For a manager that never likes to single out individuals, there were at least four Canary stars who figured very large in Glenn Roeder's post-match thoughts after the Canaries broke their Championship duck for the season yesterday with that 2-1 win over a hapless Plymouth side.
Roll the clock back 11 months – as most of us have over the last week – and that 3-0 defeat to the Pilgrims was 'memorable' for a whole host of wrong reasons.
Individually and it was a killing field afterwards as Roeder dished out 'Black Spot' to at least six of the players on duty that afternoon.
Chrissy Martin and Michael Spillane might – just – have a way back into his thinking if they earn their spurs on loan at Luton at the very foot of League Two. But for the likes of David Strihavka, Julien Brellier, Ian Murray and Simon Lappin it was 'Goodnight from them…' as far as their Canary careers were concerned.
This weekend, however, and that 'Roll Of Dishonour' had been replaced with a Hall of Home Park Fame as the side that Roeder has ruthlessly re-built finally got its just desserts with those first three points of the new season on an afternoon when the 'Glass Half-Empty' crew and the 'Glass Half-Full' brigade would have met face-to-face.
Defeat would have left the Canaries without a win to their name and stuck firmly in the bottom three; given that football remains a results business, the argument would have been that Norwich had made little or no progress since that infamous trip to the South-West last season.
That for all Roeder's wheeling and dealing on the transfer market, City were still looking down the table, rather than up.
Victory, however, starts to cast Norwich's 2008-2009 campaign in a whole new light; just one defeat in five now; one point off the lay-off places and 34-year-old Frenchman who delivered on his debut everything the manager said he would.
By Norwich's own lowly standards over the last four seasons, that isn't so much a glass half full as all but over-flowing. If only the on-going uncertainty about the club's long-term ownership didn't darken the picture, the Norfolk club haven't been in quite this finer fettle since they dropped out of the Premiership.
Antoine Sibierski will certainly get a big, heart-felt welcome when he makes his home debut against QPR on Wednesday night given the manner in which the on-loan Wigan striker met and, arguably, exceeded the expectations bestowed on Roeder's 'final piece in the jig-saw'.
A classic, centre-forward's header on from a deep – and deliberate – punt into enemy territory by John Kennedy to set Arturo Lupoli scampering through for Norwich's opener and a well-drilled, second-half 25-yarder from Mark Fotheringham's little, rolled free-kick – not a bad return from a player that most in the North-West appeared to have sidelined till the end of the month with a foot injury.
“He made a huge difference – he gave us a different dimension,” the City boss told BBC Radio Norfolk afterwards.
A different dimension as opposed to one dimension was Roeder's message; the 'big man can play…' in other words.
“Sibi – though he's six-foot three – he's not all about flicking the ball on with his head. He's technically very gifted,” said Roeder. “If you get the ball onto his chest or up to his feet, he'll retain possession.”
Ex-Canary chief Bruce Rioch had a favourite phrase for the description that then followed; that certain players can 'see the big pictures…' That, said his predecessor, was what Sibierski offered – a decent radar with which to track the quicker players runing off him.
“He sees what's going on around him; he sees the movement of the other players and he's got the ability to slide the ball to them and retain possession,” said Roeder.
“And he's a really, really good professional and players like Arturo Lupoli are going to learn things from him – and they're going to benefit from the big man's touch.”
If Sibierski was one name up in lights, Darel Russell's was another after the Canary midfielder resumed his usual role in midfield; gamely stepping into the breach left by Sammy Clingan's shoulder injury just ten days after having a double hernia operation in Germany.
And then there were the two centre-halves – Kennedy and Dejan Stefanovic who together came within 90 seconds of keeping a clean sheet on their travels. Replays of Paul Gallagher's injury-time strike don't do Kennedy too many favours as he finds himself beneath the flight of the ball, but the on-loan Celtic star has already amassed enough brownie points for such minor blemishes to be erased.
The problem – as with Sibierski – will come in January when Kennedy is due to return to Celtic Park, form and fitness proved. Without the kind of fresh cash injection a takeover would bring, Roeder's current transfer budget may not stretch to keeping one, solid defensive plank and his 'final piece of the jigsaw' at Carrow Road.
Hence why events in the 'Square Mile' of the City of London may do more than anything to to dictate Norwich's fate this season. The team and the hopes that Roeder built this autumn could unravel by the spring.
For now, however, 'Enjoy…' appeared the message. Norwich might not have found the wherewithal to keep Peter Crouch beyond his three-month loan spell, but they did for Darren Huckerby. So, who knows…
“The two centre-backs were absolutely brilliant. Rocks,” said Roeder afterwards. “The headers and the blocks that they got in were magnificent – they are a class act, the two of them.”
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