New signing alert…
Frustration at City’s lack of new signings has started to seep out in some quarters but with the transfer window only having been officially open for two days these fears are a little premature. And besides, the Friday unveiling of Alan Irvine as the new first-team coach could potentially be City’s best piece of business of the summer.
Alex Neil by his own admission had more than a wobble or two last season and for a spell veered too far his gut; his natural inclination to play the game on the front foot having been thrashed to within an inch of its life on that fateful afternoon on Tyneside.
Yet from the outside looking in there appeared to me no-one there with the gravitas to question his decision to flip-flop thereon in between ‘Leicester’ and ‘Swansea’; Frankie McAvoy looks to be an assistant in every sense of the word – a decent one I’m sure – and Gary Holt’s technical area experience was only slightly further down the line than the manager’s.
It cried out for a voice of experience and but for the changing personal circumstances of Joe Royle a couple of seasons ago we may have had one. But Irvine ticks that box. He also has “willingness and drive” according to the manager; qualities that Neil seeks in abundance.
Having learnt his managerial trade via a series of coaching roles – including at Newcastle and Everton – he first dipped his toe into the managerial waters at Preston, where he took them to the 2008/09 Championship play-offs.
Sheffield Wednesday and West Brom, via a stop-off as part of Everton’s academy, were next on his managerial CV – both ending prematurely – and his most recent appointment was as assistant to that Lambert bloke at Blackburn.
That neither succeeded as they’d hoped was largely due to the state of flux that the Lancashire club finds itself by virtue of the lovable Venkys.
Tellingly there was an almost universal approval of Irvine’s arrival – a rarity indeed – and so while we await the first new face of the summer on the green stuff, the first new one in the dugout looks a good one.
Burton here we come (no, not the Pirelli)…
On Tuesday the first-team squad head to St George’s Park for five days of training culminating in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Walsall. We’re not alone, it’s a pre-season route taken by many. In theory a fine idea.
As a sporting facility it looks incredible – state-of-the-art and some – but having been forced to endure England’s embarrassing end to Euro 2016 we can only hope there’s nothing in the air at the FA’s footballing HQ that will impact on the psyche of Alex’s squad.
For all of City’s faults last season – and let’s be honest, there were plenty – seldom did they deliver anything as dispiriting and gut-less as that second half performance against Iceland. In fact, seldom can I recall any team in any game delivering a showing of such ineptitude.
The brain-freeze that appeared to grip every single member of team and coaching staff was as difficult to watch as it was to comprehend, and while it was Roy Hodgson who deservedly fell on his sword the wrongs go much deeper and are so widespread it’s impossible to narrow them down to just a few salient points.
Jamie Carragher’s knee-jerk piece in the Daily Mail in which he blamed the national team’s consistent failings on the “Academy Generation” held water for four days until Wales – whose players entered the game through that very same route – Cruyff-turned that theory into touch in exhilarating fashion.
Luckily for us all the FA are put together a committee to examine and address the failings of the national team (Danny Mills awaits the call) and just because we’ve done that exact same thing since we failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup, let’s not assume this one will be yet another futile act. *It will*
For me (here I go being all Danny Mills) one small part of the ongoing problem is that so few English players play abroad, such is the level of cash sloshing around the higher echelons of English football. With little incentive to leave these shores to earn a living, very few do.
Instead they stay in the comfort of an environment that does little but tell them that the English way is the best way. It isn’t. And in doing so they deny themselves the opportunity to experience different footballing philosophies and cultures, and make themselves more rounded human beings.
But that’s just one gripe of many. I’ll leave the rest to Danny.
New kit. No furore?
We live in strange times. 2016 has been rotten and odd in equal measures. The abnormal is rapidly becoming the normal. But nothing is stranger than what occurred at 9:00am on Friday.
City’s new kit was unveiled and… get this… people liked it!
Okay, some may have questioned the size of the Aviva Community Fund logo and I heard a peep or two about the collar being of a slightly odd cut but on the whole it was a veritable triumph, particularly compared to the meltdown that followed the launch of the ‘half and half with odd yellow box’ vintage.
To the unqualified eye it looks like a nice, simple design that will encourage people to buy and wear the shirt. To the professional however it’s “a combination of historical kits from the Club’s history mixed with a modern flair”. It’s also a “lifestyle kit which has a complete look… and has a modern, stylish and retro feel”.
So now you know.
(Don’t ) move Klose…
I’m still of the opinion that, regrettably, we won’t have the services of Timm Klose to call upon when the season kicks off but with every passing day said Swiss international seems to further endear himself to Norfolk and its people.
Those of an age who can frequent Snapchat without fear of ridicule and embarrassment inform me that Master Klose is an avid ‘chatter’ who regularly engages with his public, and everything points to him having fully embraced all that Norwich and Norfolk has to offer.
Whether that will be sufficient to keep him here when the big bucks come calling is a moot point for now but in addition to being a bloody good centre-back Klose is a character in a game that now actually has very few of them.
It’d be great if he hung around… on many levels.
“ON THE BALL CITY…”