On your marks..? set?? go??..Oh!
A false start surely? Please can we start again? That wasn't fair, we weren't ready!
With this writen a mere five hours and the A14 since the final whistle, Stan's not feeling terribly Olympian spirited at the moment. Once again Stan has returned to the Fine City feeling as sick as a dog who's had an additional good old kicking from Mr Injustice.
As Stan made his way through the delightful streets of Coventry prior to kick-off, he couldn't help but be struck by a couple of thoughts. Firstly, 'Good Lord, is that the biggest ar*e in a shell-suit I've ever seen?' and secondly ' Mmm, I haven't got a clue what I'm likely to witness…'
Stan shouldn't have been such a fool. Of course, he's seen a bigger one? in Lewisham, South London, if you're interested. He should also have expected an attacking display of attractive football, a number of squandered chances followed by a couple of defensive gaffs and a goal from an ex-Canary.
It was a given; and it hurts just as much at the start of season 2008/09 as it did at the end of 07/08…
So what went wrong? What went right? And just as importantly who sells shell-suits that size anyway?
The pre-season has given a few clues about what to expect this season however, there's always a doubt about what will happen in the heat of battle once action proper starts. Hence Stan's glorious, though very slightly terrified, ignorance prior to kick-off.
The starting line-up us gave as few more pointers of what lay ahead. For a start we did kick-off with a relatively standard 4-4-2. Stan had mused over the past week about the possible return of the diamond with Wes tucked in behind the striker. Roeder instead chose to partner Cureton with Lupoli up front and usher Wes to the flanks.
The sight of Shacks at left-back brought back terrible memories of a wind-blown Selhurst Park four years past?. actually was he meant to be right-back that game?? whilst Captain Foz got a Clingan for company.
And so into battle we went and by and large we looked pretty tidy. Wes was tricky, Lupoli gave a good impression of an Italian Bellamy in style and movement whilst Stefanovic and Kennedy looked for all the world like a decent centre-half pairing.
Clingan also looks a decent player, neat, efficient in movement and pass and Omusuzi undoubtedly has Premiership class about him, so all in all, thought Stan, we're dead cert for at least a point!
Er? This is Norwich Stan; if there's a banana skin within 20 miles we'll sniff it out and end up in a heap on the floor as quick as you can say 'Rob Eagle looks like a girl'! and so it proved.
Chance after chance came and went. Each one created with skill and guile. Each one squandered with flippered footed gusto! And so came half-time and a chance to catch our breath. 'It's looking good' sagely nodded Stan and the boys?. The rest is history.
Penalty; dubious. Chances; squandered. Ooh! Here comes Leon; 2-0.
Stan was disconsolate at the final whistle. Here we go again he thought, but it's not all gloom. Throwing aside Stan's usual doom-tinted spectacles, City looked half-decent and in honesty were unlucky to lose.
There can be little doubt the overall quality of the squad is infinitely higher than this time last year, and with some time, luck and a couple of additions City can head in the right direction again.
The loss hurts as keenly as ever, but there is real hope that we can progress from here. We do need a quality target man, a fit left-back and still, in Stan's opinion, a bit more quality bang in the middle of the park, but we're not a million miles away from being a half decent team.
Admittedly it would have been nice to have started the season with these bits of the jigsaw in place but we'll gloss over that right now…
To those not there Stan's optimism may seems a bit delusional but you'll see you yourselves next week. This City side can, and will, improve. We'll do OK this year? Promise!
Right, where's that starter's pistol? Let's start again!
On you marks?. Set??.