Despite the ‘support’ of former referee Mark Halsey and almost every pundit who could be bothered to express an opinion, Cameron Jerome’s overhead kick is still ruled out. It’s time to move on.
Master Hooper is unlikely to darken our doors again for a while and it’s best we leave it there.
Of far greater importance is Saturday’s trip to the Stadium of Light.
Alex Neil’s proud record of having never lost an away game while being in the City dugout will go under the microscope for the first time this season, and undoubtedly face its toughest test yet, but Sunderland fall into the category ‘beatable’
Yet let’s not kid ourselves. This one is a big ask.
The Black Cats will still be smarting from an opening day horror show at the King Power stadium and will be desperate not to disappoint their long-suffering supporters at the first time of asking.
The decision by Mrs Advocaat to permit her Dick another twelve months on Wearside was supposed to have been the start of a renaissance for a club that is the perennial sleeping giant, but events in Leicester had an all-too familiar ring for the Mackems.
For City, a narrow Sunderland win or a draw would have been preferable but no – in true Norwich fashion we pitch up at potentially the wrong place at the wrong time.
And it’s not as if the Stadium of Light is a happy hunting ground. It isn’t. In fact, City have only won there once – in August 1997 – when Daryl Sutch scored the only goal in one of the stadium’s first games.
Since then, while City have enjoyed a fine record against the Black Cats at Carrow Road, in the North East it’s been a miserable series of defeats and a couple of draws – interestingly on each of our last two visits.
So, if Alex Neil were a believer in omens then they’re not good. But he’s not.
As ever, the preparation will be meticulous. The players will be as mentally and physically prepared as is humanly possible, and the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses laid bare for everyone’s consumption. No stone left unturned.
However, this season there will be occasions when the best game-plan, the best preparations and the most positive mind-set will still be insufficient to get a result.
Last season, if all the boxes had been ticked and the players implemented the plan as instructed, Alex knew that, more often than not, City would go on and win the game. Not this time round – sometimes even our best won’t be good enough.
Whether that will be the case on Saturday remains to be seen, but – on paper at least – it is one of those where City can travel safe in the knowledge that a good performance should yield some points.
A win would naturally be wonderful but, if offered it, I’d take a point now.
For City fans, the wait for new signings continues. Sadly, for some, patience is not a virtue and the unreliable barometer of Twitter reveals an ever-increasing desperation among those who judge progress by the number of new faces in the squad.
To paraphrase a yuppie mantra of the 1980s, it seems ‘we are what we sign’.
In this Friday’s piece on MFW, Ed Couzens-Lake describes, far more eloquently than I, why Norwich City perhaps doesn’t have the allure we all like to believe. Equally, neither are we able to match others when it comes to depth of pocket.
Twitter has been ablaze all week with angst over David McNally’s inability to land the new striker that we and Alex Neil crave, almost as though the CEO is sat, feet up on his desk, twiddling his thumbs while doing a Nero impersonation.
But in the real world, the inactivity has nothing to with lack of effort or determination – and more to do with our ability, or otherwise, to lure the right man for the right price.
Right now Norwich City are not big fish, not even medium-sized fish. To be frank, in Premier League terms, we’re a sardine – and to prospective new signings, that’s not ‘sexy’.
Some have remarked on the ‘success’ of Watford and Bournemouth in the summer transfer market while forgetting that both have billionaire owners. Anyone prepared to spend circa £8million on acquiring the services of Tyrone Mings is clearly not too fussed about making every pound work that little bit harder.
We don’t have that luxury. £120million or no £120million, when locking horns with other Premier League clubs in the transfer market we’re usually the stag that slinks off in a sulk and with half an antler missing.
That doesn’t mean we can’t compete but it does mean every deal takes work and time, and lots of it.
And besides, the window doesn’t ‘slam’ shut for another 20 days.