Mothers’ Day is an imprecise event for me. Anything might happen, and quite often does.
Number one son and my daughter quite naturally spend some time with their mother if they can – but as one lives in Southsea and the other in the Romford area it isn’t always possible for them to get back to her house in Norwich for the event, but they try.
That still leaves plenty of scope for my partner’s sons and assorted others to descend upon us. We don’t always know who or when, just where. Here, of course, and it’s always good to see whoever turns up.
Some might even bring flowers, cards and chocolates. Others might bring the odd squabble with them. After all, it’s a family.
But my Mothers’ Day pales into total insignificance compared to the revolving door that has been installed at Carrow Road and will surely be used untiringly over the ensuing months.
The process has started and is so far looking pretty good from what limited information I can glean, which is no more or less than any of us once I’ve discounted the odd snippet of “maybe” I sometimes hear. The sources of “maybe” are usually totally unreliable anyway, which is why I very rarely quote them on MFW. Back to the process:
Stage one: The rather predictable appointment of Steve Stone looks safe and sound. While I’ve never met him, I have not heard a single negative from anywhere or anybody surrounding his elevation to managing director. And that’s how I like it.
Stage two: Sporting director. It appears highly likely from rumblings both here and in Yorkshire that Stuart Webber is on his way. Apart from a couple of message board gripes, everybody appears to see this as a positive move. I know I do.
To hark back to Gary’s piece, we should not expect David Wagner to accompany him south. What we can and must expect is that with his undeniable contacts and knowledge he will (help us) select…
Stage three: Head coach. This is the point at which supporters generally start to get considerably more interested in the selection process and its outcome. We do not want to be singing “Who needs Mourinho, we’ve got our physio” as the ill-fated Tranmere did several years ago. So, who do we want?
Well, Paul Heckingbottom is right up at the top of the bookies’ lists, of which I take less notice than some other supporters. My morning read suggests Uwe Rosler, and Ryan Giggs has been bandied about. The latter, I feel, is unlikely to happen for a couple of reasons but I could be wrong. I often am.
Throw in “those names who will not go away” (Nigel Pearson, Alan Pardew and obviously Alan Irvine himself) and my hastily-compiled six-person list is split equally between the old guard and the new generation. Three of each.
If Webber arrives, as we seem to expect him to, I think that discounts the old guard in its entirety. I am not sorry about that on a personal level to be honest.
Now, the juicy part.
Stage four: The players. Most of us have had a go at this conundrum for some weeks now. Let’s be fair, none of us knows who might be coming in, but there seems to be some consensus on who will be exiting the revolving door. I feel there will be more outs than ins this close-season.
For me, nailed on for the departure lounge are Michael Turner, Seb Bassong, Steven Whittaker, Kyle Lafferty and Youssouf Mulumbu. Apart from one stupendous season from Bassong and a wonderful assist at Wembley from Whittaker, all for various reasons have been abject failures we appear to have retained for misguided business reasons.
Finance may well dictate the futures of Timm Klose, Steven Naismith and John Ruddy. I wouldn’t be that sorry to lose any one of them to be honest; my worry would be how much would we get for the trio? Possibly less than for Rod, Jane and Freddy, I’m afraid.
Michael McGovern and Declan Rudd. They won’t both be here next season in my opinion. Nor will Tony Andreu and Conor McGrandles.
My primitive arithmetic tells me that’s already double figures out of the equation, and in addition to that the Alex’s Pritchard and Tettey are by no means nailed on to stay either. Mitchell Dijks? Not a hope in Hades.
So when my Mothers’ Day door has revolved for the last time today I’ll spare a thought for the upcoming revamp at Carrow Road.
And doubtless be grateful I only have friends and family to deal with and not the running of a football club.
Our football club.
How about we keep the players we purchased and actually play them.
Why buy Naismith – a number 10 if ever there was one – and not play him there?
Why buy Klose and give him one comedy partner after another?
It’s no wonder these players are not playing to their potential and lack motivation to do so. We’ve been rewarding the failure of lesser team members for too long.
Clear out and build the team round the talent we’ve invested in, and our youth.
Cityfan, I disagree about Klose. When he arrived, the first thing I noticed was his lack of pace. He makes Gary Doherty look quick. It’s all very well looking cool and calm bringing the ball out of defence when the other team lets you. He was better suited to the Premier League where the opposition tends to sit off a bit to see what you are prepared to do. Not so the hurly burly of the Championship, where a bruising centre forward is happy to give you a whack for trying to be clever. Poor old Russell Martin has spent most of his time trying to cover for Klose’s potential mistakes and therefore taking some merciless abuse for finding himself caught out of position. Sell Klose and get a physically robust centre back and give Bennett the run of games he needs to finally establish himself.
Dave B says
John Ruddy is out of contract at the end of the season, with an option for an additional 1 year. So we’re not getting anything for him unless we extend his contract with the sole intention of then selling him.
Stewart Lewis says
I’m with Gordon on Klose.
He looked very accomplished in the Premier League (his injury at Palace may have been a decisive moment in the relegation picture), but has been a real disappointment this season. His personal performance at Hillsborough was shocking.
And – wait for it – I concur with Dave B about Ruddy. One of the grown-up things this season was Olsson agreeing to extend his contract, though he desperately wanted to go to the Premier League, so that we’d get a good fee for him.
Going back to the original article, it’s certainly an interesting time. Though fans will get more excited about the Head Coach appointment, it’s the Sporting Director who is pivotal. If it’s Stuart Webber, he’s a real talent-spotter: as well as bringing in Wagner, he was responsible for Huddersfield’s outstanding player recruitment last summer (including a couple of inspired loan signings).
So Martin’s Stages 3 and 4 are highly influenced by Stage 2.
martin penney says
Thanks for your comments on what’s been a quiet weekend for NCFC in many respects.
Firstly, re Klose: he seems an enigmatic character to me. Certainly not robust enough, but with somebody other than a “comedy partner” alongside him in the PL he could have been good value. Plenty of comedy partners have been recently available on demand: a good description of the situation.
He is obviously short of pace, but nonetheless not quite in the Ginger Pele mould, I feel.
As for “poor old Russell Martin”, I believe the word ‘poor’ is central to the phrase. Sell-by date well exceeded although he is a true gent, apparently happily settled in Norfolk with his family and may well prove an asset to the Club in some capacity in the future.
I left Ryan Bennett out of my assessment deliberately – he blows hot and cold and it’s up to whoever’s coming in to call it. He’s the original “Good Times Bad Times” as LZ would say.
martin penney says
#3 Dave B and #4 Stewart: The potential difference between the Martin Olsson situation (which was an adult compromise indeed) to that of John Ruddy is that we knew at least two PL clubs wanted Olsson. Would this be the case with John Ruddy?
Martin – agreed on Klose. I think he stopped playing for AN a long while back – and with a more robust centre half beside him might have been the brains to their brawn.
Stewart Lewis says
Martin #6: I believe there were enquiries (at least) for Ruddy in the last transfer windows.
Where I probably differ from Dave B is that I see Ruddy as possibly an important player for us next year. There’s a class goalkeeper there, even though we haven’t seen much of it for a year or two. But he was very good in January, and his one mistake at Hillsborough didn’t seem to me compelling reason to drop him.
Maybe, like some others, he’d respond to a different management style than AN’s.
Dave H says
Good interesting article, although there is one bit I take issue with – I can’t agree that Whittaker should be described as an abject failure. He’s a player we signed on a free & was the first choice fullback for a promotion season. Those facts in themselves would indicate he was at least a useful signing. I personally wouldn’t have kept him this season as I would have preferred to use Godfrey/Toffolo as our 3rd choice full back on each side but I feel the reaction he gets from people is unwarranted.
Similarly, I’m not a fan of Bassong, but with a player of the season award & important role in a promotion campaign, again I can’t see how he can be described as an abject failure. It does however describe Lafferty & Mulumbu very well!
Please, please don’t even think about Prichard moving on.
This boy is a true talent, could be a major player for us, in the way Wes has been. We just need a coach who shows some faith in him
One of the worst things AN did is the way he treated him, and his own signing at that. Man of the match one week, dropped the next.
He deserved the sack!
martin penney says
#7 Cityfan: I agree. Others didn’t seem to want to play for AN either. There’s an outside chance he (Klose) might yet be with us next season… this really is a wait and see situation.
#8 Stewart: Fair points. I just think a change of Club might benefit him as well as us – he has several playing years left in him after all. To me he’s never been the same since that injury when he was at the top of his game.
#9 Dave H: Thanks. Maybe Whittaker became more of a scapegoat than a failure. He never gave less than his best – even in the Brentford midfield debacle – agreed.
I (as you) acknowledged Bassong’s outstanding season. So “abject” is a bit too strong a word I suppose. I simply haven’t seen enough of Godfrey or Toffolo to properly judge them, but surely they are the future even if not the present.
Stewart Lewis says
Dave H #9: Agreed about Whittaker. Model pro, always ready to come in and do his best – in a variety of positions – when called on.
Bassong is more problematic. We shouldn’t forget his excellent first season, but since then he’s earned an awful lot of money from NCFC without giving much value in return.
Martin, I feel that the time has come where the squad will naturally break up. Exceptions will be Ruddy and Martin who as you’ve said are settled in the area. Actually I believe Martin will be around long enough to break Bowens International Caps record. That will be some feat should it happen.
I’m behind the guy, in fact anyone who wears the yellow and green.
martin penney says
#13 Strangeways: yes, I agree. Mark Bowen is my all-time NCFC player btw; I was LB for most of my playing time, it’s an area I tend to study and only Martin Olsson and Adam Drury come anywhere near him.
“You’ll never beat Mark Bowen”… 🙂
Dave H says
Martin – Mark Bowen was always my favourite player for the same reason! Agreed on Olsson & Drury. I can only assume Derveld was just outside your top 3…
Stewart (12) – You could make the case he provided some value when we got promoted again with Neil but I wouldn’t do it too strongly as I’m pretty much in agreement with you.