Battling boys or ‘Brum’ bums? Good solid away point or two thrown away? Once again the faithful are split down the middle.
There’s one word which seems to keep cropping up – rollercoaster. Perhaps no other season in recent memory has experienced more performance/results ups and downs – more highs and lows in mood and expectation levels.
Performance and individual form has stuttered and spluttered like a second-hand banger – not the constant purr and grunt of a hoped for shiny and perfectly engineered model rolling out of the Carrow Road showroom.
My football-following philosophy has always been to try not to get too carried away by victory and not too downhearted by defeat. Easier said than done I know and especially so in 2014-15 where the only consistent and predictable thing has been the inconsistency and unpredictability of everything both on and off the pitch.
The win at Bournemouth against pretty much all the odds – before and during the game – brought a sense of ‘corner turned’. We’d just defeated the best team in the league on their patch. From there we were bound for the play-offs, if not the top two.
Two weeks later, we’d slipped further away from that goal after a poor show against, admittedly, one of the best teams in the league at home. A cloud of doom and despair soon settled in the aftermath.
Yin and Yang. Day and night. Morecambe and Wise.
Birmingham was somewhere smack dab in the middle – a platform to push on from or one to sink further from? Time will tell.
The problem is none of the six or so teams above us are applying the brakes to their charge and we’re still left playing catch-up.
That home sting inflicted by the Bees seems to have caused one almighty nervous reaction to what our new Scottish management team are likely to achieve, particularly now the transfer window looks to be slamming shut with no fresh breeze blown into the squad.
While Alex Neil’s initial words in front of the camera were positive and reassuring, the subsequent nervous admissions of Frankie McAvoy at ‘the new challenge’ in a distant and foreign land raised a few online eyebrows.
To quote: “… we decided just to go down ourselves and see how things progress, if they go well then we’ll look at bringing the families down in the summer.”
Sensible from a personal viewpoint no doubt but not exactly a confidence-inspiring Churchillian call to arms that City fans will quickly appreciate or warm to. Let’s hope a certain online video chat software package keeps any homesick blues at bay for manager and assistant.
That widely circulated photo of a casually attired Alex and Frankie ambling through a car park, possibly in Norwich, has drawn many an amusing, if derogatory response – many relating to gritty Glasgow-based TV crime serials.
But it’s far too easy to be smart in hindsight and pick on obvious warning signs of people not being up to the job that they’ve been given.
Sometimes a loud and confident person strides in for interview, impresses all but ultimately falls flat on their face for any number of reasons. Conversely, a more quiet and unassuming type can slip in almost unnoticed and end up succeeding brilliantly.
It can happen in a fast food outlet and it can happen at a football club. Success for both are at the whim of the foibles and fortitudes of the human beings who are employed at them. Of course expectation and salary levels are vastly different but still human nature plays a pivotal role.
Whatever the scenario, everyone deserves a fair crack of the whip and hopefully Alex and Frankie will get that from the terraces and the boardroom and they go on to repay the faith that David McNally has invested in them.
An increasingly toxic and fractious home ground atmosphere, triggered by the odd misplaced pass or wayward shot on goal, backed up by a perceived lack of effort and application, seems to be the order of the day at Carrow Road.
Another word doing the rounds of late is ‘entitlement’. Some of our Premier League ‘prima donnas’ think the second tier a bit beneath them after three seasons in the sunshine. That could also apply to a number of vociferous fans for whom a comparatively expensive season ticket seems to be considered a guarantee of unqualified success and satisfaction.
Although that season ticket has taken on more of the appearance of a lottery ticket at times of late, and on occasion it’s the opposition that have done more of the entertaining, Carrow Road has seen more goals (50 in total; 32 in the ‘right end’) than anywhere apart from Watford (51 – only after that freak second-half Blackpool 7-2 massacre) – a far cry from the ‘glory days’ of the Premier League.
That has to justify the outlay surely?
Maybe that season ticket is nothing more than a guaranteed seat on another rollercoaster of epic proportions to come?
With just nine more home circuits to make, hop on, strap in and try to enjoy all the fun of the ‘fare’ the Championship has to offer.