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…”