As Norwich City’s Premier League campaign gets well and truly underway, it’s fair to say we’ve already had a reality check of what we’re up against.
I’ve been keen to talk about my stance on the transfer activity this summer. Interestingly enough, I interviewed my good friend and former Norwich captain Mark Fotheringham and he had the same opinion.
Should we have signed a centre back? Yes.
Should we have spent more money on a striker? Yes.
However, it’s not all about the big names and, as Sky Sports News, say ‘splashing the cash’. Instead, all the best teams are built around organisation and the right attitude to win football matches and we have that with Alex Neil. Look at the likes of QPR or, perhaps this season, Watford.
Can you just buy survival? I don’t think so.
Mark Fotheringham made 69 appearances for the Canaries, scoring three goals along the way. He sparked much debate with the Norwich faithful but, in my opinion, he was very reliable, a player you knew was going to wear his heart on his sleeve and fight for the points. Something Alex Neil will demand more of this season. I hope you enjoy the insight…
Fozzy, as a Scot yourself, how do you rate Alex Neil as a manager? Better than Roeder I’m sure!
“As a proud Scot it’s been great to see Alex Neil do really well with the Norwich team in the past period. It doesn’t surprise me at all.
“When I joined Fulham, Norwich was the first fixture I looked for and was really impressed with the squad they had in the Championship. Alex Neil, from my experience in Scotland, has always come across as a great pro, leader and a guy who even while playing would always bring on the young players at his club Hamilton.
“When he stepped into management there it didn’t surprise me how well he did as he was like a manager as a player on the field, always trying to dictate play and be and influence on the players around him with his leadership skills.
“He’s got Norwich together… galvanised them and showed them the way. They already had the squad capable of reaching the Prem. It was maybe that they lacked that bit of toughness and intensity in there game that Alex has brought in. I wish him all the best of luck in the future this season and beyond.”
Do you keep an eye out for the Norwich results still?
“Norwich has always been a club that I look out for and I’ve have great pleasure in seeing them do so well in the past years. I was very proud to have pulled on the yellow jersey and I can honestly say that I tried to give 100 per cent every time I wore the shirt.
“I’m sure if people had seen the Pro-Zone results etc they would know that I was covering more ground than any of the players in the squad. It meant the world to be at Norwich and was very proud to have played there and also lived in my favourite part of England.
“Of course, in the end things didn’t work out my way. I left the club but I always tried to keep my dignity and never ever bad-mouthed the flu or any off its staff in anyway. But that’s maybe a chat for later in my career… I made some very special friends in Norfolk and it was an honour to have them at my wedding in Scotland!”
What are you up to in the world of football these days? I’ve seen many videos of you keeping fit!
“I’m currently in talks to play in the Greek Super League. I have been out there and trained last week and will go to spend a few days with Iraklis of Thessaloniki who are a very traditional good club in the Greek top league.
“I haven’t been playing for six months as I left Fulham. I worked my way into Felix Magath’s squad and that gave me great confidence. However when Kit Symons took over, the writing was on the wall for me as it was made clear from early on that I wouldn’t feature. I’m not the kind of guy to be fake and pretend I’m happy to be in the stand so I made it clear that I wanted to leave and was very close to going to Rangers.
“I’m looking for an experience at this stage of my career and it has to be right for myself and my family – both financial and lifestyle wise. So here’s to the future, if that’s in Greece then great!”
How do you rate Norwich’s transfer activity this summer?
“In terms of Norwich’s summer signings I’ve played against most of these lads and they are very capable players. The league they are in is a very unforgiving league and you get punished for your mistakes. It can be very costly in games as they’re on such a knife edge all the time.
“I wish them well and hope they have a healthy season with no injuries and hit the ground running! Alex is very shrewd and he has been patient in the transfer market so far when English players can be awfully overpriced and inflated in the market. So maybe going abroad was an option to for him. But he will know the character of the player and the dynamic that each player will bring to the club on and off the field. They will of course need to buy into his ethos and hopefully it’s going to be a very good season for Norwich.”
The big question, do you think Norwich City will survive in the Premier League this season & why?
“I think Alex will keep the club up. He is a winner.
“He will have the team super-fit and although they won’t have the bigger names of the other teams, they certainly won’t lack team spirit, endeavour and organisation. All the things that the best teams are based on.
“I read some articles that the fans down there are frustrated by certain signings and the lack of them. But this is the minority that are never happy and think they should be competing with the likes of Newcastle. The fact is the club don’t have the budget to compete with these teams. They will always attract the better quality players etc as they want to live in the bigger cities. That’s just the fact of life that the fans need to accept.
“Norwich is a great club with great history, it’s certainly a bigger club than Fulham in my opinion and I think they should always be in the Premiership with their fantastic football arena, pitch and great fans creating a fantastic atmosphere every Saturday at home. When it’s going well it’s one of the best places to play your football.
“I hope to bring my young lad Mason to watch the team one day, he’s 14 month’s old now and as soon as he’s up and about I will be telling him about how much his father enjoyed his time at the club.
“I also keep in touch and watch out for the legend that is Darren Huckerby; it’s great to see him back at the club and passing on his knowledge to the young players. It was a privilege to play beside him and I feel honoured to have shared a dressing room with the man. Alongside him and Dion Dublin it was a big highlight in my career to play with them both.
“Finally, come on you Canaries! Have great season and best of luck”
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Organisation and commitment are key requirements for any successful team and AN’s team no doubt has these qualities. However these traits have to be aligned to premier league footballing ability and this is where I fear we may fall short. This is why we should have added more to the squad in the window. I’d love to be proved wrong but fear we will not have quite enough to get us over the line come next May. A modest outlay, particularly on a proven goal scorer, may gave given us a better chance of staying up.
Stewart Lewis says
I suddenly feel a bit bad that I didn’t like him much as a player for us!
Gary Field says
Something to a personal surprise to find Fozzy talking in such glowing terms about his time at Norwich.
Always came across as an honest professional, even if, perhaps, he wasn’t the most gifted to wear yellow and green.
Captain calamity says
Always good to hear the views of ex-players who served the club with such distinction…
“Fozzy, as a Scot yourself, how do you rate Alex Neil as a manager? Better than Roeder I’m sure!”
– wasn’t it fellow Scot Bryan Gunn who he had issues with?
“..and never ever bad-mouthed the flu or any off its staff in anyway.”
– what the..?
Good luck on his Greek odyssey.
Gary Gowers says
Always said he was a class act! 😉
I don’t feel bad as he was paid money to play for us, but to be fair his reputation preceded him. He played with a fair few toilet players so we needed someone with class, and if it wasn’t for the hype around the fozzy flick he would have stood a much better chance at building a career here. He came from a bigger club at the time and too much was expected of him. I’d happily take him and Mason to a game!
Cosmo P. says
Holy cow, Fozzy seems to be re-inventing history. By my recollection, his time at the club were some of the darkest days in the past 50 years! Terrible team (with the very odd exception), appalling series of managers and the club haemorrhaging cash.
The fact that this seems to have been the golden years of his career says it all!
Sorry I can’t be more positive.
Today’s Norwich City is a million miles away from then.
Stewart – trust that initial instinct.
Re Roeder and Fozzy – didn’t Roeder make Fozzy captain for the better part of a season and a half – the relationship can’t have been that bad! That said, there was the incident where Fozzy stormed off after being substituted by Gunn, and never played for the club again – so I expect that is what the author meant and that he got confused.
I am quite impressed by how well Fozzy speaks here, and he speaks so highly of the club too – a bit surprising given how poisonous the atmosphere around the club was at that time. Good for him to be able to look beyond the acrimony and to still see the good things in the club, even at its lowest ebb!