Flat caps, whippets, ferrets, Geoffrey Boycott. All slightly ridiculous clichés I know. But if you add in the weather conditions and the fact that we were battered like a piece of Harry Ramsden haddock by a very physical Rotherham side but could never quite be dipped into the fryer, you’ll know what I’m on about.
A resilient performance indeed. And we had several chances to score more.
Yorkshire was EFL Championship central on Saturday.
Quest TV, guest Michael Brown and the admirable Colin Murray devoted (I guess) around 20 minutes to the Yorkshire derby and less than two minutes to Rotherham and ourselves.
Maybe we’re slipping under the radar again? Only jesting, of course, we’re not and no real complaints with Quest. They had to ostensibly show their gratitude to a club that quite literally hosted them all day so fair play to all concerned.
We battled as well as showing all the skills we possess when we could. Yet another fine performance, three more points and an all-round excellent achievement. For any required confirmation of that just look at Ben Godfrey’s face after he restored our lead. And the site of Godfrey, Christoph Zimmermann and Tim Klose’s huddle together shortly after the final whistle was truly inspiring.
Our lot are in it to win it but in one sense I care little for that. We are now five points clear of third. As much as I’d love to win the thing, second place and promotion is all that matters to me right now. We don’t deserve to be reduced to the playoffs or indeed runners-up but I’d bite your proverbial hand off for that second spot right now.
Maybe some folks might reckon that the international break is a pain in the derriere. In many ways it is. The word frustration comes to mind, especially if you have to conjure up a fresh Norwich City article during it for MFW!
But you do get the feeling that a few of our squad could do with chilling for a while as one or two are looking a bit leggy.
In the words of Daniel Farke: “We’ll use the international break to calm everything down and take a break (both) mentally and physically.
“I’m not concerned and we’re enjoying our football”.
I’m going to save my views on our remaining fixtures for a future article during said break but for now: let’s get our young soldiers safely back from their well-merited call-ups. The triumvirate of Godfrey, Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis are crucial to the way we play and how effective we are at Farkeball.
Happy returns to all of ours who are “away” for a while.
So right now despite my complaints concerning the international break us NCFC supporters have the perfect “fortnight off”. Top of the league, five points clear of third and (no I’m not talking it up) pretty much a fully-fit squad. Jeez, there was no room for Alex Tettey on the bench at the New York Stadium.
Of course, the weather should be less wild and windy in two weeks’ time which can only work in our favour.
Hang on – the next one’s Boro away and it’s like the Arctic up there even in July. 🙂
Oh, and we have a management team which has just signed up until 2022 of course.
And then there’s that gap to Paul Lambert’s draw specialists. 54 plus goal difference now but it would be too cruel to mention it… so I won’t.
Let’s take a leaf from Farke’s book and collectively enjoy the next couple of weeks.
I apologise to all native Yorkshiremen for the opening paragraph. While I own and occasionally wear a flat cap, I appreciate that the vast majority of you probably don’t.
All three of our sides deserve to go up together and I really hope it pans out that way. It would if there were any justice in the football world.
Time for yet another prayer to the Football Gods.
Well Martin, that’s another tough hurdle overcome in our quest to ‘dine at the top table’ and as you said in your article, all three sides currently in the top 3 deserve to be promoted – especially considering the current gap to 4th and the veritable ‘chasm’ to 7th!!!.
Good to see McLean silence his critics (myself included) with a well taken goal and an assist. If Pukki’s radar hadn’t been slightly off, we could easily have scored another 2 goals at least, but as we all know, what REALLY matters is battling it out for 3 points and boy did the players stand ‘toe to toe’ with their opponents.
We have NO easy games left and the two Yorkshire teams in 2nd and 3rd seem intent on keeping the pressure on us to the very end.
Having said that however, I still think we can have automatic promotion guaranteed IF we win on Easter Monday at the Bet 365 and it will be a few days short of 8 years since Jackson’s hat trick against Derby when ‘Neeyul’l along with many thousands of Canaries’ fans went berserk.
martin penney says
You’re on the money when you say there are no easy games left. Two or three that look easy on paper maybe but football isn’t played on paper as we know.
This season has certainly given rise to a pair of really dogged Yorkshire Terriers in Leeds and Sheff United. Just like the real-life terriers, neither will be giving up.
I was right behind the Barclay goal (I always am) for the Jackson winner against Derby and, oh yes indeed, the whole place went ape$hit.
Made all the sweeter by the instant karma dished out to Robbie Savage of course!
Thanks as always.
Morning again Mr P, I have this lovely Lady photographer friend from just outside Leeds, a lady who suffers badly with MS, I keep thanking her for keeping the seat warm when they go past us for a few hours . She agreed with me that Leeds should have had that game wrapped up before half time. I managed to get to watch the whole game, very unusual in this house.
She is fearful they are going to implode and miss Auto, as do several of Elland Rd seat warmers. I would rather see them go up with us (in second) ala 2009/2010. I agree they deserve it as much as we do, some of their football is akin to ours, I can easily overlook spygate, I do not see any advantage they gained from it.
I said in Mr G comments yesterday, I feel we need to drop no more than 4 points, Sheffield can amass a total of 98, Leeds 97 while we can reach triple figures 102. Current form points to us and Sheff Utd both having not lost any of the last 5 their only blip was a draw with neighbours Sheff W, while Leeds have lost two.
I will take our position any day, I reckon anyone of the other two would right now pay a very handsome amount to swop places.
Get the bicycle clips out, grab a bash hat and enjoy the downhill ride, it is going to fast, furious and hopefully fun to the tape, with everyone at all three clubs praying for the others to slip up.
While all games are tough, ours incluse Bro, Stoke and Vanilla which do worry me a little more, many have said our run in is good, I would take whinging Wilder’s games they have to visit Preston & Stoke; while the rest , can’t see them having too many problems. Leeds have Preston, Brentford and Vanilla . It really is the case of head down concentrate on ourselves.
I cannot say I like these breaks one bit, only good thing England are perhaps worth watching a little more now, than a couple of seasons ago. Teemu could have done with a rest, but hopefully the radar will click while away, the guy is superbly fit as is the squad, The younger players who are on could have done with a little time to recharge. I recall the moans, groans and questions , at the start of this incredible season, who the hell is Emi Buendía, Pukki, O yea, the flop on UK soil., the seemingly mad move to play young Max in a derby. Now look Klose, Hanly Tetty and Rhodes cannot get a look in , all three experienced players .
Wow what a season…far better than anyone could imagine. Oiling the wheels & pedals of the bike,
martin penney says
Hi lad – there are some wise words in that comment.
First and foremost MS can be incredibly debilitating and if your photographer friend can get to and enjoy games that is fantastic in itself.
While Leeds are far more likely to implode than the Widermen we cannot bank on it. To me, Daniel Farke reminds me of the old swan adage as in elegant and graceful above the waterline but doubtless paddling big time with the feet below it.
Marcelo Bielsa has his own version of Farke’s class in his own different way, Spygate (which was really nothing) aside, I’ve a lot of time for the man.
As for Mr Wilder, while my appreciation of his persona is not positive nobody can say he has not got his team to play out of their skins. And they continue to do so.
That’s why I genuinely feel these are the three Clubs who deserve promotion.
And as for what’s watched at home, I’m lucky Mrs P enjoys football too.
She can get a bit cacked off about my love of Rugby but I can always pass her the newspaper and hope for the best…
Thanks a lot.
Alex B says
England men struggle to draw with Scotland after leading 31 – 0 at half time to finish 38 all.
England Women struggle to 30 nil at half time against Scotland and finish winning 80 Nil
Power to the Ladies Team
martin penney says
Agreed Alex but I won’t deny Wales cos they deserved it.
Graham who sits immediately behind me in the Barclay is a big Tigers fan while I’m of the Quins persuasion.
This season has been so exhilarating we’ve rarely exchanged a word about the oval ball:-)
Bernie owen says
Martin, you didn’t have to mention the gap, but if the gap was a team 54 points would have the gap 3 points from the playoffs with 8 games left
martin penney says
Blimey Bernie – original use of stats there – and very true.
If I had any sympathy for them I’d disclose it but unfortunately I don’t.
Don Harold says
martin penney says
Yeah and we’re gonna do it.
Having been there myself in a past life I feel sorry for Archant’s Michael Bailey, seated in the Millers’ press box having to put up with eejit comments from close range.
He handled it very well.
And if that’s my only concern…
Thanks Don. OTBC.
Alex B says
A good read
Warne has started to build a good strong team at Rotherham that if lucky enought to survive this season could well become a championship regular again and now this game us out of the way I wsh him all the best and hope city can help them stay up.
The next game at Middlesbrough will as all mention another tough nut to crack but are we seeing them start to fall apart and suspension could be there down fall.
Pulis has not be quite the same since his long term No2 retired a couple of years ago and Megson took that roll while at WBA and now the rumours are he wants to move back south to be bearer his family so not all settled on the management front there.
The 3 toughest games as mentioned Middlesbrough, Stoke and Villa.
Middlesbrough looking at their points and position they are scrapping to finish in the playoffs and can’t afford to many more slip ups.
Stokes season could be over in by the time we play them if they don’t win all the games there playoffs hopes could be over.
Villa this will be an interesting away game city should gave secured promotion and just maybe Villa will have secured a playoff place so it all could come down to final postions could this game make city champions and will villa get a etter draw in the playoffs only time will tell.
It was reported that Rotheram supporters were chanting you will come straight down if that is the case so be it but at least we will have the chance of stay in the Premiership.
Onwards and upwards
martin penney says
I think many of us want Rotherham to stay up – admittedly mainly because of Paul Warne’s local connections plus they are truly a community club like ourselves.
I love your comments on the play-off chasing teams: I might even nick one or two of them for a soon-come MFW article – acknowledged of course.
And as for the Rotherham chants at us it’s purely jealousy and should be treated us such.
“You have to live here we’re now going home” (which I’ve sanitised for obvious reasons) was our gang’s perfect response.
It’s what fans do when they know they’re in the mire – introduce abuse. We’ve done it too in the past but we’ve a little more subtlety as in: “Oh Sammy Clingan it could’ve been you”.
However for the sake of Warney and his team I hope they stay up.
Thanks as ever.
Alex B says
Not a problem just get my crappy grammar right
martin penney says
Nothing wrong with the grammar in the bits I’m going to use:-)
Colin M says
I loved Quest’s brief encounter at the weekend. Colin Murray is a top bloke I reckon but quite happy with this under the radar bit. I work away from Norfolk and my girls are in London’s West End. We all find any mention of Norwich is usually met with, ” Oh, you are a Canary then” followed by a “how are they doing this season then? It’s always been that way and I we love it.
FORM GUIDE FROM GAME 7 AFTER THE DRAW AT PORTMAN ROAD IN EARLY SEPTEMBER.
# Club P W D L Goals +/- Pts
1 Norwich City 32 22 7 3 68:36 32 73
2 Sheffield Uni 32 18 8 6 52:26 26 62
3 Leeds Unite 32 18 5 9 49:35 14 59
4 West Brom 32 16 9 7 57:39 18 57
5 Preston N E 32 14 10 8 53:41 12 52
6 Aston Villa 32 12 12 8 57:43 14 48
We are going up, 5 points from first 6 games then 73 from the next 32. This is no lucky team, (we’ve missed 6 pens), we are just better than all the other teams. There’s a race for 2nd place but we’re not in it. I honestly believe we will be champions but likewise Martin…………… top two will do!
NB: Never apologise to a Yorkshireman. and to guarantee no ‘Likes’
‘Sir’ Geoffrey Boycott is my sporting hero (followed by Henry Cooper).
martin penney says
I had exactly the same experience as you when I worked away. I invariably wore a small City badge on my lapel and it’s incredible how many people, even those who are not football fans, recognise it. My son works in Portsmouth and would agree that the first link people make with Norwich is the football club, often backed up with references to Delia.
Your statistics are impressive indeed – I hadn’t seen those before.
I agree with you about our ‘Enry. Britain’s best as far as anyone who can remember seeing him fight would surely say. One of his regular cornermen helped my Dad (an amateur middleweight himself) build our conservatory. There was a signed picture donated by Henry but it’s become irrevocably lost in the mists of time.
Entertaining stuff Martin and also the comments.
I’m a traditional Norwich worrier. If I had spent all the time I’ve spent in my life concerning myself with things that never transpired thinking instead some beautiful thoughts I would be a wiser man today,
With that firmly in mind, the build up to Saturday’s game was spent reading about how Rotherham were such a tough nut to crack and listening to countless city sufferers in 101 city themed conversations confirming that we were in for a hell of a hard time in the teeth of a gale with rain, snow, hail etc and 7ft. Tall defenders kicking everything that moved. By 3 pm Saturday, having watched the Royston vasey Derby finish Unhelpfully in an away win I had built Rotherham United to Herculean proportions. Bloody Rotherham.
For most of the first half finger nails and expletives alike flew liberally across the living room as we succumbed to the expected hoof and hump. Until Lenny McLean stepped forward with a great piece of opportunism to prose the lead on the stroke of half time. McLean may lack the polish of Vrancic and Leitner, most players do, but he is a very effective player and has had a positive productive spell since filling in for a depleted midfield.
His continued presence ahead of the aforementioned precision instruments has puzzled many, including myself, but his crossing ability, his hard running and his finishing are all above reproach.
Perhaps his continued inclusion is a nod to a more pragmatic results driven ethos by DF, who sees much benefit in a slightly more blunt instrument to accrue the results needed.
The equaliser, when it came, was out of the blue, seemingly at a time we were looking to get a second on the break and kill off the hosts. Having seen it on tv, it looked another soft effort, which should have been stifled in its conception or smothered before it reached our box.
As gloom descended again a new friend entered the fray. Step forward centre half thumping header from corner. As at millwall, a great delivery. A good run and firm headed finish put us clear after a cheap concession. To have this weapon in our Arsenal is indeed welcome, as it has been a sore point for many seasons that we fail to convert the expected percentage of our corner kicks. The pressure relief they bring is there for all to see and they are a cheap source of goals.
Full credit to the 14 men in action that they stood up to the unpleasant conditions and the attempts by such limited opposition, apparently instructed to batter our players by a City fan!
Regarding the berk seated behind Messrs rivers and goreham, he tested my patience once too often during the second half and I called him some choice names which even in my Norvicensian drawl would have been clearly understood.
martin penney says
Great stuff Chris.
I worry like hell too. Always have done, always will.
McLean is currently there on merit and will take some shifting especially as no-one can accuse Farke of being a tinkerman. At least not in the sense of changing a winning team, anyway.
Many teams in the Championship would like the luxury of Leitner, Vrancic, Hanley, Klose and Rhodes on the bench. Alex Tettey didn’t even make that cut!
McLean and Buendia certainly know how to deliver a corner.
Thanks for your use of the word Norvicensian. I enjoyed that!
Good stuff as always Mr P.
I’m pretty sure that most of us would have settled for Saturday’s result before kick-off, it’s just a shame that the earlier game also finished in an away win!
So, eight to go, and given that we’ve only lost 6 in 36, surely we cannot implode at this stage?
Boro will be tough as they are a wounded beast, but somehow Farke and his men always seem to find a way. Win there and it really will be tough for the Yorkshire men to overhaul us.
Let’s hope that all our men return from international duty unscathed for what will be a memorable run-in.
O T B C
P.S. I’ll take second at this stage too, but wouldn’t like to come up against either Villa or West Brom in the play-offs!
martin penney says
These call-ups are a double-edged sword in that it’s fantastic for the player (especially Aarons and Godfrey for whom it’s the first recognition in their current age group).
However as you say, its the returning unscathed that is required. And prayed for!
I’ve got a couple of Boro mates and one reckons Pulisball has lost its charm to such a degree that if we get on top their support might turn even though they’re still in with a cracking chance of the play offs, which unfortunately we will not be available to take part in (I hope like hell!)
Thank as ever.