Redz on his way
Reports that City were pondering a £10 million bid from Stoke for Nathan Redmond came as no surprise.
Whether it’s true or not is of course is a completely different matter but it did signal the start of something that has potential to turn into a saga. And, for once, I wouldn’t care.
Being on the receiving end of the Robbie Brady mini-series was painful at times – too painful for some – but with the shoe now on the other foot I’m rather keen that we don’t sell to the first bidder’s opening offer. And I’m sure that won’t be the case.
With several suitors reportedly preparing bids (I’m still not completely clear as to how much preparation an actual bid takes) it makes no sense whatsoever to accept one from money-bags Hughes just because he barged his way, elbows flailing, to the front of the queue.
He can wait – they all can – until we’re good and ready, the only proviso being that if we’re able to spend all that we recoup then at least give ourselves time to do so.
But he’ll depart at some point and it should be with our good wishes.
He’s been decent, more than decent at times, thrilling on occasions but it’s hard to argue a case for him having progressed over the last 12 months – at least while wearing a yellow shirt. For the England U21s he looks every inch a Premier League wide man.
And so, for me, now is his time. Time to find that new challenge, time to – as painful as it is to say – give the next level a go. He’s not been a complainer or a moaner, and from the outside looking in he appeared to buy in to Norwich and Norfolk.
So let’s just get ourselves, without the aid of the McNally safety net, a cracking deal and remember fondly that goal at Wembley.
Farewell ol’ Jarrold
News that the Jarrold is no longer to be the Jarrold caught me off guard; the city department store announcing in the week that the club have apparently decided against a continuation of their sponsorship of the stand.
All of which is shame, not least because only recently have I been able to get my head round the fact it’s no longer the South Stand. And with Aviva (formerly Norwich Union) also ending their shirt sponsorship, it almost signals the end of the high-profile links between the club and local businesses.
One suspects that economics dictate but for a club that’s always enjoyed healthy relationships with the local business community it’s, while understandable, a little deflating. Expect however to see Best Fiends (whoever they are) or Coral extend their grip on the old place.
But, without going over old ground, if last season taught us anything it’s that the current business model is one that won’t support – certainly for the medium and long term – a Premier League football club.
Maybe this is the first, small step in a change of direction.
Recruitment, recruitment, recruitment
No, I’m not paraphrasing Tony Blair 1997-style but simply reminding myself what is probably the most crucial aspect of the club’s operation in the next three months.
We failed miserably this time last summer, hence why we find ourselves looking on enviously as the chosen 20 get handed riches beyond our wildest dreams, but it can’t happen again. And it shouldn’t happen again.
This time round we are shopping in a different aisle and are not going toe to toe with those with far deeper pockets. Now we are among the big shots, those with cash to spend and who must look a little bit sexy to someone with talent and ambition.
Newcastle and Villa, especially with their new high-profile managers, will likely take their places at the head of the table but we’re next in line and should get at least third dibs when it comes to luring bright young things through the doors of Colney.
But there’s still a job to be done and it still won’t be easy; the key for me being to set ourselves realistic and plausible targets. Too much time was spent last summer pursuing players who, realistically, were never going to make Norfolk their home (especially those with Italian links whose agents viewed Norwich City as nothing but a bargaining chip).
So I was therefore surprised to see us linked with Stefano Denswil, a Dutch centre-back currently playing in Belgium with Club Brugge. Given that his current employers are the Belgian champions and will offer him Champions League football next season, it’d take some offer to lure him to the second level of English football.
Throw into the mix the fact that Barcelona are also reportedly interested, and it seems an odd one to be spending time on. Perhaps it’s nothing more than the product of a mischievous Belgian journalist.
So, I’m not holding my breath on the arrival of Master Denswil and let’s assume there are other less glamorous, more realistic, names on the list.
As a footballing site that focusses on all things Norwich City it’s rarely we veer too far from the trodden path but the passing yesterday of Muhammad Ali has to be one exception.
Greatness is a phrase used all too freely in sporting parlance but, although self-proclaimed, it was indeed a fitting description of one whose bravery in the boxing ring was only the very start of it.
Words were part of his armoury but, for me at least, it’s impossible to find the right ones to convey his impact on boxing, sport and beyond.
Instead I heartily recommend you watch When We Were Kings – a documentary of the 1974 ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ between Ali and George Foreman, which was possibly the finest piece of sporting theatre of all time.
And a tenuous link to Norwich City? Well, said rumble took place in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), which was the birthplace of one Dieumerci Mbokani.
Have I got away with it ? Hope so.