I suspect a glass or two was shared in the Adams household last night, and with good reason.
Three wins on the bounce is impressive enough. Two clean sheets out of four games is promising. Seven goals in the last three is reason for optimism. But a win against ‘that lot’… priceless.
That Neil Adams understood exactly that – possibly more so than his counterpart – made yesterday’s win that little bit more special for everyone. And the City manager can be forgiven (just this once) for ignoring the etiquette of managerial handshakes before celebrating with the players given the magnitude of the occasion.
While the circumstances were different, the celebrations between staff, players and fans had a distinctly April 2011 feel about them. On this occasion the fist-pumping manager was not just celebrating the win but acceptance by the City faithful.
And there is nothing like a win in deepest Suffolk to convince the waiverers. Let’s hope after yesterday a few more will have clambered aboard.
Ironically Mick McCarthy chose post-match to bemoan the financial gulf between the two sides – the differing Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules between Premier League and Championship in the sights of Yorkshire’s greatest Irishman.
Ironic because for three seasons we have been on the receiving end from those with far deeper pockets.
Ironic because back in 2007 it was his own supporters who arrived at Carrrow Road adorned with £5 notes to remind us that they were now ‘f***ing loaded’.
Ironic because we are in this position by virtue of winning promotion to the Premier League… minus a benefactor.
And ironic because, thanks to said promotion, all external debts have been repaid – in full.
Chuck some shrewd, sometimes necessarily ruthless, financial management from Messrs Bowkett and McNally into the equation and you have a healthy balance sheet – even after a relegation. Sorry Mick.
Equally disappointing for McCarthy would have been that City won at a canter while trundling along in second and third gear. As Adams alluded to afterwards, it was a display that had plenty of room for improvement and got nowhere near the heights of the last two games. But it was good enough.
As 1-0 wins go, they don’t come much more comfortable.
For their part the home side were a huge disappointment. The passing principles of years gone by, and typified by the Muhren and Thijssen era (evokes painful memories), have been abandoned in favour of an approach that is more Wimbledon Crazy Gang than Barcelona’esque tiki-taka.
That their starting line-up included four centre-backs across the back line spoke volumes, with long diagonals and well-rehearsed set-pieces the order of the day.
Given the pending aerial bombardment, to lose Ryan Bennett to that rolled ankle so early could have been a recipe for disaster. But it wasn’t. Instead Russell Martin stepped up and offered a display of aerial prowess that far belied his first-half offering on Tuesday night.
And beside him Michael Turner was absolutely magnificent. The ex-Sunderland man is as honest as they come but, in the last few seasons, faced with short, stocky, strong and quick South Americans he was seldom as his ease. However, give him some strapping six-footers to out-muscle in the air and he is in his element.
Yesterday was one of those days but, more than that, I also lost count of the number of times he was in the right place at the right time to intercept or block. Daryl Murphy escaped the pocket of Turner for a fleeting moment to guide that second-half header wide but for the most part it was a one-sided battle.
On the rare occasion Town chose to get the ball down and slide it in the channels, the twisting and turning of David McGoldrick threatened to cause problems. But invariably the shooting was from distance and the whites of John Ruddy’s eyes not visible.
It’s not for us to say, but why have a player of McGoldrick’s undoubted quality and use a system that offers him so little?
But, even so, it was a City display that saw those in yellow emerge victorious across the whole pitch; most personal battles were won.
In the midfield Alex Tettey and Bradley Johnson again excelled – both currently in a rich vein of form – and Wes and his dancing feet were at it again.
Town had little answer to City’s pass and move football and, while it was far from as neat and flowing as Adams would have liked, it did produce three gilt-edged second half opportunities.
That City – or Lewis Grabban to be precise – failed to take any of them did serve to make the closing stages far more nervy than they needed to have been, but ultimately one was enough.
Those who declared the Grabban signing an astute one, given that he would be able to hit the Championship ground running, were spot on. Since that chipped effort against Watford eight days ago the ex-Bournemouth man hasn’t looked back and now looks full of goals. Indeed, on another day he would have departed Portman Road with the match ball.
With Gary O’Neil turning in another impressive little cameo and Kyle Lafferty already making his mark on the Yellow Army, Adams should feel quietly content that his first three summer signings are all ticking the necessary boxes. And that’s before Cameron Jerome and Carlos Cuellar are let loose.
Things are ticking along nicely and yesterday was a good one… a really good one. Let’s enjoy the moment.