My dad is usually good value for a Norwich City quote. His no-nonsense version of events is often worthy of the final word in a comment piece. Of late, my son has also developed a healthy habit of throwing out a quote-worthy one-liner.
The latter delivered last night as news broke of Patrick Bamford’s loan move to City.
“Bamford? Patrick Bamford? That bloke with floppy hair who dives around a lot and who you hate?”
“Errr… well hate is a strong word mate, but yeah, that’s the one.”
And there it was in a nutshell, courtesy of Gowers Junior (who was by my side for that painful 1-0 defeat by Boro in April). We’ve signed a bloke who eight months ago was perceived by the Yellow Army as a hybrid of Kevin Muscat, Andy Marshall and John Wark.
Except, to paraphrase a #ncfc tweeter, he’s now our floppy-haired ‘diver’, which was the basis of my rationale when explaining to Aidan why it’s okay, normal even, to be a flip-flopper when you’re a football fan.
And plus, evidence has emerged since that fateful April evening to confirm that Bamford (is it okay to call him Paddy now?) was actually injured, despite the protestations of 25,000 who were totally convinced that his shenanigans – along with those of Messrs Tomlin, Leadbitter, Clayton, Adomah etc etc – were all part of the Karanka masterplan.
Also, I’m 99.9 per cent sure that his his no-show at Wembley was, while in part due to playing whilst unfit, more to do with his contrition following the unsavoury nature of said Carrow Road victory. That’d be Paddy all over. 😉
Some have been quick to cite his unhappy time at Selhurst Park, for which there will no doubt be mitigating circumstances, but I prefer to concentrate on the bloke who was last season’s Championship’s Player of the Season and whose loan services were much sought after in the summer. The same bloke who has scored goals wherever he has played and who has so irked Boro fans by joing us.
They’d have had back in a flash. That’s good enough for me.
It comes with an element of risk of course – every signing does – but with it being a loan the financial outlay is, while still significant, less painful than it could have been and for 13 games we have the use of a player who we know capable of hitting the ground running. I’m not sure we could have said the same of Sébastien Haller.
And besides, I’d imagine there was zero chance of Chelsea wanting the move to be a permanent one even if his chances of playing for their first XI are up there with Kyle Lafferty being our missing link in central defence and Ed Balls usurping Alex Tettey as City’s midfield enforcer. Ryan Bertrand is living proof that regardless of your place in the Blues’ pecking order it takes 87 loan moves before you’ll be considered for release.
So, now it’s up to Alex Neil and his team to squeeze every last drop out of young Paddy in a way that Alan Pardew couldn’t, in the hope he can add some further quality in the final third to supplement that already acquired in the form of Steven Naismith.
It’s unlikely he will start every week but instead will form part of Alex’s pool of striking options which will be formulated on the usual horses for courses basis. And he’ll certainly add some guile, cleverness and smart movement to the mix, perhaps as early as Tuesday night.
So, six in the Colney door already and still a day left. Who saw that coming prior to the window opening? Not me. And certainly not those who spent the first half of January berating the club for a lack of ambition and for ‘trying to do it on the cheap’.
As most, if not all signings, are for an ‘undisclosed fee’ it’s impossible to be precise about these things (and I don’t have the strength to delve into net spend) but the consensus in the media is that currently City are second only to Newcastle in the snappily titled January window transfer spend league table. An impressive stat for ‘little Norwich’ and not the action of a club that is sleep-walking to relegation.
Off the field, and most notably in the board room, if the worst were to happen – and there is still little evidence to suggest it will – then at least we’ll be going down kicking and screaming, with the maximum of fuss. An attitude that needs to, and I’m sure will, filter from board room to changing room.
As highlighted by Robin (Sainty) in his excellent EDP column, City are on 23 points from the same number of games – a continuation of which will sufficient for safety – and have only dipped into the bottom three for a single week.
More of the same will be good enough. And at times – like when you’ve blown a 3-1 lead against Liverpool – that’s easy to forget.
So, hopefully the heads have now cleared from that horrible afternoon. The focus is now on what lies ahead. And with some new faces on board on Tuesday night let’s hope for a repeat of Tottenham’s last visit.
“Never mind the danger…”