Have football fans always been so impatient?
Everything is about the here and now. It’s a good job we don’t conduct our day to day lives in the same way that we live and breathe them as football fans.
You’re headed off for a meal with your other half. The waiter brings over the menu. But that’s not good enough.
Menu? MENU? Where’s the meal? I expected it to be on the table as soon as I got here. Look at all the other diners; they’re quite clearly already eating their meals, why must I wait for mine?
A trip to the cinema. Small seats, sticky floor, Pearl and Dean. “Pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-PA, pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-paaaaaaa -PA!”
Well I’m sorry but now I’m here I want the film on NOW. Right now. Sack the manager.
Ordering something? It’ll be with you in three to five days.
Not good enough. I’ve ordered it, where is it? You can’t expect me to wait. I want it now. Immediately. You clearly have no idea how to run a business.
You hint got no ambishun.
Those new potatoes you set at the end of last month. They haven’t cropped yet. How long do they need? I expect to be pulling nice new spuds out of the ground the day after I’ve set them. Everyone else is.
And as for that expensive cruise? So what if it’s £4k for a ticket. You earn £24k a year for goodness sake, that’s £24k sat in the bank, £4k is nothing. Spend it. Spend it now. And to hell with everything else that might just happen to need servicing financially over that twelve month period.
Same old same old. You still hint got no holiday ambishun.
Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Not how we live our lives or the pace we are used to.
Except, that is, if you support Norwich City.
Where are all the new signings?
Why hasn’t a new chief executive been appointed yet?
We hint got… you know how it goes.
I read a post on a messageboard thread earlier today that – in as many words – that the current board has no idea how to run a football club for exactly those two reasons.
No new players. And no replacement for David McNally at the top of the Canary tree.
The club, it was claimed, said that they would look to appoint a replacement for McNally “as soon as possible”.
Thus, a little over four weeks after his sudden and unexpected departure from the club, the fact that he has not been replaced is apparently a sign that the current board are sat at the canapés and wine and looking forward to Wimbledon rather than worrying themselves about the running of a football club.
People do realise, I assume, that looking for and recruiting someone as important, responsible and highly qualified as a the chief executive of a business that turns over tens of millions of pounds annually, employs several hundred people and is one of THE flagship operations of the whole of East Anglia isn’t quite the same as getting a temp in to do a spot of filing?
You can ring around on a Friday afternoon and have someone in and ready to do just that the following Monday morning. Not quite so easy to do when you’re looking for a new CEO though, especially if there are contracts involved and notice periods – usually rather longer than the standard four weeks – to serve.
Nevertheless, the fact that someone isn’t in place, raising hell and signing cheques is seen as yet another stick to beat the club about the head with.
By the end of the summer they’ll probably have enough of those sticks to build a Yurt. But how many of them will have been beatings of a justifiable nature?
The same applies to signing players.
And woe, woe and thrice woe. Because we haven’t signed anyone yet.
We hint got no ambishun (sorry).
But Man Utd, folk argue, have just spent £30 million on Eric Bailly.
They’ve signed someone.
Well no, they haven’t. Not yet anyway.
No club can sign a player in exchange for a transfer fee until July 1.
So yes, Man Utd have announced they have signed Bailly but in actual fact all they have done is announce their intention to sign him on, or immediately after July 1. Bailly is, and will remain until at least midnight on June 30, a Villarreal player.
Same with Arsenal and Granit Xhaka (imagine that on Canary Call); he won’t officially sign for them until July 1.
The big clubs like to get the news of their deals in early. It’s sabre rattling; it’s finding your unwrapped Christmas presents on top of the wardrobe three weeks before the big day. You know you’ve got them. But you can’t have them yet.
These will almost certainly be deals that were first formulated and put into action back in the winter. Surely no-one thinks Jose Mourinho joined Man Utd, identified Bailly as a player he wanted and handed the job of getting the player over to the club to complete; all £30 million of it in under a fortnight.
Proof, if ever needed, that Mourinho was going to be their new manager as far back as late last year, for that is when he would have tipped the wink that Bailly was a player he wanted. Not the day he joined them.
Likewise Guardiola and Gundogen. He’d have marked his future employers’ card on him months ago.
We’re not in that position. And neither are most other clubs in the Championship or, for that matter, the Premier League.
It’s mostly free transfers, free agents, and Bosmans until the end of the month. And, since June 1, there have been nearly 40 of them.
Have we missed the boat? Good question. Should we have demonstrated that ambition we are all told we so sadly lack by snapping up Chris Arthur (Woking to Crawley) or Joss Labadie (Dagenham & Redbridge to Newport)?
We’d have made a statement at least. You bet. A statement that said Norwich are signing players who will be nowhere good enough for the first-team.
At least we’ve signed someone the naysayers would claim. Except they wouldn’t. Because they’d be too busy lambasting club and board for, well you know, that certain lack of something.
And, to be fair, I think most of us would be feeling the same way if Arthur and Labadie were pictured in the EDP holding up the obligatory scarf with, in both cases I have no doubt, a look that says “pinch me” on their faces.
Am I being too harsh on my fellow Norwich fans?
Perhaps I am. Because it won’t only be the likes of us demanding action and demanding it yesterday over the summer. Most fans of most clubs will be at it. You only have to take a cursory look around the various chat rooms and messageboards of all teams great and small to realise we’re all at it.
It’s football 2016 style, where instant gratification is king.
Has this sense of self entitlement amongst football supporters always been so self pervading?
Blaming many of the major ills on the game on the influx of big money and blanket TV coverage is an easy, even lazy, standby. But I do think, in this particular instance, the mass commercialisation of the game has a lot to answer for.
Football fans today have, in my opinion (and there’s the rub, it’s just an opinion, nothing more), higher expectations and demands of their club, players and management than at any other time in the game’s history.
With the added ingredient of celebrity status now being attached to many of the games administrators merely add to the feeding frenzy.
The financial rewards for being in the Premier League next season are enormous.
Yet, relatively speaking, things won’t have changed that much from a quarter of a century ago. In the summer of 1991, Norwich might have had a transfer budget of, say, around £2 to £2.5 million of which £1.5 million was spent on Rob Newman and Darren Beckford; the latter for a club record fee of £925,000 from Port Vale.
Beckford was a lower league striker who’d been Vale’s leading goalscorer for four consecutive seasons during which time they’d won promotion to the old Second Division (now the Championship) and, against all the odds, stayed there.
You could probably compare him to Benik Afobe. Beckford made just 11 appearances for Manchester City before, aged 20, signing for Port Vale for just £15,000 in 1987 where he rebuilt both his career and reputation in the Second Division before joining a side in the top division in a deal that constituted a club record fee for the buying club.
Afobe joined Arsenal at the age of 17 but in a five year spell at the club failed to make a first-team appearance for the Gunners. He eventually signed for Wolves for £2 million in 2015 where he went on to rebuild both his career and reputation in the Championship before joining a side in the top division in a deal that constituted a club record fee for the buying club – in this case, Bournemouth.
Using, admittedly, back of fag packet accounts here, Norwich’s signing of Beckford in 1991 for £925,000 might have accounted for around 40 per cent of the club’s transfer budget that summer.
Had we paid the asking price for Afobe last summer, might Wolves asking price of around £10-£12 million have constituted around 40 per cent of our overall transfer budget at the time?
Like I said, fag packet economics. But it might not have been far from that.
More money in the game, more to spend on transfer fees and player wages? Sure. But it’s all relative. And, as far as economics in football is concerned, a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Except, that is, for our own expectations and demands that our club delivers.
And delivers now.