For City fans, the buzzwords of the summer have been ‘in the know’ or #ITK – code used by those fortunate folk who have a direct ‘in’, or a contact on the inside who will offer a nod and a wink when something is stirring.
(Except, in 99.9 per cent of cases, they have nothing of the sort).
For the rest of us mere mortals it’s a case of waiting for the press conference signs to go up or for a grainy image of a new signing scoffing a burger in Yellows to appear before we can rest easy in the knowledge that David NcNally has done his dealing.
If the club had their own way, we’d have not an inkling of a new name until he appears betwixt McNally and Alex Neil at their Colney curtain call and, despite the obvious clamour for rumours, gossip and exotic names, I suspect most would approve.
It tends, for the most part, to be the way the club does its business and I like that.
Other parties involved in a deal are, alas, outside of the jurisdiction of Norwich City Football Club and, as has been the case in the Robbie Brady ‘deal’, other clubs take a rather different view.
Agents too, of course, will not think twice about bringing a deal into the public consciousness if it benefits them and their client (actually, mainly them).
The aforementioned Brady saga has now spanned the entire close season and has careered well into pre-season, all played out amidst the glare of the flashbulbs and the back pages.
Steve Bruce has had his say – several times – and resorted to name-calling when City’s opening couple of gambits fell well short of Hull’s valuation but as Ricky was plundering a two-yard tap-in on Friday night news of a softened stance on Humberside was breaking.
Following the Tigers’ friendly with North Ferriby Utd, Brucie was again unable to keep it shtum – although in fairness he was responding to a journalist’s question – and, while reaffirming that Norwich had still to reach their valuation, his tone appeared to be one of resignation.
Perhaps, as reported in the local Humberside press, the need to sell before he can buy has finally registered and he appreciates that Hull’s bargaining position isn’t quite as strong as he thought. Or perhaps he’s just getting fed up with the saga, like we all are.
Either way, I can’t imagine McNally and Alex Neil taking this one too much further. Clearly he’s a player at, or near, the top of City’s list of most wanted but I suspect it’s reached the point of deal or no deal. To pursue it beyond City’s own valuation of the player isn’t the CEO’s style.
For what it’s worth – and I’m definitely not ‘in the know’ – I think the saga will be concluded in the next few days. (So, look forward to another piece on the ongoing saga next Sunday).
Last week’s back pages carried little news of strikers or centre-backs – which hopefully means discreet moves are afoot – and interestingly little news of players heading out of Carrow Road but it has to, and will, happen, be it on loan or permanently.
Upon the closing of the transfer window the club has to submit a squad list of 25 names. It can include no more than 17 players who do not fulfil the Premier League’s “Home Grown Player” (HGP) criteria.
So far, in each of the three friendlies, Alex Neil has comfortably named two separate teams and has by no means used the same squad for each game. In fact, 29 different players have been used to date.
The HGP rule is something of a misnomer in that ‘home grown’ applies to players who have spent three years between the ages of 16 and 21 with a team in the English football League system – and players under 21 can be included as ‘extras’ in the first-team squad – but, regardless, 29 into 25 doesn’t go and that’s before the arrival of any new faces.
Some are going to be disappointed, and which is why for some the need to impress over this pre-season is so vital. And then there’s Ricky, who incidentally has been included in the touring party to Germany.
His appearance and goal on Friday evening was the cue for a Twitter love-in of proportions hitherto unseen but by Saturday morning the realists were out in force reminding us of just why he was sent off to St Etienne with his tail between his legs.
Seldom before has a two-yard tap-in caused such a furore.
I remain in the sceptical camp but, like many, am also a sucker for a bit of misty-eyed romanticism. It would of course be a great story if Alex Neil can get a tune out of our mis-firing Dutchman and, for the Scot, would be a triumph right up there with getting Hamilton up to third in the SPL.
It would also confirm that he is indeed Superman.
As ever, all will be revealed in the next few weeks, The big question is, will Alex be rocking a cape when he takes his bow in the dugout on August 8?