Next up for City are Bolton Wanderers, so as usual MFW could once again only turn to the Bolton born and bred Tim Sheppard – as in City’s long-standing physio legend, Hall of Famer and supporter of both the Canaries and the Trotters in equal measures. And the only physio in my knowledge to have received a testimonial – featuring my beloved Celtic. A great night.
As my back has been causing me problems for some time I thought I’d get Tim to evaluate the situation as well as discussing Saturday’s fixture, so off went Mrs P and I to speak with him at his premises within the Global Clinic at, appropriately, Colney.
After an excellent analytical session on my back and some very pertinent advice about my lifestyle choices from Tim, including some exercises (one of which involves me holding my stomach in at every lamp-post I pass – very easy while walking a male terrier – plenty of opportunities!) and other things I should do to improve my lot in life we had a chat about the Trotters.
Their close-season turnover of playing staff was colossal:
Ins: Jason Lowe (Birmingham, free), Erhun Oztumer (Walsall, free), Clayton Donaldson (Sheffield United, free), Pawel Olkowski Cologne, free), Yanic Wildschut (Norwich, loan), Marc Wilson (Sunderland, free), Josh Magennis (Charlton, undisclosed), Jack Hobbs (Nottingham Forest, free), Luke Murphy (Leeds, free), Gary O’Neil (Bristol City, free). And of course Remi Matthews (loan with view to purchase).
Outs: Derik Osede, Dorian Dervite, Jem Karacan, Jan Kirchhoff, Chinedu Obasi (all released), Ben Amos (Millwall, loan), Chris Taylor (Blackpool, free), Mark Howard (Blackpool, free), Jeff King (St Mirren, free), Aaron Wilbraham (Rochdale, free), Darren Pratley (Charlton, free), Filipe Morais (Crawley, free).
So what does Tim make of that? Every single Bolton recruit is a free or a loanee. Not easy for any manager.
Phil Parkinson is doing a very good job – a sterling effort – but he is basically hamstrung by financial restrictions. I’d be surprised if any wealthy person from the USA or, say, an Arab nation would take us on as things stand.
But you started off like the proverbial rocket?
We had a great win over WBA and a couple of others at the start of the season. Obviously, it’s tailed off from there.
So how do you see Bolton’s future?
They’re not where I’d like them to be. I want them to back at the highest level. And with some individual investment, there’s no reason why they can’t.
Tim missed the corresponding fixture last season as he was on holiday abroad (he didn’t miss much as we all know, Norwich and Bolton supporters alike). I asked him if he was going this time around.
Yes, I’ll be in the front row of the Directors Box and I’ll be wearing my flat cap!
Now I occasionally wear my very own flat cap in the Barclay but that’s something else. Respect. Tim has a very dry sense of humour but I’ll believe him!
And we cannot end without one of Tim’s anecdotes – this one was volunteered rather than asked for.
I’m a member of the IWTC.
So what in the name of the good Lord is that then?
It’s the I Was There Club. After our Inter Milan UEFA Cup ties, we formed it and meet up about three or four times a year. We talk about all things Norwich City and I’m looking forward to our 25th-anniversary dinner.
So what’s the score going to be on Saturday?
2-0 to Norwich City.
Many thanks to Tim for his treatment, advice and his time. And to Sue for taking the picture.
So, here we go again. This is something we could all get used to, although there’s a little bit of the Norwich supporter in us all who’s expecting it all to turn to rat $hit at any given moment. Except in reality, there does feel something special about this particular campaign and, as Michael Bailey says in his EDP column, “this might not be your average Norwich City season.”
Penney predicts: We seem to have found a way of getting at the “lower echelons” so I’m going 2-0 City.
Andy assumes: Norwich are flying, Bolton wobbling. We’re due an early goal which would open the game up and then I smell a thumping. 6-2 City. #Thisdefinitelywontcomebacktobiteme
Gaz guesses: Am braced for another goalless first half (kicking toward the River End of course) but am confident we’ll have enough to cruise past a stubborn, hard-working Bolton. 3-0 City.
Cookie concludes: There are bound to be hiccups along the way, but it’s a brave person who goes against City right now. City 3 – Bolton 1.
Stew suspects: If we can beat Rotherham, we can beat Bolton. Hopefully won’t leave it all till the second half. 2-0 City.
The “oppo”: It’s got to be 2-0 City. It’s sheer logic.
Siri says: City 4 – Bolton 2