Those who know me will tell you I’m a sucker for an underdog. ‘Empathy’ could be my middle name and I know for a fact that I take it way too far.
In the odd moment of extreme weakness, I’ve even expressed begrudging sympathy for that stubborn, erratic-with-the-truth, vicar’s daughter who was charged (or perhaps should be charged) with delivering the fantasy that is Brexit.
Crazy right? But that’s how low I can sink when feeling sorry for those who are under fire. Over the years, this has made for a tricky time and some difficult moments in my City supporting lifetime.
Among those who have had my (almost) full support – often undeserving – are Tim Sherwood, Jean Yves be Blassis (remember him?), Victor Segura, Mark Rivers and Steve Morison, all of whom incurred the wrath of the City faithful at some point of their time in the Fine City. Hell, I even felt a tinge of sympathy for the beleaguered Andy Hughes for a few fleeting seconds.
This unhealthy trait has naturally caused the odd verbal ruck over the years and has extended to managers too, with my support for one Chris Hughton lasting far longer than it should have done… although in my defence I did see the light before the board 🙂
Why am I sharing this now?
Well, over the season I found myself at odds with some very nice people who reside near me in the River End who share a different view to mine when it comes to one Marco Stiepermann. They’re entitled to theirs, I’m entitled to mine, but this is one player on whose merits we’re never destined to agree on.
They see a player who’s all arms and legs, who does everything too slowly, who gives the ball away and who frustrates the $hit of them.
I see one who’s integral to Farkeball, who intelligently occupies that crucial space betwixt midfield and Teemu Pukki, who chips in with his fair share of goals, has a sound technique and who is always looking to make things happen. And, to be fair, I also saw a half-decent player when he was filling in at left-back last season – a position that was clearly not his chosen one.
The Stieperdude, as our Martin P christened him, didn’t feature in the Barry Butler top three, nor did he make any representative XIs, and nor will he be filling too many column inches over the summer as, out of begrudging necessity, the national journos familiarise themselves with our heroes.
But, for me, he is the poster boy of Farkeball, and which is why I was elated at the news he’s here for three more years.
Hopefully, there are many more weird, crab-like goal celebrations to come.
? This man has a message for you all ⬇️ #ncfc pic.twitter.com/jhKVpzbAd1
— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) May 28, 2019
It’s not Frank Lampard’s fault that the media adore him in the way they do. He appears a nice enough chap, but the way he’s portrayed and fawned over by the MSM is nauseating.
That Villa were ultimately just a little too good for Derby must have been crushing for many in the Wembley press box, but at least they had the consolation of Dean Smith’s managerial assistant being one John Terry – who incidentally kept an unusually low(ish) profile for once.
The debate that ensued before and after around who we would have prefered to win was a bit futile because (a) we didn’t get to choose and (b) both sides have owners with deep pockets who will spend the summer expensively assembling a new-look squad.
As it transpired, Villa’s win and pending spending splurge has already convinced the bookies that they are better equipped than either Sheffield Utd or ourselves to survive next season, even though City beat them twice and finished 18 points ahead of them.
But hey, we expected this and this is only but the beginning, with the football guru that is Noel Gallagher also proudly announcing in the city over the weekend that us going back from whence we came is a mere formality.
Let them. While we know it’s going to be tough, we also know we are in safe hands and will be managed better than (in my view) at least half of the Premier League. And let them ignore the fact we play with such fluency and precision; something that has barely warranted a mention since promotion was confirmed.
Instead of the soundbites and snipes coming out of the MSM, I prefer to listen to those that emerge from closer to home. Like Mr Trybull telling the Hamburg Morning Post, ‘We did not go up to just take mobile phone pictures in the stadiums as tourists … we want to do it in our style, it can be a nice season for us.’
Well said, Tom. That’ll do for me.
Great read Mr G got to agree 101% on what you say. I really do rate our Stieperdude, he looks at times anything like a class footballer, but he is deceptive in what he does. (forgive the quirky celebrations) one goal he scored really stands out to me . against Hull down at the River End. he weaved past a couple outside the box, than around and through 3 more in the box, left one desperately trying to block laying flat out , before he gave Marshall n chance we carefully placed pile driver.
Surely those around must appreciated that awesome skill. ?
As you said you could see a player in there when playing way out of position, there were times his control and vision just stood out. He wasn’t a defender for sure but didn’t do too badly, better than some of the old names you mentioned.
I read another article earlier where Villa were tipped to have the beter season than any of the 3 promoted sides, by relying on sheer spending power. Earlier I read another by a writer (cough) who states Sheffield ‘s promotion was more impressive than that of Norwich or Villa, again linked with spending. Having us spending more than the Blades, but the figures used came from at least 2 seasons ago. No mention how little we spent since Farke has been here.
As we know figures of any kind can be juggled to suit your own views, but one set cannot, that the 5 points we won the League by . Sky can call Wilder whatever they want, — “Brilliant” I heard on their coverage of the PO final. Had poor old Frank done it, even Wilder would have been forgotten
The clincher for me in the article I read when some ‘lazy journos’ were tipping Villa to have more chance of staying up than us or the Blades, is because the owners ‘have deep pockets’ – didn’t do Fulham much good, did it???? They also cited Abraham being signed and I’m certain I’ve read that he’s definitely returning to Chelski, so where are their goals going to come from??
Yes, we beat them twice last season – did any other club achieve that feat?? Despite their wealth and spending power, I still fancy us to finish above them next season – as we have something money CAN’T buy – team spirit and togetherness!!!
Don Harold says
I thought you were meant to be a hard nosed news hound, not the yoghurt knitter you portray in the first part of this! As for Andy Hughes-he covered every blade of grass, always gave 100% and never hid when times were bad; unfortunately, he was a pretty useless footballer and it wasn’t his fault he kept getting picked, so I never dreamt of giving him a hard time.
Who wouldn’t love the Steiperdude? I also thought he filled in well at left back, but I couldn’t foresee the phenomenon he would become. When he said he was born to score goals I thought he was displaying the kind of irony that Germans are famous for.
The way I look at Villa is that they’ll need to spend about £60m just to be as good as they are now as their loan players return. I wish them well and really like Dean Smith; I guess the odds the bookies have given reflect the amount of people who are likely to bet on them rather than a comparative study of squads and performance.
It seems that there is a queue of people willing to pee on the chips of most clubs’ fans when their team gets promoted. As Norwich fans we’re more aware of this than most, but we’re in a position that 72 other league clubs will envy and I can’t wait for August.
Gary Gowers says
A ‘yoghurt knitter’ is a fairly apt description of yours truly, Don 😉
Colin M says
Spot on Gary.
Marco Stiepermann is some player and difficult to play against. Jordan Henderson and Crouchy are just two examples of players who some have ridiculed as being ‘awkward’ and look how good they’ve been.
Marco loves Norwich City and we love him. His unconventional style should cause some havoc in the prem for sure.
I’m loving Sky media getting all loved up about Villa, Shef Utd, Dean Smith, Chris Wilder, etc. I expect Sarri will quit and Frank will go to Stamford Bridge so they will be overjoyed. Daniel Farke will be happy to out of the spotlight as will his band of brothers almost unknown to the wider footballing world.
I’ve daughters’ that work in the West End entertainment industry and as lifelong Canary fans often have cause to make their allegiances known. It amazes them that so many people have no idea just where in the country Norwich is located so no wonder the media are not that engaged.
Nich Starling says
Nice quote from Trybull. I hope, in a similar style, our fans desist from purchasing 50:50 scarves. These scarves, mere mementos, would never be worn again, like Spanish style sombreros warn by tourists returning from the Costas in the 80’s, they smack of transient visits. Norwich fans should never buy those scarves, should aim to be a fixture if the PL for years to come, and emulate those teams with similar fan bases, whose fans wouldn’t be seen dead in a 50:50 scarf.
Gary Gowers says
Couldn’t agree more Nich … should be an unwritten rule that no-one goes near one. Nothing screams ‘Premier League tourist’ more than a half-and-half scarf!
martin penney says
I’m with you guys on that point.
Who in their right mind???
I lived on and off in Spain for a couple of years and never brought home a straw donkey, let alone one of Nich’s sombreros. If Mrs P ever acquired any castanets (which I doubt) she left them in Llucmajor.
Those scarves are ludicrous imo.
Agree with both Nich and Gary, big time..
Alex B says
An enjoyable read
It was good to see you soft spot didn’t go as far as Glen Roeder that would have been hard to take, Yes he had a brain operation and lots of clubs seem to rate him but the job he did at City can never be forgotten by a true supporter.
Onwards and Upwards
Stewart Lewis says
With you on Marco Stiepermann, Gary. Towards the end of last season, my only moan was that two of Pukki, Zimmermann, Aarons, Buendia and Stiepi couldn’t be in the top three of POTS. His link-up play was critical to our success – and he’s obviously a popular figure at the club.
We may think of him as an unglamorous player, but he represented Germany at every level from Under-15 to Under-21. Jurgen Klopp kept a close eye on his progress at Dortmund (and apparently still does).
Delighted he’s extended his stay.
“Lampard’s Derby” – how I like most true EFL supporters hate that overused phase.
If he stays, once all the loan players go back to their parents clubs, Derby and he will struggle next season.
Hopefully then he will no longer be the media’s darling.
Perhaps we could even grab some of those loan player now, as I suspect their clubs may well want them to step up to the PL as part of their development.
PLEASE can we leave Brexit out of MFW? It is a divisive topic and will become even more so over the next months/years. Thank you. Other than that a good article.
Gary Gowers says
So… you wouldn’t be a big fan of an ‘MFW – Brexit Week’ then, Tim? JOKE 😉
Brexit joke – An Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman all walked into a bar. The Englishman wanted to go so they all had to leave.