As international breaks go this one has been okay hasn’t it?
For many they are nothing but a source of irritation, especially if your team has momentum, but given that inertia, even freefall, is more prevalent in the Fine City right now, this one has been alright. Almost enjoyable.
Certainly watching Scotland and the Republic of Ireland kick lumps out of each another in between occasionally kicking the ball was entertaining. I’m expecting something similar at Celtic Park tonight.
Even England’s second-half showing against Slovenia was acceptable, although after what had gone before – which in the words of Roy Hodgson was “a little bit sterile” (a little?) – it had to be an improvement.
But I suspect it was a weekend free of Yellow Army in-fighting, bitching and niggling that made really the difference. A Saturday night and Sunday free of potshots and vitriol. It was nice.
Because, regardless of where the fault lies, since the departure of Paul Lambert to pastures claret and blue we’ve done little but bicker.
The Chris Hughton era will, in the future, be memorable only for the division it caused among the yellow and green masses. The Neil Adams era flirted briefly with harmony before the downturn in fortunes re-opened the festering wounds. And here we are again.
Or am I just being overly sensitive? Is this how things are going to be? Have they always been like this? Have the mists of time clouded over division and vitriol of years gone by?
A lot of questions (sorry…) but I’m wondering if the Lambert years were just a glorious blip and, in fact, the Chase, Worthy and Hughton ‘campaigns’ were just the most high-profile of never-ending stream.
Certainly social media and the age of instant gratification has played its part. What was once a discussion in the pub can now be a worldwide debate in seconds. An opinion once shared with a couple of pals can now be relayed to thousands in the press of a key.
That the message can be spread quicker and wider is not in doubt – I can only imagine what social media would have done with the ‘Chase Out’ campaign – but as individuals, and as a canary nation, I’m not sure the same entrenched views were so prevalent back in the day.
Forgive the awful cliché, but football is of course a game of opinions – we have TV and radio stations that live off them – and debating the whos, whys and wherefores is all part of the fun. And that’s never changed.
Perhaps it’s purely down to expectation.
Three seasons in the Premier League clearly propelled the club forward in a way that surprised, thrilled and angered in equal measure – finances and esteem both benefiting – but as a result the bar was raised dangerously high.
Now, following relegation, we find ourselves back in an ever-growing group of Championship clubs who see the Premier League as their rightful place, but for whom it remains nothing more than a tantalising and lucrative dream.
That City have sampled that money pit so recently gives us a feeling of entitlement. Understandably so.
But it’s that which causes the blue touch paper to be lit with such regularity. Only Premier League mid-table mediocrity will suffice, at a minimum, and woe betide the club should it flirt with relegation. That’s how it feels.
And we’re all guilty of it, including us at MyFootballWriter.
That doesn’t mean of course we should accept what we’re being offered right now.
There is no question the travelling Yellow Army have been short changed on the last two away trips. No question at all. And there is no argument around this season representing City’s best chance of returning to the the Premier League.
As a result there is every reason to be concerned about the recent free-fall – and the decision-making that has led to the slide – but in the greater scheme of things, having scaled some commendable heights the club’s trajectory is heading us back towards being Championship wannabees.
The sad reality – certainly for clubs like Norwich – is that cyclical nature of football means a sustained period of highs are usually followed by some commensurate lows. Most clubs – the elite aside – are subject to them. It’s our turn. That’s how it feels anyway.
But that doesn’t mean we should just sit back and accept it.
All of which is no consolation for the Yellow Army, and with hostilities resuming on Saturday – Brighton being the visitors to Carrow Road – we can expect said blue touch paper to be not far away.
But if there is one thing that would help quell the current uprising it’s the appointment of an experienced coach – perhaps even one that knows the Colney ropes.
The notion that the club’s powers brokers are listening to the voice of the fans may just be enough, for the time being at least, to afford Neil Adams and David McNally some time.
An empty seat in the dugout and a defeat however would only add fuel to a flickering fire.
Let’s just hope the break will have recharged the batteries of managers, players and fans alike.