As wake-up calls go, that was right up there wasn’t it?
Not for the first time at Craven Cottage it was the Yellow Army that took the honours, with those on the pitch a very poor second (which is quite generous).
The thunderous applause that greeted Chris Hughton and Co just prior to kick-off was undoubtedly the highlight of the day with the events that followed all taking on differing degrees of disaster…
There is no shirking away from it – we were outplayed in every facet of the game. Not easy to stomach I grant you, but unfortunately true.
Let’s just hope that our latest signing, Senor Garrido was tying up some loose ends back home and was spared the horror show by the Thames.
Having said that, some of the post-match comments on social media and the message boards went a little too far– even judging by our reactive standards. I won’t even bother quoting the thrust of some of the posts as they don’t even warrant a repeat, but I’m sure you can guess.
I totally understand how everyone was feeling in the direct aftermath – we were all feeling the pain and everyone is entitled to an opinion. But we can be an emotional old bunch and sometimes we just need to recognise this – and keep it in check.
The departure of the last regime (am desperately trying to avoid using the L word) has seen the creation of a new mantra – ‘In Hughton we trust!’ – and right now we have to do just that.
We need to trust him to address the tactical deficiencies that appeared so obvious to all, trust him to address the individual failings and trust him to address weaknesses in the squad prior to 31 August.
If nothing else, Saturday will have reminded our board that Hughton’s squad is still very much a work-in-progress and his view that further strengthening is required needs full backing. A win may have given them good cause to keep their powder dry until January. Equally this could be a classic example of Gowers straw clutching…
Like many of us I would imagine, I spent a large chunk of Saturday in varying states of anger.
Pre three o’ clock it was directed at those pundits who appeared to take it in turns to write off City’s chances of avoiding relegation. Obviously they’re entitled to their opinion – paid handsomely for it I might add – and someone has to be placed 18th, 19th or 20th.
But the dismissive way (perfected over the years by Mr Lawrenson) that most condemn us to be victims of ‘second-season syndrome’ with little other considered reason really irked me.
Between three and five o’clock I’m afraid to say our heroes in yellow and green fell foul of my wrath. No lack of effort I grant you, but how dare they provide Messrs Redknapp (J), Merson and Co with ammunition to back up their poorly researched and feeble opinions.
Hughton’s trudge across the pitch at the end was obviously far less triumphant than the five to three version, but it was a couple of comments in his post-match Press conference that succeeded in maintaining my high blood pressure.
Please don’t get me wrong – I really like Hughton – but to go to Fulham with the intention to ‘stifle them’ and openly admit that ‘they are a technically superior team to us’ did surprise me.
Perhaps we have been spoiled of late by the ‘L’ man’s positive, some would say cavalier, approach but I would like to think we can go to the likes of Fulham feeling capable of winning. If we’re entering Craven Cottage with that mind-set one can only imagine the approach at Old Trafford and The Etihad.
But it is very early days for Team Hughton are perhaps they too are yet to understand that we’re not ‘little old Norwich’ any more. Note to Mr McNally: Please have a word.
Just when the blood pressure had started to subside I made the schoolboy error of viewing one of the main City message boards. Big mistake… but luckily for me my other half saw events unfolding and removed all sharp objects in the vicinity.
I’m guessing that most of those ‘contributors’ who actually attend games won’t bother turning up next Saturday as, with only 37 games to go, our fate appears to be already sealed. At least it is if you believe all you read.
I gave Match of the Day a swerve for obvious reasons.
So we can expect a busy week ahead at Colney, both on the training pitch and in the manager’s office.
It’s impossible to avoid clichés at a time like this and what is clearly critical right now is how the team reacts to a heavy defeat. Another of the great strengths of the previous regime was their ability to clear the players’ heads after a loss and now Hughton needs to show that same nous.
While defeat against the equally bruised souls of QPR would not inflict a critical wound (only 36 games to go after all) it would provide the keyboard warriors with another magazine of bullets.
Please don’t let that happen, lads – the other half might be out next Saturday…