In 2011, one of the country’s brightest home-grown talents was playing in the Midlands. A crowd-pleasing left winger with an eye for goal, his fans were delighted to see him picked for England. They were disappointed, but not surprised, to see him sold in August 2012 to a major club for £11million.
That move didn’t work for him. His new manager’s direct and robust style wasn’t suited to his talents, and though the fans liked him he became a bit-part player.
A fresh start was clearly what he needed, though his club was reluctant to let him go. At the last minute of the transfer window on Tuesday, he got a move – a season-long loan to a club more committed to his kind of positive, skilful style.
No wonder he quickly tweeted “Thanks for all the welcome messages and I look forward to wearing the shirt with pride!” Interviewed, the first point he made was “It’s a fresh start for me – a chance to get back to my best”.
Just the kind of player we’d like to see at Norwich, don’t you think? Well, we will. The shirt Matt Jarvis looks forward to wearing with pride is the Canary yellow. Given his style, his escape from West Ham to Norwich must feel like a glorious chance to breathe fresh air.
The arrival of Jarvis seems to have passed largely unnoticed among City fans. Two reasons are no doubt involved: the deal was announced well after the official close of the window – I refuse to say it ‘slammed shut’ – and he’s not a centre back.
Our preoccupation with central defensive cover is understandable – I’m sure David McNally thought he’d be able to add to our options. I’m one of those who believes Russ, Bass and Ryan Bennett are good enough, but it’s a worry that we have only three in that key area. Enough has been said about that for now.
On the other hand, we know that Alex Neil wanted a left-footed winger from the start. In January we failed with a bid for Craig Noone of Cardiff. We now have a clearly superior alternative.
There’s competition right across midfield now (even with the players we’ve sent out on loan), and it’ll be interesting to see who impresses enough to be a regular starter.
Speaking of midfield, it would be remiss not to comment on the departure of our Bradley. It’s fair to say that for most of his time at Norwich – notably the Premier League years – fans’ view of him was ambivalent. But last season he grew into a hero, and we’ll never forget his huge contribution to our eventual triumph.
There’s been much comment along the lines of “there we go – yet another Player of the Season promptly sold”. On that I beg to differ. In the past, we’ve been financially obliged to sell our best players, or morally obliged to let them move to a bigger club.
This is a very different situation. Outstanding in the Championship, BJ has never quite looked a Premier League player. Given the abundance of our options in midfield – further strengthened by the arrivals of Brady and Jarvis – it made sense to let him go to a Championship club if the price was right. And who can question £6million? This seems to me a deal that works for everyone.
Note: there’s a perfectly cogent case for that deal without any extraneous personal or personality factors.
I’ll be ready for Bournemouth in just over a week. So will Alex Neil. We didn’t get everything we wanted for Christmas – sorry, the transfer window – but we got some good stuff and Alex will go about his job positively. As fans, we can do the same.
Paul Lancaster says
Thats a very good article with some extremely good points
Douglas Millar says
I hope Matt Jarvis proves to be a success. He clearly has the talent and if Alex Neil can fit him into the side he will be well worth the reportedly high wages he is on.
As for Bradley Johnson, I agree with the writer. Johnson is a tremendous battler but I remember some of our best performances in the Premier league were when he was left out. Stoke away with Tetley, Fer and Howson running the show is one example. His goal scoring exploits – 15 in the Championship and only seven in three seasons in the Premier League – show that the better defences can minimise his threat.
City got good money for someone who was destined to be a bit part player if the other members of the squad stay fit.
That said, I wish all the best to a wholehearted and committed player who was instrumental in getting City back to the top division.
At last, a sensible analysis of the BJ transfer. Far too much emotional tosh on social media and elsewhere, including The Scrimmage, yes I’m talking about you Rob Butler. In the modern game, good players manage their own careers, they have the power now. Only poor players, those not good enough are moved out by the clubs. BJ isn’t a poor player, he saw that he was 2nd or 3rd choice and left. Good luck to him at Derby City.
windsor city says
Indeed, we move on and up. We have new players and they all look good. BJ was a shock but that’s it, just a shock. Let’s be honest he was one of the players everyone would nark it if he had a bad game (and he did have a few). 2nd half of last season he was stunning and thank you from all of us for that. Maybe letting him go was unnecessary but on reflection better to leave on a high with all our good memories than fade away as a bit part player. Good luck and thank you, might even start looking out for Derby City’s results but we are stronger now than we were in May. We move on and we never stop supporting. OTBC
David Nobbs says
Quite right. Jarvis and Mbokani are potent additions to an already strong squad. While I’m sure efforts we made to bolster our central defence it is only worth doing if what you bring in is better than what you have. If the problem was that we aimed for real quality and couldn’t make the deals or the club attractive that for me is preferable to sucking in squad players as we have in the recent past.
As for Johnson I feel it is only fair to him to let him go and play 1st team football. We are currently playing 5 in midfield and he was on the bench. Brady will also ultimately play in midfield and you have to suspect Mulumbu is ahead of Johnson. That would have left him in a group including O’neil, E Bennett, Vadis, Andreau and a couple of others competing for 8th choice. Not, I think, where he would want or deserves to be.
Bob in Diss says
It was only 20 minutes of one international but it counts.
Having been saddled with McCarthy at Wolves and Allardyce at West Ham, hopefully he’ll be given more freedom by Alex Neil. With the big lad from the Congo, we have plenty of options (Jarvis, Redmond and Brady)to supply the ammunition from the wings.
Bradderz has moved on and so must we. Let’s put the conspiracy theories in the bin where they belong.
For once, I totally agree. The very same fans that whined about BJ not being good enough are now moaning he’s gone. He isn’t a prem player. We Do Need A CB, but the board have stuffed that one and there’s not much we can do now but hope. Jarvis will be a very good addition and the fact he’s been ignored by canaries means even less pressure on him. Perfect. And then you have those suddenly upset RVW is off again. What?! His name alone was weighing us down and was a farce anyone saw him getting back in the side, and really proves how little fans know. So glad he’s gone…grabban in the next window please.
el dingo says
7: Toad – I don’t mourn the departure of RvW either. As you say, we still need a CB but I don’t see what the Board ever tried to do to address the issue. As for conspiracies we’ve most of us heard stuff that seems pretty likely but no fan could or would want to try to prove anything so all we can do is keep faith with Sir Alex.
The point that isn’t bering answered is that Johnson clearly didn’t want to leave. Look at his body language! So if he didn’t want to leave, why isn’t is still here and at club that doesn’t need to sell?
Stewart Lewis says
Darren (9) – Did you see the 25-man Premier League squads announced a couple of days ago?
Our announced squad has 24 senior players, i.e. one empty space. But we clearly expected to sign AT LEAST one more player on deadline day. If we had, BJ could only have been included at the expense of someone else.
It was a logical sale, to a club where he’ll get plenty of games and at a very good price.