There has been, in case you weren’t aware, considerable dissatisfaction amongst the supporters of a certain Premier League club.
A quick trawl of the message boards soon reveals the major concerns.
For a start, there’s widespread frustration at the team’s lack of goals:
“For a reputedly ‘good’ team to go through a goal drought for a few games on the trot is fairly common – nothing to worry about. For a reputedly good team to be almost a third of the way through a season and have 2 fewer goals than matches played is down to the manager – something to worry about.”
“…we huffed and puffed but it’s not happening…”
“There’s obviously something else wrong in attack… The problem I have is that with a third of the season gone, and lack of goals having been a glaring problem since day 1, the manager hasn’t been able to come up with a solution. Very worrying.”
The frustration is all the greater because of the unprecedented amount of money that was spent during the summer and the rise in expectations that came with this:
“There is absolutely no chance that [a certain striker] is worth the money they paid. An incredibly limited player. It’s starting to look like a lesson in how to waste [millions].”
“Not much of a return. And I am wearying of the ‘time to gel’ argument.”
Many fans are blaming the manager for the rigidity of his playing system and not knowing how to get the best out of the players he’s bought:
“…the baffling way he has bought [that certain striker] and then proceeded to play him with a system seemingly almost designed to destroy his effectiveness.”
“The true folly of a man(ager) is to see your weakness but do nothing about it. The system doesn’t work quite simply and it needs to be changed to draw the best out of what are becoming increasingly frustrated and frustrating summer signings.”
The attacking approach leaves a lot to be desired:
“The fundamental problem is the incredibly slow build up play and the fact that the majority of our passes go sideways or backwards, what are we trying to achieve by doing this? It allows the other team to just sit around by their box and clear it when we inevitably lose it or someone blasts it over.”
Or, more succinctly:
“YET ANOTHER flat, turgid, toothless load of rubbish.”
Yes, there have been games when the team has enjoyed the majority of possession – but they haven’t capitalised on it:
“The way we played in the 2nd half, we didn’t deserve to lose – a draw would have been a fair result. But then this is what happens when you don’t/can’t score regularly from open play! I wonder where the problem is, the system that they are playing or something else?”
In one match, there were an extraordinary number of attempts on goal:
“At least we can’t be blamed for not shooting… 31 shots.”
Though other supporters took a different view of this figure:
“A useless statistic. We have had a lot of shots but they were crap shots is all it means.”
For some supporters, the biggest problem is that the current manager is not the previous manager:
“The problem for many, myself included, is we’re now very dull. We’d leave a game in the [previous manager] era buzzing about the potential of our dynamic young players; our British core; our developing team of likeable players – people at the ground were not blindly following him; we saw his faults and where he needed to improve… The new man has got rid of most of the players who helped us (some of the departures were unavoidable) and replaced them with – on paper – technically better players. Better players should take much less time to acclimatise, even if the changes are wholesale.
“And yet what we have now is a truly woeful… side that only play when the fear of God is thrown at them; cannot score, don’t look like scoring and have shown little or no evidence to support the optimism of certain fans.”
Furthermore, some consider that the current style of play is not in what is considered to be the club’s tradition:
“[We} are a football club who base themselves on playing proper football… We are not about drab, fall asleep, tippy tappy it to the side football then a tan at goal from 30 yards out and hoping for an 80th minute penalty to get us over the line.”
But if a general consensus can be determined from all the comments, it’s that the manager should be allowed more time to get it right for now. Having said that, everyone is fully aware that the man who runs the club will not be afraid to take decisive action if improvement isn’t soon forthcoming.
The name of the club in question is… no, of course it’s not Norwich. That would be far too obvious. All the quotes above are about Spurs and André Villas-Boas.
Now at this point I should really make some insightful observations about the similarity of the situations. Let’s see…
1) Umm – there’s a lot of it about.
Or to put it another way: while it’s natural for us to be preoccupied with the fortunes of our own team, it’s useful – and a little comforting – to know that supporters of other teams in the same league are enduring the same frustrations.
2) Life in the Premier League doesn’t automatically get easier when you have more money to spend – or as a number of Spurs fans put it, to splash* up the wall. (*Not the word they actually use.)
3) On the whole, Norwich fans are no more or less patient than other supporters.
4) If Spurs have been that uninspiring so far this season, it’s all the more annoying that their one open, fluent display was against us.
Of course, there are differences between the two clubs – notably in the way the two managers have conducted themselves this season. While Chris Hughton’s frequent references to the quality of the opposition have irked some, he hasn’t caused the facepalms provoked by AVB’s pronouncements on the quietness of Spurs fans or Hugo Lloris’ head injury.
The latter incident reminded me of sometime Partick Thistle manager John Lambie’s response when told that one of his players was concussed and didn’t know who he was:
“That’s great, tell him he’s Pele and get him back on.”
I mention that, not just because it’s funny (health and safety issues notwithstanding), but because it seems kind of relevant to the team’s current mindset.
Following the West Ham game, some of the players’ comments suggested that they think they played like world-beaters in the second half. We-ell… in the cold light of the pub where I watched the game, the performance wasn’t that outstanding. Until the gift from Jaaskelainen, I couldn’t see us scoring. And only one of our goals came from open play.
But – if they all believe they’re Pele now, that may just help.
Couldn’t agree more with the wrap up. Snods giving it some about the fact the fans have no right to boo (and I’m no booer I might add). As far as I’m concerned, he can have his say after 38 games are up and we’re suitably safe (as everything can turn sour in a heartbeat then he’ll look even more stooput than he already does with his wannabe three musketeers facial piece)…and even then he’s paid to put up and shutup, unlike the fans who pay their hard earned money to watch these self inflating fools. With the money and mileage on offer from these fans, they have the right to voice their opinions how they see fit, unlike these over protected custodians of our shirt.
I agree that there’s moaning by fans at all levels. A lot of it has to do with expectations. Man U fans are not moaning because they’re not to (like it’s a god given right). Spurs fans because they never recaptured the success they were having under Redknapp. Arsenal because they haven’t won a trophy in forever.
It’s interesting, as I would take any one of those teams situations right now.
For me it’s not that I expect Norwich to be a top half finisher. I don’t even expect them not to be in the relegation battle. However I do expect better form than we’ve had throughout the whole of 2013. In particular our inability to score. I don’t expect us to net four every game, but to average more than 1 goal per game played is essential (without that you are always giving up points).
Until West Ham we had scored 6 in 10. I don’t care about playing style and I don’t care about shots. I expect us to at least have a chance of winning a game by us putting at least one in the net.
Of course goals aren’t everything. Man City have scored 28 and are only in 8th. But it’s very rare that you see a team with high ‘goals for’ go down.
If CH can turn it around and we start regularly scoring then I’ll change my tune and be glad of it. Right now we’ve come off the back of one good half and while I’ll happily take the points, I’m still not convinced it’s going to be enough.
Some interesting points above.
Toad, everyone has a right to an opinion whether they are paid or not. Snodgrass was merely pointing out that booing and spitting vitriol towards your team will not make things better, it will only make things worse. It’s good to have some insight into what the players are thinking. His comments will make me think twice about criticising my team in the future. I hope others feel the same.
I can understand your frustrations, but you should back everyone at the club to the hilt. The club will perform better when we are all pulling in the same direction.
City fan says
“unlike the fans who pay their hard earned money to watch these self inflating fools.”
If you don’t like it, don’t pay the money. The biggest mistake fans made in our ‘wilderness years’ was to keep turning up. The board thought they could wing it because they’d always have 18,000+ fans turning up despite what Roeder et al churned out. Everyone knew it was rubbish, they still kept going.
Either turn up and support, enjoy a game of football that could go either way with unpredictable performances by anyone, or stay at home and save the money. Why pay so much money just to go and have a bad time? Who’s the fool?
What doom and gloom everyone seems to want to write about our club. Instead why don’t you write something along the lines of ”Apart from Liverpool in the coming weeks we have an excellent run of games coming up. During those games hopefully we might see a return on our investment. Strikers starting to repay their transfer fee. Leroy Fer and Jonny Howson looking like class acts in midfield and young Nathan Redmond starting to find some consistency. Perhaps even our defence showing how good they are since they are no longer coming up against Multi Million pound players” OR does everyone just prefer to see the glass half full as opposed to half empty. For me the glass is half full. And don’t let the Southampton position fool everyone. Look at who they have played so far and compare that to who we have come up against. We have got Southampton’s run of games so far coming up and I am confident we can start to pick up a similar proportion of points to them so don’t look on us too negatively until we have at least played every team at least once. Judge us then I say !
Le grand fromage says
..and they’ve spent approx. 5 times what we did over the summer – the moral of the story money>success>not guaranteed. Football (and life) just doesn’t (and will never) be that simple.
West Ham game seems flipping ages ago – those depressing Wembley spectacles sure put an international ‘brake’ on our momentum ahead of the long trip to the land of Viz and palate-eroding brown ale. A point would be good, especially as 80% of ‘le Geordies’ now have a World Cup squad place to play for.
Gary Hooper is no Pele (clearly) but let’s give him some service this afternoon please.