That City’s ‘friendly’ with Rubin Kazan yesterday was anything but has to be a good thing. After having ploughed though the 3-1 defeat v FK Dukla Prague via the Czech club’s YouTube stream it was clear that the exercise was understandably still about fitness, sharpness and a chance to offer the floor to a predominantly young squad.
Yesterday was different and represented a significant step up in intensity, and with the big KO just a fortnight away was just what Doctor Alex ordered.
He certainly wouldn’t have ordered a red for Michael Turner, which must be almost unprecedented in a friendly, but he would have approved of a level of competitiveness that by the sound of it wouldn’t have been out of place in the Championship.
A 2-1 win against a side who compete in the Champions League is not to be sniffed at but it was by all accounts against largely a second XI and so while the 3-1 defeat by the Czechs was meaningless in the greater scheme of things, so too was yesterday’s victory.
It was about cranking it up a notch or two and that regard it certainly sounds like a box ticked. The boss sounded happy and that’s good enough for me.
McGovern or Ruddy?
The midweek arrival of Northern Ireland’s Euros hero, Michael McGovern is an intriguing one. There were rumours abound in the days that followed the Ulstermen’s exit from France 2016 but in truth I’d perceived them as nothing more than a 2+2=5 due to his time at Hamilton Accies.
Rumours that he was attracting Premier League interest were, to me at least, confirmation of the City link being nothing more than idle journalism. Not for the first time I was completely wrong.
Now with a three-year Norwich City contract tucked in his glove bag, McGovern is certainly not here to make up the numbers. At 32 years old and fresh from the month of his professional life it’s hard to imagine him signing up to a season on the bench, and so what unfolds over the next few weeks will be a sub-plot all of its own.
Already Remi Matthews has been sent in the opposite direction for a season but that still leaves John Ruddy and Declan Rudd to arm wrestle McGovern for the jersey. In the next few weeks something, or someone, has to give.
Right now your guess is as good as mine.
What price McCormack?
I’ve steered deliberately clear of the Ross McCormack speculation until now. As someone remarked on Twitter in the week, there was something very “un-Norwich” about being in the box seat for one who is approaching 30, who is known as a poacher rather than a worker and who would cost well into eight figures.
And with Newcastle too being linked to the Fulham striker it appeared almost a given that Rafa’s bottomless pit of readies would win the day yet again; Mike Ashley clearly opting on this occasion to pay above the minimum wage in order to bully his way out of the Championship.
Yet after chatting to Robin (Sainty) in midweek I was pointed me in the direction of the odds and sure enough, there for all to see, Master McCormack is heavily odds-on to be Norfolk bound.
Of course, as ever, it could simply be the odds reflecting a couple of sizeable, speculative bets or else there really is something in one of unlikeliest rumours of the summer so far.
All will of course be revealed in the next few weeks, and I suspect from City’s angle it will require the departure of Robbie Brady to fund such a purchase, but don’t be surprised if at the final countdown we’re gazumped by an eleventh hour bid from the North-East.
Now that would be Norwich-like.
Egg and cress anyone?
Roll the clock back one year and ‘Errea’ was being considered for the Urban Dictionary.
1. Something disgusting and inducing vomit.
2. A word people use when someone is really, truly, genuinely ugly.
Yet as we prepare for 2016/17 the Italian kitsters have found redemption.
First we had the home kit, a natty, simple yet sophisticated little number that has “a modern, stylish and retro feel”, a week later followed by an equally stylish black away kit that possesses “a strong 70s and 80s Italian feel”.
So far so good. Universal approval. The natives anything but restless.
But did they leave it there? On no, not Errea in combo with City’s retail team. They’ve only gone and trumped it. City’s third kit, which in truth only officially needs an outing at Burton away, was unleashed on Friday and pays homage to the famous ‘bird poo’ monstrosity that coincided with City’s finest hour (well, about 16 months).
This time the background is white but the seemingly random flecks (should be Flecks™) are unmistakable and the fact that no-one outside of Norwich City gets it makes it even better; derision on a national scale is something we’re more than comfortable with.
So, good work to all those involved and in case you were wondering “the new crest has added that ‘up-to-date’ feel to the classic-looking third shirt”
Now you know.
“On the Ball City…”
Essentially, he gave the youth a chance early on in preseason and then decided it was time to revert to type and continue to plough on with the senior failures instead. I’ve had nothing but love for Neil, but his stubborn nature to persist with players like ruddy will be the end of him. This was his chance to get supporters back on side by getting rid of the dross, but we all knew changes were never likely…but the same old rhetoric about “doing our best to get deals over the line” always was. Hollow words and even more hollow action. Whoever comes in, I can put money on the fact he won’t solve the problematic centre back area because he has wasters like martin and bassong as ‘cover’. Some cover. Lambert, please stay job free now Bowkett and McNally are gone and bring back some fun instead of this extended and hideously boring hughton era.
“Mike Ashley for once opting to pay above the minimum wage” I had to laugh.
Good stuff Gary. On the McCormack rumours l can’t say l’m terribly excited. Over £10m for a 30 year old who’ll no doubt want a 3 year contract wld be too much of a financial gamble for me. We know how it went last time. Young & hungry for me.
If nothing else the 3rd kit has raised our profile.
David Bowen says
I like bird poo, so there!!!!
Why would McCormack come to you only for the money not your playing style a boring football team with a boring set of supporters who only have one song
Gary Gowers says
Ant – succinctly put. I’ll give you that.
Cosmo P. says
Jeff(1) – not everything is tickety-boo at the club but by God I hope you are in a tiny minority of perpetual whiners who see nothing but the worst and cannot raise any note of positivity heading into a new season. As for wanting Lambo back – desperate retrograde stuff. “The past is just history.”
Ant(5) – sounds like a case-full of sour grapes emanating from someone consigned to see their club marooned in the nether regions of the league for many years to come. I’d have thought you’d have wished your striker all the best after busting his nut in your cause under a series of feckless managers.
el dingo says
Good article indeed. My view has always been “wait and see” but we are running out of time. I do not want to chuck that sort of money at McCormack.
My major question is: are AN’s hands free or are they tied? Or more realistically, to what degree are they tied? Jeff (1) does have a point – many of us are sick of the vacillation from the Board that emenates from the Owners and there is – there really is – a groundswell of popular opinion that they simply DO NOT WANT us to be PL. And that, imo, would be unforgiveable were it to be true.
Oh well, as the MFW writers often say, “What Do I Know”? But we all have our suspicions, don’t we guys?
Think ant needs an enema.
Gary Field says
@1 – Jeff, you’re beginning to sound like a broken record. Either you don’t understand that the majority of the the players to which you refer are under contracts, which can’t just be ripped up in order to move player on, or you’re more savvy than your posts imply and on one big wind up? Which one is it?
If the oldest football song in the world belongs to you, one is all you need.
8) Take your crazy theories back to the Pink’Un where they belong El Dingo
Kevin Gathergood says
Aha…all these years wondering why some players didn’t want to join us. Now i know it’s because we have one song….learn something everyday.
Stewart Lewis says
No idea whether McCormack will be Carrow Road bound or not. But it seems a possibility.
No surprise to hear opposition fans carping about it, but the reaction from (at least some) of our fans is staggering.
There’s been reasonable criticism of our Board for under-spending (last Summer) or spending on strikers with no record in the League we’re in (RvW, Hooper, Lafferty). Now we’re apparently prepared to pay the hefty but necessary price for someone who’s scored 66 Championship goals in the past three seasons.
Surely that’s the piece of the jigsaw we need? I’d celebrate his arrival loudly.
El dingos theory isn’t as crazy as one might think. A large percentage of the premier league money goes not to the clubs, but to players and agents. The stress, hassle and responsibility of operating in the top flight might not be to everybody’s taste. This season will go a long way to prove or allay the fears he mentions. After four of the last 5 seasons in the premier league, a sell out stadium for longer than that and the Redmond cheque banked the level of expenditure stinks of lacking ambition. I’m not alone in hoping that if the smith family deliver us a poor season this year that it will be their last.
Were it not for the Smith family are highest ambition would be to get out of League 2 because that’s where Chase’s legacy would have left us.
Enough conspiracies. There are other message boards for those.
el dingo says
Cityfan (12): this is a fantastic site where the articles are invariably quality and posters treat each other with respect. Please don’t drag it down to the level of any other site you might mention. Your emoticon gives you away. Apologies to the site for this comment but I find MFW the perfect antidote to a different site which is not a direct rival anyway. I have always posted on here with respect to the writers and respondees and suggest you do the same.
Chris (15): Thanks for that – I wasn’t trying to be “crazy”, but merely realistic. The thing I like about MFW is that while the authors are generally “well onside” with the Club they present their arguments so well I enjoy reading what I might not always agree with. It’s called style and I respect them for it.
Well said El Dingo, some people simply can’t face the fact that somebody can have a different opinion, debate and exchange of views is healthy and there is much to criticise about the governance of the club at the moment. Chase is an irrelevance, he was twenty years ago, it’s akin to blaming Thatcher for today’s problems.
The emoticon was a mistake when trying to put in an 8 and a ). Really not trying to drag anything down – simply pointing out that endless conjecture and people suggesting the board don’t want PL football is, well, just conjecture. The whole ‘club’s a shambles’ etc belongs on another board. As does the time-honoured defence of ‘not being allowed to have an opinion’. Opinions are opinions – suggesting the board doesn’t want PL football is not an opinion.
We used to have such nice debates on this board until the ‘Shambles!’ Brigade arrived. Over and out.
Stewart Lewis says
el dingo (8): I don’t believe your theory to be true, but you’ve every right to argue it.
Given that the Board was desperate for Alex Neil to stay, it’s fair to think he had a strong negotiating position in May/June. Even if it wasn’t true before, the squad is now being shaped (as far as finances allow) in his image, to his specifications.
Stewart (14), This is very unlike Norwich if the rumours are true about McCormack etc. 10M for a player who is 30 next month is a lot of cash plus high wages of at least 30k a week would mean an outlay on a three year contract of over 14M plus bonuses. A big gamble that is great in you get promoted but with little value the other way in two years time when you would want to give him away to get him off the wage bill. His record speaks for itself but why did you not sign him last summer when you needed a striker?
el dingo says
Cityfan (19): decent response and I’m cool with it.
Stewart (20): I’ve no idea if it’s true or not it’s just there’s a lot of talk around it just now – I hope I’m wrong too for what it’s worth!
Good that everyone stays civilised on this site – less than a fortnight to the big KO:-)
Stewart Lewis says
Hi Mick (21). I suspect the reason we’re targeting McCormack now is that he’s a proven goalscorer in the Championship, but not the Premier League.
Agree with you – there’s a first, perhaps – that he’d be a gamble and a short-term investment at this stage. However, that’s arguably the exact thing Norwich need to do.
We have to get back to the PL, where (as you’ll be aware) the financial rewards are now astronomical. We have a strong squad for a promotion challenge, with one gap: a proven striker. McCormack, with 116 Championship goals including 66 in the last three seasons, is as close as you’ll get to a guaranteed goalscorer at this level.
With Timm Klose committing himself to the Canaries for the forthcoming season, McCormack would be the final piece in the jigsaw. Worth pushing the boat out for – City fans would be rightly excited if he comes to us.
Cosmo P. says
Mick(21) – I’m sure Stewart can talk for himself, so I’ll just say every club has different targets each season – I’m sure your beloved Watford are the same (via the Pozzo’s Italian-Spanish network mainly).
If the ex-Watford manager (a rapidly expanding group)is willing to let his prize asset go to us or anyone else, then more fool him..but I hope he does.
I’m still waiting for details from you of a Watford website where I can make a ‘contribution’.
Cosmo, Do you want to go through your predictions from last season which meant you fell flat on your face!
Stewart, I too agree it is worth taking but miffed that this sort of investment and more was not taken in your striking department last season when as I pointed out that your existing strikers had failed before in the prem.
Cosmo P. says
Mick(25) – I never claimed Mystic Meg powers – but what’s that got to do with the points I made in #24?!
Good luck with the notoriously difficult 2nd season back in the PL.
I’ll look up the Watford website myself then.