squad together via the familiar mix of grizzled old veterans, Premiership loan kids and whatever home-grown talent you can muster. With the odd ?500,000 spent here; the odd ?250,000 there.
This is all the traditional rules of engagement; the usual expectations that come with Norwich City in the summer. No different, if truth be told, to the kind of numbers and hopes that follow the great majority of Championship clubs around. This is what they all do; how they all tend to live their transfer lives. Scrabbling around for the same kind of players for the same kind of prices; players that, once the action starts, fast prove to have the same kind of talent.
It is part of the reason why the Championship tends to average itself out; on average, most clubs will have six or seven average Championship players – with two or three that could do a job in the bottom half of the Premiership. And then maybe one that could – just – cut it in the top half of the Premiership.
But then he's never there that long. Half a dozen decent games and he's gone; snapped up by Spurs Reserves.
Otherwise, Championship clubs are all much of a muchness; while hope always springs eternal in the summer, most people – in their heart of hearts – know what to expect. And this season will be no different.
The one trick that Roeder brings to the party is his clear ability to catch Frank Arnesen's eye and get the likes of a Ryan Bertrand out of a Chelsea earlier than most; you can safely assume that before August 31, a kid from Arsenal will be Norfolk-bound. In this day and age, that kind of ability and those kind of contacts can make the world of difference.
But, as far as Norwich City are concerned, from the moment that Peter Cullum stepped into the public arena with those '?20 million for players…' headlines attached the rules of engagement changed. All the usual debates are suddenly going to be framed by a wholly different set of expectations; every player that does or doesn't arrive in the next six weeks will be viewed through this same ?20 million prism – as long as Britain's 40th richest man sits there in the shadows with no more than the most flimsy of promises to pump huge wads of cash into Roeder's back pocket, the reality is distorted.
'If we had Cullum's money now, we could have got Coley… bunged him a couple more thousand a week…
'Why we picking up these lads that Blackburn don't want? Why we looking at this kid that Lens don't fancy? Why we accepting an offer for Shacks? Give the lad a new deal, bung him some cash, get him to stay… we need a fourth choice centre-half just in case Gallas misses a game…'
These are the conversations that will be had this summer for as long as Cullum leaves that promise of ?20 million hanging in the air.
Talk to one or two in the know, and the perception of City's finances has already changed – people already believe the deal is done, the money's banked; that Norwich can now expect to pay Cullum-esque prices. One, long-standing summer target went up in price by 50% on the back of a few pars in a national newspaper.
That's where the problems are going to come; that's the poisonous boil that needs to be lanced sooner rather than later. In many, many ways, it is the whole Birmingham City experience that needs to be gnawing away at the back of everyone's mind; the uncertainty, the fear, the raised expectation, the disappointment, the disillusionment… all these emotions helped to account not only for Steve Bruce's interest in the St Andrew's job, but ultimately Blues' prized place in the Premiership.
And all on the back of one Far Eastern multi-millionaire stepping in with talk of a takeover…
The 'King Of Deals' needs to be flushed out of the Norwich system. Either he's in and 'Whoa… Here we go…' Or else…
Well, there's the difficulty. He's in the air that the supporters breathe; other than to do a deal, how do you get that kind of potential cash and possible clout out of their system?
You don't, I suspect.
The reality may never, ever match the fervent hopes and wild dreams of the Barclay this summer, but the level of expectation that comes with discovering that Britain's 40th richest man is a Norwich City fan and wants to invest is something that will be nigh-on impossible to extinguish. Or even dampen. It'll linger and linger.
That all said, this is Norfolk. This is not Wall Street. Playing to the crowd and asking Delia Smith to take her defiance into the Coliseum is not the way to make a deal happen; I strongly suspect, you rip control out of her hands in too brutal a fashion, throw her to the message-board lions and your hopes that she will hang around to act as 'an icon'; as window dressing at Carrow Road; won't last long.
It'll be the Towergate reps – a la Marcus Evans' boys at Portman Road – who will be left to front up things at Carrow Road.
Find yourself a quite little restaurant in London town, sit down over a nice bottle of wine and gently ease yourself into the building. It might not be the way that you have built your ?1.7 billion empire, but as you will swiftly discover the rules of your business game don't apply to football.
Those you leave at the door.
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